People

John Maunsell, PhD
Albert D. Lasker Professor of Neurobiology
Director, Neuroscience Institute
BS Zoology, Duke University
PhD Biology, California Institute of Technology
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Jackson Cone, PhD
 Postdoctoral Scholar
 
BA Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley
PhD Neuroscience, University of Illinois

I joined the Maunsell lab in 2015 after completing my graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Mitchell Roitman at the University of Illinois, Chicago. My work focused on questions related to neuronal readout. How does the brain decode information from neuronal activity in visual cerebral cortex? Are particular spiking patterns, epochs, or brain areas preferentially decoded from during visual specific decisions? To address these questions, I use range of optogenetic and neurophysiological approaches in mice trained to work at perceptual threshold. When not in lab, I spend far too much time restoring a 140 year old home with my wife. 

Chery Cherian
Graduate Student
AB Biology, University of Chicago

I am a graduate student in the Neurobiology program, and my research focuses on using data from non-human primates to study how divisive normalization, a canonical neural computation, influences the activity of pairs of neurons in MT (the middle temporal visual area) and how they are impacted by various stimulus qualities and cognitive states. 

Autumn Mitchell
Research Specialist

AB Neuroscience and Sociology, University of Chicago
Supriya Ghosh, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

NARSAD Young Investigator

 

BS, Physics University of Calcutta

MS Physics, Devi Ahilya University

PhD Neuroscience, National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIRF Bangalore

My research is focused on understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying fundamental components of attention– selective attention and attentional effort (intensive aspect of attention). I isolate selective attention and effort using a novel experimental approach that precisely and independently controls the distinct components of attentional performance: sensitivity (d’), perceptual criterion, and motor criterion in a visual spatial attention task, while simultaneously monitoring spiking in visual area V4 and the superior colliculus (SC) in monkeys. In another project I am investigating the role of norepinephrine (NE) neuromodulation on attentional effort by pharmacological inactivation of NE release within the SC. I am also testing whether behavioral performance can be improved by a more temporally specific NE activation during the period of attended stimuli presentation within a single trial. By selectively expression of photosensitive excitatory opsins (ChR2) in the locus coeruleus norepinephrine (LC-NE) of monkeys I can elucidate the role of NE neuromodulation on visual attention.

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Zaina Zayyad
MSTP Student
 
BS Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University

I am an MSTP student doing my thesis work in the Maunsell and MacLean labs. Using electrophysiology and two-photon imaging in awake mice, I am studying the dynamics, correlation changes, and network dynamics of divisive normalization, a canonical nonlinear computation. Normalization is involved in multisensory processing, and has also been shown  to underlie pairwise correlations changes in attention (Verhoef and Maunsell, 2017). Over the course of my career as a physician-scientist, I plan to continue studying central brain computations that, when aberrant, may factor in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Outside the lab, I enjoy rock climbing, painting, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

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Rachel Parker
Research Technician

BA Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago