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Nicholas A. Frost


Assistant Professor of Neurology

Brain and Behavior
Neurobiology of Disease


B.S., B.A. 2003, Florida State University; MD, PhD 2012, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Internship 2012-2013, UCSF; Residency in Adult Neurology, 2013-2016; Postdoc 2016-2021 UCSF


Organization of activity across distributed circuits

The brain reliably represents information pertaining to the external environment and to our internal state or motivation. My laboratory is interested in understanding the basic features of cortical circuits that contribute to this reliability, and how the organization of cortical activity may be altered in disease states.

How is information represented and communicated across distributed networks in the brain? What are the computations required within a cortical microcircuit to permit the precise and efficient routing of information to and from downstream targets during behavior? Neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism change the function of local microcircuits through changes in E/I balance or abnormal connections between neurons. Similarly, neurodegenerative disorders – in which neurons are lost from established circuits - change the function of these circuits in distinct ways. How do these changes in the function of local microcircuits alter the communication of information across distributed circuits?

To answer these questions we use optical recording techniques to record activity from individual neurons and groups of neurons simultaneously, in distributed sites within cortical and subcortical structures, in freely behaving mice which model features of neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disorders. We couple these recordings with optogenetic manipulation of circuit function and novel strategies for circuit dissection to understand how heterogeneous populations of neurons give rise to the emergent properties of intact circuits during behavior.

My Bibliography:


Last Updated: 7/20/21