Musall Group

Neural information processing. The transformation of complex sensory information into behavioral decisions requires the coordinated activity of many brain regions. We want to understand how these regions process sensory inputs and interact with each other to generate a unified behavioral decision. Using 2-photon microscopy, we study the function of individual neurons in large neural networks of awake mice that perform a perceptual task. Our goal is to reveal the underlying principles that allow biological neural networks to efficiently process sensory information. Neuromodulation of cortical circuits and behavior. Neuromodulatory brain centers orchestrate the highly coordinated function of different brain areas and are often disrupted in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or Schizophrenia. By combining functional imaging and high-density electrophysiology, we study how neuromodulation affects the function of different brain areas to provide insights that can guide the development of novel treatments for neurological diseases.

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  • Multisensory integration and decision-making in mice
  • Cortex-wide and cell
  • type specific functional imaging
  • Projection-specific, multi-layer 2-photon microscopy
  • High-density electrophysiology
  • Optogenetic stimulation and inhibition of neural circuits
  • Pharmacological manipulation of neuromodulation

5 selected publications

  1. Musall, Simon, Matthew T. Kaufman, Ashley L. Juavinett, Steven Gluf, and Anne K. Churchland. “Single-Trial Neural Dynamics Are Dominated by Richly Varied Movements.” Nature Neuroscience 22, no. 10 (October 2019): 1677–86.
  2. Musall, Simon, Wolfger Von der Behrens, Johannes M. Mayrhofer, Bruno Weber, Fritjof Helmchen, and Florent Haiss. “Tactile Frequency Discrimination Is Enhanced by Circumventing Neocortical Adaptation.” Nature Neuroscience 17, no. 11 (November 2014): 1567–73.
  3. Couto*, Joao, Simon Musall*, Xiaonan R. Sun, Anup Khanal, Steven Gluf, Shreya Saxena, Ian Kinsella, et al. “Chronic, Cortex-Wide Imaging of Specific Cell Populations during Behavior.” Nature Protocols, June 2, 2021, 1–25. (* Equal contributions)
  4. Musall, Simon, Xiaonan R. Sun, Hemanth Mohan, Xu An, Steven Gluf, Rhonda Drewes, Pavel Osten, and Anne K. Churchland. “Pyramidal Cell Types Drive Functionally Distinct Cortical Activity Patterns during Decision-Making,” December 7, 2021. bioRxiv
  5. Huang, Longwen, Justus M. Kebschull, Daniel Fürth, Simon Musall, Matthew T. Kaufman, Anne K. Churchland, and Anthony M. Zador. “BRICseq Bridges Brain-Wide Interregional Connectivity to Neural Activity and Gene Expression in Single Animals.” Cell 182, no. 1 (July 9, 2020): 177-188.e27.