Georgia Tech Neuro Seminar Series
"Toward Understanding the Cortico-cerebellar Circuits that Underlie Predictive Processing"
Farzaneh Najafi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
School of Biological Sciences
*Lunch provided for in-person attendees
*To participate virtually, CLICK HERE
Predictive coding is a theory of brain function that assumes the brain contains an internal model of the world, which constantly generates predictions about our environment, and updates the predictions if they deviate from the actual external inputs. Impaired predictive processing is suggested to underlie symptoms such as hallucinations and social disconnection in neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Treating these disorders requires understanding the neural mechanisms that generate and update prediction signals in the healthy brain. My long-term vision is to shed light on the circuits and computations that underlie predictive processing in the brain.
I will start my talk by presenting data from my previous research that demonstrate predictive signals in cortical and cerebellar circuits in behaving mice. Then I will describe the gap in our knowledge about how the cerebellum and cortex may interact to support predictive behavior. Finally, I will present the future research plans for my lab to investigate these unknown questions, shedding light on the cortico-cerebellar circuitries that underlie predictive processing.
Farzaneh studied Biotechnology (integrated BSc/MSc/PhD program) at the University of Tehran, Iran, and completed her master's project on stem cell research at Royan Institute at Hossein Baharvand's lab. She came to the US in 2007 for her Ph.D. in systems neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania and studied cerebellar mechanisms underlying motor adaptation in Javier Medina's lab and collaborated with Sam Wang's lab at Princeton University.
She joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2014 as a postdoc to study parietal cortex circuits underlying cognitive behavior in Anne Churchland's lab and joined the Allen institute for Brain Science to investigate in 2019 the neural circuits of visually guided behavior using a team science approach.
Her appointment as assistant professor at Georgia Tech will begin in January 2023 to investigate the circuits and computations that underlie predictive processing in the brain.
The Najafi Lab's field of research is known as predictive processing. Predictive processing is a theory of brain function that assumes the brain contains an internal model of the world, which constantly generates and updates predictions about the world.
Impaired predictive processing is thought to underlie hallucinations and social disconnection in neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. It can also lead to motor disorders, such as impaired movement adaptation following perturbations.