The basis of all cognitive function is communication between neurons in the brain. This communication is mediated by synaptic connections that are modified by experience to encode function. In order to get at the big question of “how the brain works,” we study how experience driven synaptic plasticity changes local neocortical physiology. We are particularly interested in how neural circuits are able to incorporate past experience to predictively represent spatiotemporal information.
Employing a variety of experimental and computational approaches, our lab examines how the cortical responses to specific sensory stimuli change as a consequence of learning. We then use primary sensory cortices, particularly the visual cortex, as relatively accessible and interpretable regions in which to isolate the core biology responsible for coding higher-order information in less accessible neocortical areas. The goal is to elucidate the mechanistic bases of cortical processing algorithms and memory storage.