a cortical circuits & behavior lab


Understanding cortical representations

Cortical neurons represent sensory and motor features. What circuit mechanisms shape cortical representations? Which representation members drive behavior? Our lab addresses these questions using optical approaches in head fixed mice.

Two-photon calcium imaging

Two-photon microscopy using modern calcium indicators allows us to record the activity of thousands of cortical neurons during behavior. Neurons can be tracked over months, and structural indicators can label cell types.

Quantitative behavior

Approaches such as high speed videography and image processing allow precise measurements of the behavioral state of the animal. Tasks are designed so that even subtle changes in the animal's behavior can be detected.

Cellular resolution perturbation

Cortical representations are typically intermingled and genetically inseparable. Approaches like multiphoton ablation and two-photon optogenetics allow for lesioning and activation with cellular precision.


Mesoscale mapping

A prerequisite to exploring the behavioral roles and mechanisms of representations is understanding their distribution. We are actively generating mesoscale maps of cortex during behavior, on the 10K-100K neuron scale.

Cellular basis of perception

By combining carefully designed behavioral assays with advanced optical techniques, we hope to determine the minimal subset of neurons whose perturbation can impact behavior.

Representation stability

Transgenic mice expressing calcium indicators are an ideal tool for the study of long-term representation dynamics. The lab is following activity over weeks and months to see how coding in neurons evolves.

Automated analysis pipelines

Our experiments depend on rapid turnaround of terabyte-scale datasets. We are developing pipelines to process data acquired during calcium imaging and behavioral videography, and to relate neural activity to behavior.



Comprehensive imaging of cortical networks

Peron SP, Chen TW, Svoboda K

2015, Curr. Opinion Neurobiology


A cellular resolution map of barrel cortex activity during tactile behavior

Peron SP, Freeman J, Iyer V, Guo C, Svoboda K

2015, Neuron


Multiple dynamic representations in the motor cortex during sensorimotor learning

Huber D, Gutnisky DA, Peron SP, O'Connor DH, Wiegert JS, Tian L, Oertner TG, Looger LL, Svoboda K

2012, Nature


From cudgel to scalpel: toward precise neural control with optogenetics

Peron SP, Svoboda K

2011, Nature Methods (outlook)


Neural activity in barrel cortex underlying vibrissa-based object localization in mice

O'Connor DH, Peron SP, Huber D, Svoboda K

2010, Neuron


Complete list of publications, PubMed


Simon Peron, PhD

Principal Investigator

Simon earned his PhD with Fabrizio Gabbiani at Baylor College of Medicine, studying single neuron computation in the context of insect vision. He did his postdoctoral work with Karel Svoboda at Janelia Farm, working on mechanisms of cortical processing in the behaving mouse using two-photon microscopy.

Daniel Stolzberg, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dan earned his PhD with Richard Salvi at SUNY Buffalo, focusing on the mechanisms of tinnitus. He did postdoctoral work with Stephen Lomber at U. Western Ontario.

Klavdia Zemlianova

Research Technician

Klavdia earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Caltech, and a masters degree in economics from Northwestern.



We are actively recruiting post-docs and PhD candidates for the projects described below. If you are interested, please get in touch!

Distribution of cortical representations

We are looking for candidates interested in studying the distribution and dynamics of functional neuronal types throughout cortex. You will develop novel head-fixed behaviors, and conduct large-scale mappings of cortex in awake, behaving animals. Possible projects include longitudinal studies of functional types, studies involving targeted behavioral perturbations, and studies of various projection or other definable cell classes.

Circuit mechanisms and behavioral roles of representations

We are looking for candidates interested in studying the interactions that produce cortical representations, and how those representations, in turn, shape behavior. You will develop optical perturbation approaches that, in conjunction with imaging, can help address these issues. Possible projects include loss and gain of function experiments targeting specific functionally-defined subpopulations, examining the consequences of perturbation on circuit dynamics and animal behavior. While there will be an emphasis on cellular resolution optical methods, more traditional approaches are not precluded.


Peron Lab

Center for Neural Science

New York University

4 Washington Place, Rm. 809

New York, NY 10003