The Rajasethupathy Lab is interested in understanding memory processing in the mammalian brain during health and disease. We hope to reveal genetic and circuit-level mechanisms that enable the distributed nature of memory representations as they form, stabilize, and reorganize over time. Of particular interest are the mechanisms the brain uses for top-down control of goal-directed memory processing, where prior knowledge is used to guide future learning, in a way that can enable (or impede) cognitive flexibility. The lab uses genomic analyses, neural imaging coupled with real-time manipulations of brain activity, and virtual-reality based rodent behavioral paradigms to explore these questions.
David Schneider is working to uncover how sensory, motor, and learning systems within the brain converge to make predictions about the future. To do so, his laboratory studies a particularly powerful prediction made by the brains of many animals, including mice and humans: the capacity to anticipate the sound of our own actions. By combining augmented reality with experimental techniques for monitoring and manipulating neural activity at synaptic, cellular and circuit levels the Schneider Lab aims to discover how predictions are made by the brain and used to guide behavior.
Sensory perception is one of the most important drivers of animal and human behavior. How do we perceive and make sense of the world around us? The Behnia lab is interested in understanding how neuronal circuits transform sensory information into perceptual representations, and how these representations are modulated by internal and behavioral states to best serve behavior. The lab uses in vivo electrophysiology, two-photon activity imaging, and behavioral studies in Drosophila, combined with modeling, to study two visual modalities: color discrimination and motion detection.
How does the brain convert sensory stimuli into meaningful representations, and how do these representations drive behavioral responses?
Mala Murthy’s lab focuses primarily on the acoustic communication system of Drosophila. Similar to other animals, flies produce and process patterned sounds during their mating ritual: typically males generate courtship songs via wing vibration, while females arbitrate mating decisions. Sensory processing plays a role not only in detecting and responding to species-specific songs, but also in generating these dynamic acoustic signals.