Hi there! I am neuroscientist and poet at UC Berkeley currently working with Professor Dan Feldman to develop a 1D virtual reality system for studying how the brain represents tactile shapes. Using this system, we have been able to study how mice use their whiskers to touch and interact with different shapes while measuring how these sensations are represented in cellular responses in the brain (primary somatosensory cortex).
Here is a high-speed video slowed down 10x to allow you to see how a mouse uses its whiskers to explore a tactile set of bars. Note that the movement of the running disk controls the movement of the tactile stimulus (this is the “1D virtual reality” aspect of the task).
You might have many questions about what is going on here. Good! I hope to break apart everything shown in that video in upcoming blog posts. Here is a short interview I did with my program discussing my project and my time in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.
When I’m not in the lab, I might be going for a run or breaking apart old tape players, keyboards and music equipment to find strange sounds. I have been observed teaching my computer to pronounce the word “chicken” using neural networks (it worked, mostly). I love to code and create electronic gadgets from Arduinos or re-purposed gizmos. And of course, I am a neuroscientist poet, so I do enjoy writing the occasional poem.
I’m not sure how all of these passions fit together yet, but I’m hoping to use this website to share that process.
Feel free to contact me about my work or point me in exciting directions that combine these interests!