Yttri Lab news:

Forgot to put this in before – WELCOME! WELCOME!  We’re excited to bring on board Aden Eagle, previously of Max Plank Florida, and Dr Paul Middlebrooks, previously (and currently) of The Brain Inspired podcast. Both will be working on multi-area dynamics underlying naturalistic behavior.

11.19.23 – This weekend, Matt Gerimita and his wife welcomed the ‘newest member of the Yttri lab’ into the world (his words). Congrats!!!

11.11.23 – Well done Mark Nicholas for receiving the Margaret Carver Travel award to present his exiting cortico-striatal work at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

10.10.23 – We are so very proud to present DR Alex Hsu, who successfully defended his thesis today.  Alex was the driving force behind the unsupervised machine learning method of behavior classification, B-SOiD, the supervised approach for behavioral extraction, A-SOiD, and some of the most exciting large-scale neurobehavioral data from motor cortex and striatum that we’ve seen in a while.  CONGRATS!!!

08.18.23 – A bittersweet day for the lab. Dr. Paul Middlebrooks has officially joined the lab! Also Alex Paz Staig, our lab manager, who had her last day, is leaving to go back to Chile. We had a fun send off, including some Office Space-inspired stress relief!

07.13.23 – Ecstatic to receive another CRCNS grant from the NIH! In this collaborative computational and experimental grant with the Verstynen, Rubin, and Vich Llompart (Spain) labs, we’ll be teasing apart the neural processes underlying decision making in complex tasks and behaviors. PI’s shown here taking the plunge at our recent collaboration meeting.

07.01.23 – Welcome Ali Petrisek to the lab! She’ll be taking over running the lab from the indomitable Alex Paz Staig, who is heading back to Chile.

06.17.23 – Julia’s poster had a big crowd around it at IBAGS in Sweden, together with posters from collaborators Jon Rubin and Jyotika Bathuguna (update, on this same trip to Europe, Jyotika secured a faculty position in France! Congrats!!!)

03.23.23 – Super excited that our Perspective in eLife just came out on best practices in pose-estimation and behavior extraction! It answers (most?) of your questions, whether you’re just starting out are developing tools like B-SOiD (like the Datta lab!)

03.20.23 – Congrats to Julia Badyna for winning the Margaret Carver Travel award! She’ll be headed to the international basal ganglia society meeting in Sweden to present her exciting work on decision making and reinforcement learning.

03.03.23 PAPER ACCEPTED!  Through a multi-group consortium led by Mark Laubach, we wrote a perspective and best practices manuscript for pose estimation and behavioral quantification, now accepted at eLIFE!!!

03.01.23 – Eric had a great time talking about the CMU array and its potential applications, including in quantifying the neural correlates of spontaneous behavior at Bin He’s Neural Engineering lectureship.

01.27.23 – As a product of the great science and community of the lab, Eric has been promoted to ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR! THANK YOU TO THE TEAM FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK!!!

01.12.23 – Our lab helped organize what is turning out to be a fantastic conference with leaders in CompBio and Physics: ‘Biophysics and Quantitative Biology in the AI Era’ Conference‘. Alex Hsu will present tomorrow, along with invited speakers Gordon Berman, Shreya Saxena, and Eric Lee.

12.16.22 – At the Allen Institute, Eric had a great last hurrah with his fellow NextGeneration Leaders, including Mark Cembrowski, Bianca Jones Marlin, and Michael Lodato. It was great learning about some incredible new projects there and meeting a new class of young innovators

12.12.22 – An excellent write-up came in the university mailing about Alex Hus being awarded the Glen de Vries Fellowship for the Biological Sciences.  Read about his cool work here!

12.02.22 – CONGRATULATIONS DR. ALEX HODGE! Alex successfully defended his thesis today after joining the lab in 2018. Now headed off to his top-choice postdoc at Michigan, but seen here right after demonstrating that “The best Defense is a good offense” (we got his name engraved on the sword!)

12.01.22 – Matt Geramita headed off to the ACNP meeting to present his exciting ephys/behavioral work on striatal populations underlying reward and movement processing.

10.31.22 – Immensely proud of Alex Hsu for receiving the Glen de Vries Presidential Fellowship for his incredible work and insight. Like Alex, Glen was a gifted innovator who could see the next ‘big thing’ coming, and figure it all out with ease.  Congrats!

10.28.22 – At the CRCNS meeting in Atlanta, CMU was well represented – including talks by Eric, Matt Smith, and a keynote lecture from Byron Yu. This meeting featured our joint work/grant with Tim Verstynen and Jon Rubin, and particularly this exciting Plos Comp Bio paper.

10.14.22 – After his special lecture at University of British Columbia, Eric was quite impressed with the great computational/experimental neuroscience going on there!

10.05.22 – The CMU Array has arrived! Our Science Advances paper on 3D nanoprinted, fully-customizable electrode arrays is available and featured.  Great job Mark, Hailey, and our collaborators in Rahul Panat’s lab!

08.08.22 – Belated welcome to our new lab manager Alex! Originally from Santiago, Chile, she comes to us with a great background in primatology and anthropology.

07.14.22 – Mazel tov! We just received the Binational Israel/US Science Foundation grant with Oded Klav to study DA-striatal loops and their role in decision making and action selection.  Should be an exciting collaboration!

05.31.22 – It’s bittersweet to see Jean leaves her position as lab manager to start medical school at Georgetown.  Good luck and you’re welcome back any time!

05.01.22 – Congrats to our graduating students! Masters students (below) – Nahom is matriculating to the BME phd program at CMU and Hailey has taken a position as the Director of Boston University’s STEM Pathways Program
Talented seniors Sami Johnson and and Alan Lai have gone on to UChicago and NYU, respectively.  You all will be missed!!!!

04.23.22 – Fortunate to give an invited talk on the capabilities of B-SOiD to the International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society meeting. Wish we were there for the food in Memphis!

04.01.22 – Alexander Friedman and UTEP was a wonderful host for a seminar afternoon of basal ganglia and exciting complex behavior discussions

03.11.22 – While in Germany, Eric visited Bonn University and gave the first post-pandemic seminar (and promptly got COVID on the way home).

03.07.22 – Eric presents Keynote lecture at the Future of Deep Brain Stimulation summit in Wurzburg, Germany with Phil Starr and fellow WashU alum Mike Fox.

01.20.22 – Congrats to Mark Nicholas for passing his qualifying exam.  He and his proposal to study the cortico-striatal circuits underlying motor learning absolutely hit it out of the park!

11.10.21 – Eric is exited an honored to become the Eberly Family Career Development Professor of Biological Science.  It’s quite a vote of confidence and support… and he gets a real chair!

10.08.21 – Tim Verstynen enjoyed visiting NYC to give a talk covering the work of our the multi-lab group at the CRCNS meeting

10.01.21 – Eric gave a virtual talk at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute. It was really exciting sharing our ideas with the excellent researchers there.

09.01.21 – Alex Hsu’s paper on B-SOiD is out on Nature Communications!  A really special achievement and a really great tool! Code and paper are both free open access.

8.05.21 – Luke Coddington visited from Janelia to give a great talk on the computational role of dopamine, as well as enjoy some time by the spatially-distanced fire

08.01.21 – Congrats to Helen Feibes on a great presentation at the uPNC symposium!

05.27.21 – The B-SOiD project got some very exciting news from Nature Communications…!

04.08.21 – Congrats to our talented undergrad researcher Meera Krishna who will be starting her PhD at the Medical College of Wisconsin this fall!!!!

03.18.21 – Had a fantastic time “visiting” Berlin Germany as their inaugural TRR295 Colloquium speaker, discussing our work in the context of Parkinson’s disease and deep brain stimulation. Hopefully soon enough it’ll be in person!

03.01.21 – Do you like optogenetics, neuroscience, and/or sci fi? Our own Arula Ratnakar’s NOVELLA was just published in the great sci-fi journal, Clarkesworld!  Read it here!

02.24.21 – Congrats to Matt Mosso on a great rotation talk for the department. Paradoxical kinesia is pretty incredible!

02.09.21 – Excited to learn that our automated behavioral discovery and extraction tool, B-SOiD, has been added to NIH’s BIOWULF High-Performance Computing System

02.03.21 – Eric was just invited to lead give a talk to the German Transregional Collaborative Research center on neuromodulation and disease and to moderate the Allen Institute Open For Science symposium, both in March.

12.28.21 – Congrats to Julia Badyna on passing her Thesis Proposal! She’s building a computational and cell-type specific blueprint for corticostriatal mechanisms underlying choice behavior under varying levels of volatility. Very exciting!

12.14.20 – Arula Ratnakar, who teaches fellow undergrads neuroscience in a fantastic online StuCo course and does some thrilling art (writing, drawing) and science was featured in a College news story! Learn more about her diverse talents!
And check out her course – open to anyone!

11.23.20 – Congrats to Alan Lai for winning a Small Undergraduate Research Grant to understand the computational mechanisms underlying spontaneous behavioral decisions. Alan’s work has been the result of him pursuing his neuro and statistical interests, and we’re really excited to see what he finds.

11.18.20 – Welcome (back) to the lab, Mark Nicholas. After starting the lab with Eric as a technician, he’s continuing on in his study of the cortico-striatal dynamics underlying movement performance

10.05.20 – Are there Huntington’s disease hallmarks before diagnosis can be made? In a fantastic reader’s pick write up in eNeuro by our lab’s own Julia Badyna, she goes over an exciting launch point for future work in early HD therapeutic intervention. We’re excited about the work that captures the innovation on both the molecular and behavioral side, and hopefully provides impactful insights to HD therapies

09.20.20 – We’re excited to receive a CRCNS grant from the NIH! This will fund work on the neural basis of decision making with Tim Verstynen, Jon Rubin, and Cati Vich Llompart (Spain). Julia is already training mice to explore how neural populations modulate strategy in the face of volatility… particularly apropos as of late.

08.06.20 – Vishal wrote an excellent summary of the Kanold Lab’s ToneBox and the state of automated, open tools in behavioral neuroscience – published through eNeuro.

07.30.20 – Parley and Eric were interviewed by eNeuro about the lab, science, and features of a good mentor

06.01.20 – Eric gave an exciting talk on our 3D-printed CMU Arrays at the NIH BRAIN Investigators meeting today with Loren Frank, Cindy Chestek and others

03.01.20 – “Open-source joystick manipulandum for decision-making, reaching, and motor control studies in mice.” now in print at eNeuro, Pubmed.

02.22.20 – Eric shared what the lab is doing as one of four professors invited to speak at the CMU Board of Trustees retreat in San Francisco. The lab’s hard work made it easy to encourage the Board to think about what we as a university can “Make Possible“.

01.31.20 – Another PAPER ACCEPTED! Postdoc Matt Geramita and Prof Susanne Ahmari and I wrote a comptrehensive interesting summary of reinforcement learning, various tasks to assess it, and how we can translate findings from mouse to man. Coming soon to J Neuro Res

01.25.20 – PAPER ACCEPTED! Great work by Parley Belsey and Mark Nicholas demonstrating how to build and implement an inexpensive joystick to do reaching, reaction time, and decision-making tasks! Look for it in eNeuro soon!

01.23.20 – Thanks to Karunesh Ganguly, UCSF, for a fantastic visit to the lab and insightful talk to the Neuroscience Institute!

01.22.20 – Alex Hodge presented an excellent survey of his recent work to the CMU Research Seminar on reinforcement learning on unconstrained behavior using closed-loop stimulation of striatum.  Well done!

12.15.19 – Happy Holidays from the Yttri lab!!!!!


09.25.19 – Eric Yttri named to the Allen Institute’s Next Generation Leaders Council. Thankful for Christof Koch’s words: “The 2019 group is an impressive cadre of rising stars in neuroscience and we’re looking forward to the perspective they will bring to our research programs.”

09.12.19 – Getting some media attention for our recent large-scale recording grant! Here’s two stories, including a CMU feature and a 3D Printing Industry article.

07.09.19 – Congrats to Alex Hodge! He receives the College’s Graduate Student Conference Award, the only student in Biological Sciences to do so

07.04.19 – Eric’s interview, lab’s work, and creative picture made by the lab, featured in a CNN story about the science of ‘Stranger Things’

06.17.19 – Excited to announce that the Brain Research Foundation has selected our proposal to study how value decisions are made by genetically different populations of neurons across mPFC / striatal circuits!

05.24.19 – Parley Belsey wins the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research at her graduation! Another great achievement for her. We’re excited that she’ll be coming back to the Yttri lab to carry on her excellent research!

05.08.19 – Congratulations to Parley for placing second in her group at the Sigma Xi Poster Competition at Meeting of the Minds 2019 presenting her excellent work on building an automated mouse reach task capable of two-armed bandit and reaction time tasks!

04.01.19 – Video of Eric’s recent fantastic talk on cortico-striatal interactions and delineating the function of the basal ganglia circuit to the Society for Neuroscience’s advisory board

03.13.19 – Latest publication!  In this Biorxiv pre-print, Parley and Mark describe and benchmark our easy-to-build mouse joysticks that enable closed-loop stimulation in realtime as well as complex reaction time and probabilistic learning tasks.

03.11.19 – An article was just published summarizing our Open Science Symposium last fall, paid for in part by a grant from the DSF Foundation. The article can be found here and video of the fantastic talks can be found here

This grant is to create a fully customizable, 3D printed ultra high density electrode array, in collaboration with Dr Rahul Panat. This array will ultimately be used to record from thousands of neurons across several targeted brain regions to answer questions concerning neural mechanisms of action and improvement of AI transfer learning algorithms.

10.10.18 – The Yttri lab published a new review about the potential for optogenetic research to improve deep brain stimulation!

09.07.18 – Congratulations Eric Yttri for winning the Kaufman New Investigator Award. The goal of the proposal is to explore how multiple brain areas work together to learn and improve movement. More details on the award can be found here

08.15.18 – Congratulations Eric Yttri for winning the Whitehall Foundation Award. The 3 year grant will cover how cortical and basal ganglia interactions orchestrate movement and value-based decisions

05.30.18 – Congrats to the ‘Deep Nets’ team for winning the CMU Neurohackathon using our lab’s dataset of reaching / hundreds of simultaneously recorded cortical and striatal neurons!

04.01.18 – Just published! Summary of our quantifiable, testable model of how the motor system and basal ganglia work in health and disease states. Email us if you have any questions.

03.21.18 – Yttri lab wins DSF Young Investigator Grant and funding for Open Science Symposium

Now accepting rotation students and postdocs  !!!