Associate Professor, Neuroscience
My laboratory uses physiological recordings from single cells in animals whose heads are unrestrained to identify the mechanisms that integrate sensory information from different modalities, and serve to generate motor actions. Many current theories grounded on data from anesthetized preparations separate perception and action, with sensory information analyzed/extracted at different cortical (perceptual) stages before the decision-making and motor domains. This disregards direct connections to motor centers at all levels of sensory processing and creates a need for interfaces to transform sensory signals into motor commands.
In order to define structural and functional links between specific sensory inputs and motor outputs we are undertaking parallel series of experiments of the oculomotor system in humans, cats, and monkeys. Humans, which can be given precise instructions, provide a psychophysical benchmark. Animals, which are instructed with operant conditioning, are suitable for invasive anatomical, behavioral, physiological, and imaging studies. With this combination of approaches, we expect to define the mechanisms that link sensory inputs to motor outputs.