Thomas A. Cleland


Research Focus

My research concerns how complex cognitive and perceptual phenomena can arise from, and be regulated by, cellular and neural circuit properties. Primarily using the sense of smell (olfaction), my students, colleagues, and I ask how learning, memory, expectation, and like processes shape the transformations performed on sensory inputs within relatively peripheral (i.e., experimentally accessible) cortical circuitry, and how these different transformations in turn influence behavior and subsequent learning. We triangulate on these questions using a range of techniques including electrophysiology, pharmacology, behavior and behavior genetics, brain clearing and light-sheet imaging, and theoretical studies including biophysically constrained computational modeling and the development of neuromorphic algorithms for deployment in artificial intelligence systems.

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