A friend once described my work as “translating weak electrical discharges in the brain into strong scientific statements about the mind”. I study the neurobiology of cognition.
One traditional way of investigating brain function is by recording the electrical activity of single neurons while a research subject engages in a specific behavior. Recent technological advances have expanded on this model, making it possible to record the activity of large groups of neurons simultaneously. This advancement provides novel opportunities for understanding how entire networks of neurons coordinate to enact complex cognitive behavior.
While these sophisticated techniques give researchers greater insight, they also present new challenges during the analysis of substantial quantities of complex, high-dimensional data. I pursued these opportunities during my PhD in the lab of Dr. Julio Martinez-Trujillo, studying how networks of neurons coordinate to give rise to behaviors such as working memory, visual attention, and rule-learning.
Through this research, I have developed a more general interest in how complex systems and high-dimensional information can be represented humanely and communicated meaningfully. This flowed naturally from the process of discovering and mastering techniques for complex data analysis (we mostly just stole from the machine learning community), and sharing my work with others.