Join us! We are currently recruiting talented graduate students and postdocs in a couple of different areas described below. Please contact Prof. Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
The Stanley laboratory focuses on the dynamics and control of complex neural circuits, particularly applied to “reading and writing” in sensory pathways. Our experimental approaches include multi-site, multi-electrode recording, optical voltage imaging, behavior, and closed-loop feedback control. Our computational approaches include linear and nonlinear dynamical systems, information theory, observer analysis, signal detection and discrimination, control theory, and machine learning. Our long-term goal is to provide surrogate control for circuits involved in sensory signaling and perception, for normal function and for pathways injured through trauma or disease. Trainees in the lab blend experimental and computational work, and become part of an exciting team that provides support for scientific and professional development. We are seeking doctoral students for two primary projects funded by the NIH BRAIN Initiative involving “Closed Loop Optogenetic Control of Sensory Perception” and “Population Dynamics Across Spatial and Temporal Scales Through Machine Learning”.
Congratulations on a great defense, Michael! We’re sad to see you on your way out but you absolutely deserve all 3 letters behind your name!
Michael’s thesis is called “Closed-Loop Optogenetic Control And Thalamic State”. He used engineering approaches to feedback control and state estimation to tackle the problem of controlling neuronal firing activity in vivo , with the goal of developing a set of methods that are general enough that they may be applied to manipulation of other types of neuronal activity or even animal behavior. Specifically, he applied closed-loop optogenetic control (CLOC) to manipulate the thalamus, a deep brain region that serves as a central gateway for conducting sensory information to the cerebral cortex. Given the importance of brain state in health and disease, he investigated the effects of optogenetic control on the state of the thalamus and its implications for sensory response properties in the somatosensory thalamocortical pathway.
Way to go, Michael!
The Stanley Lab secured a 2 year R21 Grant from the NIH/NINDS entitled “Interhemispheric interactions underlying bilateral somatosensation”. In this work, we will elucidate the neocortical laminar and cellular basis of interhemispheric computations underlying bilateral tactile interactions, and reveal their role in bilateral stimulus encoding and perception. We will investigate bilateral tactile interactions in the whisker system of the mouse, using a unique combination of extracellular recordings, optogenetic identification and targeted chemogenetic manipulations of specific interhemispheric projections, and a signal detection theory and decoding analytic framework, all during active bilateral somatosensation. This work is being led by Dr. Aurélie Pala, a senior postdoctoral researcher in the lab. Great work, Aurélie!
On June 10, the Stanley Lab joined academics across the country in the #ShutDownAcademia, #ShutDownSTEM, and #Strike4BlackLives movement. In solidarity, we did not perform any research nor conduct business as usual, but instead, used the day to reflect and educate ourselves on the injustices in our country as well as within our department. As a group, we then watched Dr. Manu Platt, PhD in a speech that he gave at the 2017 BMES Diversity Award Lecture where he encouraged us all to act now in contributing to make our communities more equitable. We concluded by brainstorming on things we will do as a lab to support Black Lives, diversify our communities, and make the world a more just place for all. We look forward to more of such discussions.
Michael Bolus, PhD candidate, was awarded the J. Norman and Rosalyn Wells Fellowship for graduate students in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech. This fellowship is awarded to doctoral students who are conducting meritorious research in the areas of neuroengineering or brain tumors, in recognition of his proposal entitled “Closed-loop Optogenetic Control of Thalamic State.” Way to go, Michael!