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Johan Winnubst studies the role of cortical-hippocampal interactions in memory and generalization. At Janelia, he developed a novel VR behavior system that he combines with mesoscale calcium imaging to examine the changes in neuronal activity over time as a mouse learns to perform a task. Driven in part by his previous work on the MouseLight project, he is especially interested in the organization of cell types in the brain and how their interactions and unique activity patterns drive intelligent behavior. Outside of the lab he enjoys learning about rocketry and space travel, discussing how AI and neuroscience are really studying the same thing, and playing guitar.
Winnubst obtained his BSc in Biological Psychology (2004-2007) and his Msc in Neuroscience at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam (2008-2010). He did his Phd at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in the lab of Christian Lohmann (2010-2015). During this time he researched how spontaneous activity during development shapes network connectivity at the synaptic level. His postdoctoral studies were performed at the HHMI Janelia research campus where he worked as the lead researcher on the MouseLight project to create a first of its kind database of over a thousand fully reconstructed neurons in the mouse brain. Currently, he is working in the lab of Nelson Spruston where he uses calcium imaging and VR behavior to study the mechanisms of memorizations and generalization in the hippocampus.