Math Professor, Brian Fischer, and colleagues have recently been awarded a National Institutes of Health R01 grant under the BRAIN Initiative. This grant will combine four PIs from Seattle University, UC San Diego, UC Davis, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine to use novel anatomical, physiological, and statistical tools to understand the microcircuit basis of sound localization behavior.
The BRAIN Initiative began in 2013 with the goal of supporting the development of new experimental and data analysis techniques to understand how dynamic activity in populations of neurons supports perception and behavior. This project extends Dr. Fischer’s work that proposed that the activity of an entire population representing auditory space is integrated to produce a Bayesian estimate of sound direction. This is a key assumption in neurobiology, that behavior is implemented using population codes, but remains largely untested. This new collaboration will bring together researchers with complementary skills to explain the neural underpinnings driving orientation behavior, from the network architecture to populations of neurons and how they change during learning. The grant has a total funding of $3 million. Of this amount, $461,874 is designated for Seattle University to support Dr. Fischer and his students over the next five years.