Our group investigates the neuro-dynamical and biophysical basis of higher cognitive functions related to the temporal organization of behavior, like working memory, cognitive flexibility, rule deduction, or decision making. We study these functions both in 'healthy' states as well as their disturbances in psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia and depression. Our main focus is the prefrontal cortex, the brain structure most tightly linked to these functions. We are a mainly theoretical group and specialize on two methodological approaches:
1) Simulation and computer-aided analysis of biophysical neural model systems. We follow a highly data-driven approach where biophysical computer models are constructed based on in-vitro electrophysiological recordings from prefrontal neurons and synapses, tested using in-vivo electrophysiological data from behaving animals (in collaboration), and analyzed with the help of mathematical tools from nonlinear dynamics.
2) Neural data analysis using statistical and machine learning approaches. Our multivariate-statistical methods focus on reconstructing the neural dynamics and neural state spaces from in-vivo multiple single-unit recordings, neural imaging (fMRI), or EEG data.
Hyman JM, Ma L, Balaguer-Ballester E, Durstewitz D, Seamans JK (2012). Contextual encoding by ensembles of medial prefrontal cortex neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109(13):5086-91.
Durstewitz D, Vittoz NM, Floresco SB, Seamans JK (2010). Abrupt transitions between prefrontal neural ensemble states accompany behavioral transitions during rule learning. Neuron 66(3):438-48.
Lapish CC, Durstewitz D, Chandler LJ, Seamans JK (2008). Successful choice behavior is associated with distinct and coherent network states in anterior cingulate cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(33):11963-8.
Durstewitz D, Seamans JK (2008). The dual-state theory of prefrontal cortex dopamine function with relevance to catechol-o-methyltransferase genotypes and schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry 64(9):739-49.
Durstewitz D, Gabriel T (2007) Dynamical basis of irregular spiking in NMDA-driven prefrontal cortex neurons. Cereb Cortex 17(4):894-908.