Image Cristopher Niell
Cristopher Niell
B.S., Stanford University 1995
Ph.D, Stanford University 2004

Research Interests

Our research is focused on understanding how neural circuits perform the image processing that allows us to perform complex visual behaviors, and how these circuits are refined by development and experience. We use in vivo recording techniques including high-density extracellular recording and widefield / two-photon imaging, along with molecular genetic tools to dissect neural circuits. We have also implemented behavioral tasks for mice so we can perform quantitative psychophysics to measure the animal’s perception, and we use theoretical models to understand general computational principles being instantiated. Recently, we have extended these approaches to study visual perception in the context of natural behaviors and complex environments, in an effort to understand how the visual system functions in real-world conditions. We are also studying the octopus visual system, to understand how a completely different brain architecture processes visual information.

Lab Members

Elliott Abe
Graduate Student
Emmalyn Leonard
Research Staff
Phil Parker
Judit Pungor
Issac Rhim
Shelby Sharp
Graduate Student
Jeremea Songco
Graduate Student


Luca Mazzucato
Computational neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence
David McCormick
Cortical neural circuits of behavior and attention
Michael Posner
Neural networks of attention
Matt Smear
Active Olfaction
Michael Wehr
Neural computation in auditory circuits