Assistant Project Scientist
- Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
Neurophysiology of Cognitive Networks
Our research focuses on the cognitive neurophysiology of the primate brain, with special emphasis on the large-scale neural networks that implement cognitive functions and the frequency-specific oscillations that support them.
A quiet revolution has been taking place in brain science over the last several years. New and advanced methods of cognitive neuroscience research have been radically changing our perspective of the brain. We now realize that the organ we previously thought to be a collection of areas with specialized function is actually a matrix of complex, sometimes long-range, interacting networks. Instead of saying “area X supports function A”, we now tend to say “area X couples to area Y to support function A, but couples to area Z to support function B”. The dynamic and versatile nature of these networks manifests as rapid synchronization of local neural oscillations across areas. This synchronization, presumably reflecting coordinated processing across interacting areas, can be specific to a frequency band and to ongoing cognitive operations.
This is the perspective that drives our research. We employ multi-electrode technologies to record neural signals reflecting the activity of both individual neurons and neural populations from multiple cortical and subcortical areas of the primate brain at the same time. Through sophisticated analytic tools, we map the frequency- and time-dependent dynamics of local populations and the interactions among them under various experimental conditions, ranging from states of rest to action preparation, to more complex executive functions like attention, learning and memory. The goal of our research is to uncover (a) principles that underlie dynamic formation of broadly distributed cognitive networks, (b) neural mechanisms through which these networks implement cognition, and (c) dysfunction of these networks in disease. Representative publications can be found below.
Antzoulatos EG and Miller EK (2011). Differences in neural activity between prefrontal cortex and striatum during learning of novel, abstract categories. Neuron, 71(2): 243-249. PMID: 21791284
Antzoulatos EG and Miller EK (2014). Increases in functional connectivity between prefrontal cortex and striatum during category learning. Neuron, 83(1): 216-225. PMID: 24930701
Puig MV, Antzoulatos EG, and Miller EK (2014). Prefrontal dopamine in associative learning and memory. Neuroscience, 282: 217-229. PMID: 25241063
Antzoulatos EG and Miller EK (2016). Synchronous beta rhythms of frontoparietal networks support only behaviorally relevant representations. eLife, 5:e17822. PMID: 27841747