I study how the brain senses the physiological state of the body and uses that information to control behavior. My goals are to discover and characterize new body-to-brain sensory signals and to identify neural coding mechanisms that link these interoceptive signals to motivation and learning.
Currently: I am a postdoctoral fellow in Ilana Witten’s lab at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. My main project uses brainwide neural recordings and computational modeling to investigate how body-to-brain signals drive learning. In a separate project, I collaborate with members of the International Brain Laboratory to explore how dopamine modulates brainwide activity during reinforcement learning.
Previously: I was a graduate student in Zachary Knight’s lab in the UCSF Department of Physiology and UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program. My thesis research focused on the neural mechanisms that govern thirst and drinking behavior. We discovered that sensory signals originating throughout the body — including from the mouth, throat, and gut — come together within individual neurons in the forebrain to produce the sense of thirst and control drinking behavior on a moment-by-moment basis.