Sriram Jayabal, Ph.D.

Stanford University

Sriram Jayabal is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Jennifer Raymond in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He received his Bachelor of Technology in biotechnology degree in India and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from McGill University in Canada. At McGill, he studied the cellular pathophysiology of spinocerebellar ataxia (impaired coordination of movements) under the supervision of Dr. Alanna Watt. Fascinated with the cerebellum, an analytically tractable brain area that supports cognition as well as movement, he joined the Raymond lab at Stanford to study how cerebellum implements learning. His focus is the neurobiological underpinnings of meta-learning, the ability to learn to learn. His pioneering work on this topic integrates molecular, cellular, and systems-level experimental approaches, and the computational analyses of SCGB collaborators.

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Raymond

Fellow: Maxwell Kounga

Project
“Identifying the neurobiological underpinnings of meta-learning”
Meta-learning, an old concept in psychology and a current hot topic in machine learning, is the improvement of learning with experience. Our previous experience learning a skill or set of skills makes us better at learning another, related skill. For instance, an accomplished athlete will learn a new sport faster than someone without the same experience learning similar athletic skills. How the brain accomplishes this powerful process of learning to learn has been an enigma. However, our lab has discovered a new property of synapses, which seems to provide at least part of the neural mechanism. The SURF fellow will contribute to our analysis of whether and how this new property of synapses supports meta-learning in mice. A motivated fellow will have the opportunity to contribute to all phases of the research, including data collection and analysis, the design and conduct of follow-up experiments, and oral and written communication of results.

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