Christopher Harvey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology
Harvard Medical School
My lab studies how the mouse cortex performs the computations necessary for flexible sensorimotor decision-making during navigation. I will review our recent progress in understanding emergent properties in populations of neurons, in particular in the mouse posterior parietal cortex, to support navigation-based decision tasks. Our goal moving forward is to combine our understanding of neuronal population activity patterns with approaches to probe the underlying microcircuit-level mechanisms. We have recently developed a method based on two-photon imaging and two-photon optogenetics to measure the causal, functional connectivity in a population of neurons with characterized activity patterns and tuning. We call this method influence mapping – a measure of how one neuron’s spiking causally affects spiking in its neighbors. I will present recent work using influence mapping to reveal pattern decorrelation computations in layer 2/3 of visual cortex. I will also discuss applications of influence mapping to the study of computations for flexible sensorimotor decision-making.