Image Luca Mazzucato
Luca Mazzucato
Ph.D., International School for Advanced Studies, SISSA/ISAS, Trieste, Italy

Research Interests

How do cognition and behavior emerge from the collective activity of large neuronal circuits in our brain? Can we simulate these neural circuits in silico to build artificial neural networks that explain brain function? Can we use our knowledge of circuit dynamics to build brain-machine interfaces to ameliorate cognitive abilities? Our lab leverages close collaborations with several experimental groups to address these questions, in particular:

  • Neural mechanisms underlying optimal performance and flexible behavior. What happens in your brain when you are "in the flow"? How does your internal arousal level affect cognitive function? 
  • Effects of psychedelic drugs and serotonergic neuromodulators on neural dynamics and behavior. What is the neural mechanism underlying hallucinations in the psychedelic state?
  • Targeted manipulation of brain activity and cognition using brain-machine interfaces. Can we build bidirectional interfaces to communicate with machines directly via brain activity in prefrontal cortex?
  • Neural circuits enabling complex naturalistic behavior. How does social behavior arise from neural circuits?

Our lab addresses these questions blending methods from physics, machine learning, dynamical systems and network theory.Our lab is part of the International Network for Bio-Inspired Computing (IN-BIC), a research consortium funded by the NSF Accelnet program including nodes in the US, Canada, and France, whose goal is to identify and implement novel approaches to understanding cognitive function and biologically inspired artificial intelligence.


Center for Computational Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence

Prospective Graduate Students: The Mazzucato Lab is accepting new graduate students.

Lab Members

Danny Burnham
Graduate Student
Luca Mazzucato
Faculty, research active
Lia Papadopoulos


Santiago Jaramillo
Auditory cognition, behavioral flexibility and predictive processing
David McCormick
Cortical neural circuits of behavior and attention
James Murray
Theoretical and computational neuroscience
Cristopher Niell
Neural circuits for natural vision
Matt Smear
Active Olfaction
Michael Wehr
Neural computation in auditory circuits