Ethan Scott’s laboratory is interested in the workings of the brain at the level of cells and circuits. Scott aims to understand how sensory stimuli are perceived and processed in the brain, and how the brain then interprets these stimuli to produce adaptive behaviors.
Because of the brain’s extraordinary complexity, these questions are difficult to address by looking at individual cells. The flow of information through the brain relies on the coordinated activity of thousands or millions of cells and on ensembles of neurons that are active simultaneously. For this reason, Scott’s research involves imaging activity in thousands of cells and seeking salient patterns of activity across these populations. In a range of projects, he characterizes the neurons and circuits that respond to various visual, auditory and vestibular stimuli; that play a role in the integration of information from these modalities; and that filter sensory information to produce behavior.