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Donald O’Malley

Associate Professor

Mailing Address:

134 MU (Mugar Life Sciences Building), Boston, MA 02115

Expertise:

  • Cellular and Systems Neurobiology Biological Imaging, Cognitive Neurodynamics, Neuroethology

I study neuronal networks at the cellular, systems and computational levels.  I previously investigated the dynamics of nuclear calcium signaling and the role of cholinergic / GABAergic co-transmission in visual-motion detection.  Using confocal and high-speed imaging, I also explored how neuronal populations in zebrafish generate locomotor, social and predatory behaviors.  Current projects are aimed at understanding symbolic operations in mammalian cortex including packet routing and auto-associative network mechanisms.  Of particular interest is the pre-linguistic modules of the brain that organize and communicate information and how, in the hominid lineage, these same systems gave rise to (and still constrain) the fully arbitrary and compositional system we call language.  A parallel thread concerns how knowledge is organized and stored in mammalian neocortex (including the role of reflective learning algorithms, such as Digital Maze games) and how these same systems break down due to neuropathology and age.