Sensory computation and neural coding

The transformation from the concrete representations of raw physical stimuli at the visual and auditory system periphery to the abstract representations that comprise perception occur across several stages of processing. We study the computations performed across several stages of visual and auditory processing, with the goal to understand the larger role of computation in each area in contributing to the elements of perception.

Vision: Retina

  • Current project: Temporal processing within the retinal circuit (collaboration with J. Demb lab, Yale)
  • Current project: Color vision in the cichlid fish retina (collaboration with J. Singer and K. Carleton labs, UMD)
  • Cui Y, Wang YV, Park SSH, Demb JB*, Butts DA* (2016) Divisive suppression explains high-precision firing and contrast adaptation in retinal ganglion cells. eLife 5: e19460. [PDF]
  • Butts DA, Cui Y, Casti ARR (in press) Nonlinear computation shaping temporal processing of pre-cortical vision. Journal of Neurophysiology 116: 1344-57. [Journal website]
  • Choi H, Zhang L, Cembrowski MS, Sabottke CM, Markowitz A, Butts DA, Kath WL, Singer JH, Riecke H (2014) Intrinsic bursting of AII amacrine cells underlies oscillations in the rd1 mouse retina. Journal of Neurophysiology 112: 1491-504.

Vision: LGN

  • Butts DA, Weng C, Jin JZ, Alonso JM, Paninski L (2011) Temporal precision in the visual pathway through the interplay of excitation and stimulus-driven suppression. Journal of Neuroscience 31: 11313-27. [PDF]
  • Butts DA, Desbordes G, Weng C, Jin JZ, Alonso JM, Stanley GB (2010) The episodic nature of spike trains in the early visual pathway. Journal of Neurophysiology 104: 3371-87. [PDF]
  • Butts DA, Weng C, Jin JZ, Yeh CI, Lesica NA, Alonso JM, Stanley GB (2007) Temporal precision in the neural code and the time scales of natural vision. Nature 449: 92-5. [PDF, Sup1]

Vision: Primary visual cortex (V1)

  • Current project with B. Cumming lab (NIH): Specialization of foveal V1.
  • McFarland JM, Cumming BG, Butts DA (2016) Variability and correlations in primary visual cortical neurons driven by fixational eye movements. Journal of Neuroscience 36: 6225-41. [Journal website]
  • McFarland JM, Bondy AG, Saunders R, Cumming BG*, Butts DA* (2015) Saccadic modulation of stimulus processing in primary visual cortex. Nature Communications 6: 8110. [Full text]
  • McFarland JM, Bondy AG, Cumming BG, Butts DA (2014) High-resolution eye tracking using V1 neuron activity. Nature Communications 5: 4605. [Online] [Code]
  • McFarland JM, Cui Y, Butts DA (2013) Inferring nonlinear neuronal computation based on physiologically plausible inputs. PLoS Computational Biology 9: e1003143. [PDF] [Code]
  • Lochmann T, Blanche TJ, Butts DA (2013) Pooling of local features as a basis for direction selectivity in the primary visual cortex. PLoS One 8: e58666. [PDF]

Vision: Dorsal pathway (MT and MST)

  • Cui Y, Liu L, McFarland JM, Pack CC, Butts DA (submitted) Cortical variability arising from spontaneous and decision-related network activity.
  • Cui Y, Liu L, Khawaja FA, Pack CC, Butts DA (2013) Diverse suppressive influences in area MT and selectivity to complex motion features. Journal of Neuroscience 33: 16715-28. [PDF]
  • Mineault PJ*, Khawaja FA*, Butts DA, Pack CC (2012) Hierarchical processing of complex motion along the primate dorsal visual pathway. PNAS 109: E972.

Auditory pathway

  • Current project: Temporal processing in the inferior colliculus (collaboration with N. Lesica lab, UCL) [Poster]
  • Ahn J, Kreeger LJ, Lubejko ST, Butts DA, MacLeod KM (2014) Heterogeneity of intrinsic biophysical properties among cochlear nucleus neurons improves the population coding of temporal information. Journal of Neurophysiology 111: 2320-31.
  • Schinkel-Bielefeld N, David SV, Shamma SA, Butts DA (2012) Inferring the role of inhibition in auditory processing of complex natural stimuli. Journal of Neurophysiology 107: 3296. [PDF]

Neural coding

  • See above: Butts et al. (Nature, 2007) and Butts et al. (J. Neurophysiol., 2010)
  • Butts DA, Goldman MS (2006) Tuning Curves, Neuronal Variability, and Sensory Coding. PLoS Biology 4: e92. [Full text, Featured writeup]
  • Butts DA (2003) How much the information associated with a particular stimulus? Network: Computation in Neural Systems 14: 177-187. [PDF]