Daniel Dombeck

Principal Investigator

AT&T Research Fellow
B.S. Physics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Ph.D. Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Postdoc Neuroscience, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ


Jason Climer

Postdoctoral Fellow

How does the brain set up memories? Memories are stored by changing the strength of neural connections, but how these networks are set up is poorly understood. Dr. Jason Climer is developing novel microscopy, molecular, and statistical techniques to learn how inputs shape memories formed during navigation.


Heydar Davoudi

Postdoctoral Fellow

I’m interested in the neural mechanisms for spatial navigation and episodic memory at the subcellular level. By developing two-photon imaging of dendritic spines, I study how place cells in hippocampal output area CA1 integrate the spatial and contextual information of their inputs.  I received my PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in  2017 in David Foster’s lab, where I integrated in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to uncover the contribution of hippocampal area CA3 to the formation of CA1 place cell responses.

John and his car

John Issa

Postdoctoral Fellow

My goal is to understand how the brain processes information in a distributed and efficient manner. In particular, I am using imaging tools to study neural activity in the hippocampal formation during ongoing behavior.

Gilad and Shira

Gilad Tocker

Postdoctoral Fellow

I am interested in how memories formed in the Hippocampal formation. Many models suggest a critical role for connections between cells in forming episodic memories.  By developing novel techniques for imaging dendritic spines in vivo, I hope to test these models and produce mechanistic insights.


Maite Azcorra

Graduate Student

Dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra have been implicated in an array of functions, from movement regulation to learning. I am interested in studying the relationship between this functional diversity and the recently discovered molecular diversity of dopamine neurons, trying to understand whether different dopaminergic neuron subtypes have distinct functions.

Daniel and his glasses he never wears

Daniel (Jun Young) Oh

Graduate Student

As we walk leisurely from lab to In-N-Out on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon, how does the brain form new memories and how does the representation of the spatial memories change in response to constantly shifting environments? I am interested in studying remapping mechanisms of CA1 place cells in response to novel environment exposure in vivo using functional two photon microscopy and virtual reality.


Feng Xuan

Graduate Student

Neuromodulators, such as acetylcholine, dopamine, play critical roles in many cognitive processes. My goal is to better understand neuromodulator signaling in the living brain in relation to animals’ behavior. More specifically, I’m interested in using optical methods (e.g. two-photon imaging) to record neuromodulator dynamics in vivo, and relating them to ongoing behaviors (e.g. spatial navigation). Furthermore, we could perturb these signaling to see how that would change behaviors.

Former Lab Members

Jim Heys (Assistant Professor University of Utah, website) – jimheys@gmail.com
Mark Howe (Assistant Professor Boston University, website) – markhowe72@gmail.com
Mark Sheffield (Assistant Professor University of Chicago, website) – sheffield@uchicago.edu
Ed Han (Assistant Professor Washington University, website) – ehan23@wustl.edu

Grad Students:
Mike Adoff (Postdoc Southwell Lab, Duke University, NC) – michael.adoff@duke.edu
Brad Radvansky (Postdoc Issa Lab, Columbia University, NY) – radvansky@fastmail.com