Graduate Program in Neuroscience

Shawn Olsen

olsen, shawnPhone: 206-548-8450
Dept.: Assistant Investigator, Allen Institute for Brain Science; Affiliate Assistant Professor, Physiology & Biophysics
Neuroscience Focus Groups:
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Behavior and cognition are the result of dynamic neural activity in the neocortex and interconnected subcortical structures. We use the mouse visual system as a model to understand the mechanistic basis of these processes. We train mice to perform visual behaviors including stimulus detection and discrimination, and we are actively developing behavioral paradigms to study cognitive processes such as object recognition, spatial attention, and learning. In the context of visual behavioral tasks, we monitor neural activity using both widefield fluorescence imaging and 2-photon calcium imaging. Finally, we use optogenetics to manipulate the underlying circuitry to examine causal relationships between behavior and specific cell types and circuits. We are particularly interested in higher-order cortical visual areas and the role of feedback and interareal projections between cortical areas.