Our goal is to understand how the electrical activity of millions of interconnected neurons in our brains can carry out the complex computations that produce our perception, our thoughts and, ultimately, our behaviour
Cognitive deficits are common in mental disorders. Nonetheless, there is no cognitive test sensitive enough to establish a precise classification and quantification of such deficits, which would make it possible to obtain an effective diagnosis. The vast majority of the neural bases of these deficits are still unknown, mainly because the underlying neural mechanisms of most of the cognitive functions of the healthy brain are not properly understood.
For this reason, it is essential to design new behavioural assays for use in both animal models and patients, to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms and develop efficient therapies.
The group studies the way in which cognitive functions such as perception, working memory, and decision-making emerge from different neural circuits. To do this, we perform controlled behavioral experiments with rodents in which we record and manipulate their brain activity.
In addition, the group uses a wide range of analytical and computational techniques, including behavioral and network models, and applies this approach to characterize the underlying mechanisms of those cognitive deficits normally present in neurological disorders, such as anti-NMDAR encephalitis and schizophrenia.
In recent years, the group has conducted diverse behavioral studies on rodents to investigate the mechanisms underlying perceptual decisions based on ambiguous sensory information and previous experience, including a description of the role of the different areas of the brain in performing the computations inherent to this task.
Furthermore, the group investigates the neural bases of working memory in mice during automated behavioral tasks combined with monitoring neural activity, and applies such tasks in animal models of different mental disorders.