One of the fundamental problems in neuroscience is understanding how circuit function arises from the intrinsic properties of individual neurons and their synaptic connections. Of particular interest to us today is the extent to which similar circuit outputs can be generated by multiple mechanisms, both in different individual animals, or in the same animal over its life-time. Dr. Marder’s lab employs electrophysiological, biophysical, computational, anatomical, biochemical, and molecular techniques to study central pattern generators. These generators are groups of neurons found in vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems responsible for the generation of specific rhythmic behaviors such as walking, swimming, and breathing. Dr. Marder is the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis University.
Dr. Vaziri is the Associate Director of the Kavli Neuronal Systems Institute, and serves as an Associate Professor at The Rockefeller University where he studies how large-scale dynamics of neuronal networks are related to brain functions and behavior. To do so, he develops new high-speed optical techniques that push the boundaries on spatial and temporal resolution, as well as volume size and depth for recording dynamic interactions of neuronal populations in awake behaving animals. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Vienna, and completed postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the University of Maryland. He subsequently worked a research scientist at HHMI Janelia Research Campus.
Maria Neimark Geffen
Dr. Geffen is interested in the way the brain encodes information about the world around us and how our perception is shaped by our emotional state and experience. She combines computational and biological approaches to study the mechanisms behind dynamic auditory perception, memory and learning. Before becoming an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Geffen was a fellow at the Center for Physics and Biology at Rockefeller University. She received her Ph.D from Harvard University and completed her undergraduate education at Princeton University.
Dr. Sawtell is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University and a Principal Investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. The goal of research in the Sawtell laboratory is to forge detailed links between the properties of neural circuits and their functions. Their studies of weakly electric fish have shown how a specific form of synaptic plasticity operating within a well-characterized cerebellum-like circuit functions to predict and cancel out sensory inputs generated by the animal’s own behavior. Similar circuits are also present at the initial stage of mammalian auditory processing in a structure known as the dorsal cochlear nucleus. An additional goal of the lab is to test the hypothesis that the dorsal cochlear nucleus functions to predict and cancel self-generated sounds.