In-vivo Neurophysiology

In-vivo Neurophysiology Group


Understanding how living neural networks integrate sensory inputs from many different senses to guide accurate behavior is crucially important to revealing the basic mechanisms of neural information processing in the healthy and diseased brain. To address this question, we study the brain function of mice that perform different behavioral tasks. We use a combination of different methods, such as high-density electrophysiology and functional imaging, that allow us to monitor and manipulate the activity of large populations of individual neurons with high precisions. Our main focus is to reveal how multisensory information is represented in cortical neural networks and which brain areas are particularly important to guide behavioral decisions. Moreover, we study how information is shared across brain regions through specific projection pathways and how information processing and transmission are governed by neuromodulation. Lastly, by leveraging our expertise in neurophysiology and brain function, we actively facilitate the development and deployment of novel neurotechnology at the IBI-3.

Research Topics

Our recent research topics are focussed on:


Simon Musall


Building 02.4v / Room 218

+49 2461/61-3539


Flexible neural interfaces. A major challenge for neuroelectronic stimulation or recording devices is the degradation of signal quality due to implant rejection over time. To overcome this problem, we develop and test new flexible and ultrathin neuroelectronic interfaces. These devices can interact with neural tissue over very long time scales and form the basis for long-term studies of neural activity and novel therapeutic tools for neurological disorders in humans.

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.


Recent Publications:

Couto J*, Musall S*, Xiaonan RS, Khanal A, Gluf S, Saxena S, Kinsella I, Abe T, Cunningham JP, Paninski L, Churchland AK. "Chronic, cortex-wide imaging of specific cell populations during behavior" Nature Protocols, 16, pages 3241–3263, June 2021. *Equal author contributions

Huang L., Krebschull J, Furth D, Musall S, Kaufman MT, Churchland AK, Zador A. “BRICseq bridges brain-wide interregional connectivity to neural activity and gene expression in single animals.” Cell 1, 177-188, July 2020.

Saxena S, Kinsella I, Musall S, Kim SH, Meszaros J, Thibodeaux DN, Kim C, Cunningham J , Hillman E, Churchland AK., Paninski L. “Localized semi-nonnegative matrix factorization (LocaNMF) of widefield calcium imaging data.” PLOS Computation Biology 16, e1007791, April 2020.

Musall S*, Kaufman MT*, Juavinett AL, Gluf S, Churchland AK. “Single-Trial Neural Dynamics Are Dominated by Richly Varied Movements.” Nature Neuroscience 22, 1677-1686, October 2019. *Equal author contributions; Preview by Mathis MW: “A new spin on fidgets

Musall S*, Urai AE*, Sussillo D, Churchland AK. “Harnessing Behavioral Diversity to Understand Neural Computations for Cognition.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology 58, 229-238, October 2019. *Equal author contributions

Last Modified: 22.01.2024