Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and the College
Matthew Kaufman’s research aims to understand the neural computations that underlie decision making and motor control, including how networks of neurons in the brain categorize stimuli, choose appropriate courses of action, and generate the complex signals needed to control muscles. To answer these types of questions, he trains rodents to perform complex tasks, records and manipulates the activity of many neurons simultaneously, and identifies cell types and projection patterns. He also develops new kinds of analyses to relate the data to theory and principles of computation. His work seeks to address such fundamental questions as how information is transformed as it is communicated from one area of the brain to another; how neurons work together, perhaps as a dynamical system, to implement decision making and generate activity patterns for motor control; and how psychiatric drugs such as Ritalin alter these computations.
His findings have been published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, the Journal of Neuroscience, eNeuro, eLife, Nature Neuroscience, and Nature.
Kaufman holds a BS in symbolic systems (neuroscience concentration) and a PhD from Stanford University. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.