Anna Bowen, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Anna Bowen is an Alaskan Native (Aleut tribe) and a first-year postdoctoral fellow in the Steinmetz lab at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Washington under Richard Palmiter studying the brain circuits that relay sensory information to the emotional centers of the brain that are important for forming memories and feelings. Her postdoctoral research in the Steinmetz lab utilizes brainwide neural recordings in mice to ask how the internal senses of the body are used to alter perception of the external world, and how these altered perceptions guide behavior. In parallel, she focuses on mentoring the next generation of researchers, hoping to pay forward the guidance and support from mentors that set her on a path to science.

Principal Investigator: Nick Steinmetz

Fellow: Julia Hopkins

Project: We value things more if we need them. The brain is thought to control these two aspects of cognition through complementary systems: one that senses the state of the body (am I hungry?) and then creates feedback to guide motivation and attention (find food!); the other that monitors goods received for whether they counter the deficit (am I full yet?). Many cognitive-behavioral disorders involve dysregulation in these systems. This project seeks to unravel the evolving representation of reward value across the brain as the need for the reward changes. This approach uses brain-wide recordings from thousands of neurons in mice as they work to receive rewards and reach satiation, and computational techniques to extract neural signatures of value and need that dynamically change across trials. A trainee on this project would contribute to animal training and data analysis and learn about neural systems and computation.

Advancing Research in Basic Science and MathematicsSubscribe to SCGB announcements and other foundation updates