Marcus Stephenson-Jones is a group leader at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre. He obtained his PhD from Sten Grillner’s lab at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, where he studied the evolution of the vertebrate brain. He then went on to work as a postdoctoral fellow in Bo Li’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he identified how a conserved subcortical circuit computes relative value by integrating information of opposing valence. His major research interest now is understanding the learning rules that govern how information is transformed into purposive action.
HERNANDO MARTINEZ VERGARA
Hernando is interested in the telencephalic cell types that mediate learning as well as the circuitry changes that accompany learning. During his PhD, Hernando studied the evolution of cell types in the central nervous system of bilaterians. Hernando is co-supervised by Tom Mrsic-Flogel and is supported by an EMBO long-term fellowship.
Sthita is interested in understanding the neuronal mechanisms of motivated behavior, in particular how animals perform goal-directed navigation in a perceptual decision making task. Prior to joining the lab, he did his PhD with Professor Vidita Vaidya at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India where he studied the long-term programming of emotional behaviour during postnatal life.
Lars focuses on dissecting the circuit architecture and function of the indirect pathway in the basal ganglia using techniques such as electrophysiological recordings and optogenetic manipulations. He is particularly interested in the neural computation of action parameters in the context of goal-directed behaviour.
Whether practising a dance, optimising your tennis serve, or learning how to tie a shoelace, difficult tasks become easy and stereotyped with practise. Emmett is trying to understand how the basal ganglia function as a part of a distributed circuit to learn and execute motor sequences such as these.