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Stanford researchers develop an inexpensive technique to show how decisions light up the brain

an image of a brain on a dark background. Some parts of the brain are lit up in purple

Jun 2 2020
Fellow, Research, Stanford, Students

When we make even simple decisions about how to interact with the world, we rely on computations performed by networks of neurons that span our brains. But what exactly are these neural networks computing?

Answering this question requires measuring the activity of lots of neurons throughout the brain as an animal makes a decision.

Now a team of Stanford researchers led by bioengineer Karl Deisseroth and electrical engineer Gordon Wetzstein – along with graduate student Isaac Kauvar and postdoctoral fellow Timothy Machado – has developed an optical technique that can simultaneously record the activity of neurons spread across the entire top surface of a mouse’s cerebral cortex, a key part of the brain involved in making decisions. They published their findings in May in the journal Neuron.

The study additional authors include Minseung Choi, a 2017 Stanford Graduate Fellow.

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