Team

Staff Profiles

Shawn Olsen, Ph.D.

Associate Investigator

Shawn Olsen joined the Allen Institute in 2013 as an assistant investigator in the Neural Coding group. His team studies the neural basis of behavior and cognition using the mouse as a model system. Prior to joining the Allen Institute he was postdoctoral fellow at UCSD where he studied the cortical mechanisms of visual processing. He received a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University.

 

Research

Research Interests

We are investigating the neural mechanisms underlying object recognition, attention, and learning. We seek to understand these phenomena at multiple levels organization and use genetic tools in the mouse to probe the detailed cellular and network mechanisms. Mice are trained to perform behavioral tasks and we map the underlying neural circuit dynamics across brain areas. We measure neural activity using both optical and electrophysiological approaches, and we use optogenetics to perform perturbation experiments in order to constrain causal models of neural operation. Transgenic mice provide cell type specificity to our mechanistic interrogations. Our experiments are guided by theory, modeling, and computational analysis. We conceptualize perception as an inferential process and are developing models of hierarchical processing that include both feedforward and feedback mechanisms. We are also developing more abstract models of behavior to explain foraging and decision-making phenomena.

Research Interests

  • Behavior
  • Cognition
  • Cortical dynamics
  • Object recognition
  • Attention
  • Learning​

​Contact Information

  • shawno@alleninstitute.org

Selected Publications

High-density extracellular probes reveal dendritic backpropagation and facilitate neuron classification

Journal of Neurophysiology
March 6, 2019

Jia X, Siegle JH, Bennett C, Gale SD, Denman DJ, Koch C, Olsen SR

Higher-order thalamic circuits channel parallel streams of visual information in mice

Neuron
February 27, 2019

Bennett C, Gale SD, Garrett ME, Newton ML, Callaway EM, Murphy GJ, Olsen SR

A large-scale, standardized physiological survey reveals higher order coding throughout the mouse visual cortex

bioRxiv
June 29, 2018

de Vries S, Lecoq J, Buice MA, Groblewski PA, Ocker GK, Oliver M, Feng F, Cain N, Ledochowitsch P, Millman D, Roll K, Garrett M, Keenan T, Kuan L, Mihalas S, Olsen S, Thompson C, Wakeman W, Waters J, Williams D, Barber C, Berbesque N, Blanchard B, Bowles N, Caldejon S, Casal L, Cho A, Cross S, Dang C, Dolbeare T, Edwards M, Galbraith J, Gaudreault N, Griffin F, Hargrave P, Howard R, Huang L, Jewell S, Keller N, Knoblich U, Larkin J, Larsen R, Lau C, Lee E, Lee F, Leon A, Li L, Long F, Luviano J, Mace K, Nguyen T, Perkins J, Robertson M, Seid S, Shea-Brown E, Shi J, Sjoquist N, Slaughterbeck C, Sullivan D, Valenza R, White C, Williford A, Witten D, Zhuang J, Zeng H, Farrell C, Ng L, Bernard A, Phillips JW, R Reid C, Koch C

First spikes in visual cortex enable perceptual discrimination

eLife
April 16, 2018

Resulaj A, Olsen SR, Scanziani M. Elife

Visual physiology of the Layer 4 cortical circuit in silico

PLoS Computational Biology
November 12, 2018

Arkhipov A, Gouwens NW, Billeh YN, Gratiy S, Iyer R, Wei Z, Xu Z, Berg J, Buice M, Cain N, da Costa N, de Vries S, Denman D, Durand S, Feng D, Jarsky T, Lecoq J, Lee B, Li L, Mihalas S, Ocker GK, Olsen SR, Reid RC, Soler-LLavina G, Sorensen SA, Wang Q, Waters J, Scanziani M, Koch C