Lucas Pinto, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physiology, Northwestern University, Chicago Campus

Lucas Pinto is an assistant professor of physiology at Northwestern University. He is broadly interested in neural mechanisms underlying cognition, both at the local circuit level and in terms of large-scale interactions between different brain areas. In particular, his lab seeks to understand which circuit mechanisms allow interactions between different areas to change to accommodate different cognitive requirements during decision-making. To do so, they use a combination of optical tools to record and perturb neural activity at cellular or mesoscale resolution, circuit dissection tools, high-throughput virtual-reality mouse behavior, and computational modeling. Dr. Pinto obtained his M.D. from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 2006. He then did an M.S. in physiology at the same university, where he studied visual processing in owls with Jerome Baron. He earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014, working in Yang Dan’s laboratory, where he investigated how circuits downstream of the sensory cortex participate in perceptual decision-making. He moved to Princeton University in 2015 for his postdoctoral research in the laboratories of David Tank and Carlos Brody, where he studied how large-scale cortical dynamics change as a function of task complexity. Dr. Pinto started his lab at Northwestern in 2021.

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