1) Cognitive Single-Cell Neurophysiology:

Role of Prefrontal Cortex in Working Memory and Distractor Suppression

In this study we are performing microelectrode recordings from the frontal eye field (FEF) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during a delay saccade task with interfering distractors.

Figure | Working memory task schematic

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Video | Task. Blue dot represents the monkey's eye position (only visible to experimenter). First few attempts fail because monkey breaks fixation, or looks at target too early, or takes too long to respond after fixation disappears (go cue). Last 2 trials are successful

Figure | Electrode array locations in prefrontal cortex.

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Figure | Sample cell in DLPFC with delay activity selectivity. Mean activity across 8 target locations (each panel corresponds to a target location). Vertical gray zones represent target (left) and distractor (right) periods. Blue vertical bar represents the times when the cue to saccade was given. This cell has selective activation when the target is in the top-right position.

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Spatial Processing in the Hippocampal Formation

In this study (that will start in mid-2015) we will perform recordings in the hippocampal formation while animals explore their environment using a robotic platform. We will use an eye-tracker and position tracker to dissect the influence of visual cues on hippocampal place cell activity.

2) Development of Neuroprosthesis and Brain-Machine Interface:

Development of a Brain-Machine Interface for Locomotion

(in collaboration with IME, I2R and NNI)

In this study we performed microelectrode recordings from the primary motor cortex (M1) during the control of a robotic platform. This is the first demonstration of a brain-machine interface using single-cell activity to achieve locomotion. The motivation for this work was to help patients with tetraplegia, who otherwise would have to rely on the help of other people to achieve locomotion.

Development of a Brain-Machine Interface for the Transmission of Somatosensory Feedback

(in collaboration with Yao Lei from IME)

In this study we are performing electrical microstimulation in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) during a tactile discrimination task. The goal is to assess the number of possible discriminations that are achievable using cortical stimulation and which stimulation parameters are best suited to transmit this information.