Noam Roth, Ph.D.

University of Washington

I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Steinmetz lab in the Department of Biological Structure at the University of Washington, and also a member of the International Brain Lab. I received my Ph.D. in neuroscience in the Rust lab at the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied the neural correlates of object-based attention and contextual effects on population representations in the macaque visual cortex. My current research is focused on the brain-wide circuits involved in perceptual decision making, with the goal of building an understanding of how the activity in different brain regions is coordinated to compute a decision. Broadly, I’m interested in how context affects neural representations and how different types of neural variability arise in the brain during perception and cognition. Passionate and supportive mentors have been crucial to my journey in becoming a scientist and I am excited to mentor trainees in the next generation of neuroscientists.

Principal Investigator: Nick Steinmetz

Fellow: Renee Wang

Decision making is a process that involves integrating sensory evidence, weighing that evidence with the current context, and finally executing behavioral choices. Recent findings have shown that choice-related activity is distributed broadly throughout the brain, but exactly how neural activity is coordinated across brain areas to generate a decision is still unclear. We will record simultaneously from large populations of neurons across many brain regions in behaving mice, in combination with targeted inactivation of populations of neurons. This approach will allow us to precisely determine the relationship between activity in one region and that in others. Specifically, we plan to record from the frontal cortex and many of its major outputs throughout the brain, while inactivating specific neurons, as mice perform a decision-making task. This project will thus involve behavioral training of mice, learning how to perform in vivo electrophysiology experiments, and data analysis.

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