André Marques-Smith studies how the thalamus influences the activity of distributed cortical areas, aiming to use this knowledge to understand how information scattered across distant brain structures is coordinated and integrated for behaviour. Marques-Smith is also developing approaches to interpret, analyse and mine data collected with state-of-the-art Neuropixels electrode arrays that can record the activity of hundreds of neurons.
Most behaviours that animals perform in the wild require the involvement of multiple neural pathways and brain structures. How is neural activity coordinated such that the right pieces of information are retrieved from the right structures at the right time? To investigate this question, Marques-Smith uses electrophysiological and optical techniques that can record activity from hundreds of neurons distributed throughout the brain in behaving animals. Findings from these experiments will help scientists understand the types of brain activity required by complex behaviours.