Our research aims to decipher the neural algorithms underlying the learning of novel skills, using multi-site in vivo two photon imaging and optogenetics during behavioral learning, computational circuit modeling, and viral-genetic neuroanatomical techniques. We've homed in on two major brain centers of learning, the neocortex and cerebellum, which compose 99% of all human neurons and are interconnected by canonical recurrent circuits that are universally conserved across all mammals. By observing and perturbing the interactions between these brain areas during learning, characterizing their connectivity, and modeling the system dynamics, we hope to extract the basic neural computations that support our remarkable ability for general learning, potentially shedding light on how these processes are disrupted in neurological disorders.
Dr. Wagner joined NINDS as a Stadtman Investigator in August 2021. Before joining the NIH, Dr. Wagner studied bioengineering at Harvard University, researching human motor control with Maurice Smith during a combined B.A./M.S., then obtained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University under Mark Schnitzer, as well as postdoctoral training with Liqun Luo also at Stanford, developing novel strategies to study cortex-cerebellum circuitry in learning and behaving mice.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics
This page was last updated on Wednesday, February 9, 2022