Our research is driven by the idea that nervous systems evolved relatively simple neural circuit motifs to perform specific types of computational operations, and that these motifs are combined and repeated throughout the nervous system, using similar types of operations to solve different types of problems.
To understand how these circuits are assembled, how they transform neural information, and how they ultimately guide behavior, we study the representation of odor in the rodent primary olfactory, or piriform cortex. The piriform cortex is a relatively simple, evolutionary ancient, three-layered cortex. Yet, despite its simplicity, circuitry within piriform cortex is thought to support many of the computations required for odor recognition and discrimination, including gain control, pattern separation, and pattern completion. In addition to revealing its role in odor perception, a mechanistic understanding of how this simple circuit solves these common computational problems can reveal general principles of brain function.