The Lipschultz Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

A focal point of research at the Lipschultz Center of Cognitive Neuroscience is the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is uniquely developed in humans and other primate species, and is critical for the higher cognitive functions that are most advanced in primates. Our researchers use state-of-the-art approaches to analyze how the prefrontal cortex functions with other parts of the brain, including monitoring neural activity in the prefrontal cortex and interconnected structures with direct recordings of individual brain cells; obtaining brain-wide assessments with functional neuroimaging; building computational models of behavior and neural activity; and using targeted stimulation to modulate function.

Research Laboratories

The goal of the Cai Lab is to understand how memories are stably stored and flexibly updated across time and experience. The brain’s ability to organize and integrate different experiences so it can efficiently file and cross-reference information is critical for daily life. We use a multilevel approach to investigate the dynamic neural mechanisms governing these complex processes in health and disease, including in vivo calcium imaging, in vivo optogenetics and chemogenetics, electrophysiology, immediate-early gene tagging, and various behavioral assays.

The Gu Lab works in computational psychiatry and examines the neural and computational mechanisms underlying decision-making and social behaviors in humans, and how they might go awry in neuropsychiatric conditions such as addiction, autism, depression, and personality disorders. Our researchers use a combination of computational modeling and both invasive (e.g., lesion, intracranial recording) and noninvasive (e.g., brain imaging) methods in humans.

The Rich Lab studies how the collective activity of neural populations produces complex cognition. Ongoing studies focus on learning, memory, and decision-making as critical processes frequently disrupted in psychiatric disease. Our main goal is to reveal basic principles that organize brain function and use this knowledge to gain insights into the causes of psychiatric symptoms.

The Rudebeck Lab focuses on determining the neural circuits engaged during emotional processing and decision-making. Our ultimate goal is to establish the circuits and patterns of activity that are engaged in healthy brains and characterize what happens in disease-like states to help develop interventions that will correct dysfunction in psychiatric disorders. Our researchers use a combination of behavioral, autonomic, electrophysiology, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and chemogenetic approaches in animal models.

The Schiller Lab is investigating the neural basis of emotional learning and memory, and social cognition. We particularly focus on the behavioral and neural determinants of memory modification and the conditions that allow memory updating. The lab also examines the use of imagery and imagination to modify the neural representation and behavioral manifestation of emotional memories.

The Shuman Lab uses state-of-the-art recording and manipulation techniques to examine how circuits control behavior and how abnormal circuit processing can lead to neurological diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Our primary goal is to find causal circuit mechanisms that lead to seizures and cognitive deficits in epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease and to determine how they can be suppressed with novel interventions. We specialize in recording neural activity during active behavior using in vivo calcium imaging with miniature microscopes and in vivo electrophysiology with silicon probes.

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