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RIKEN Center for Brain Science Laboratory for Neural Circuits and Behavior

Laboratory Head: Andrea Benucci (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Andrea  Benucci(Ph.D.)

Our laboratory studies the neural basis of sensory processing with a major focus on vision. We are particularly interested in understanding the computational rules used by populations of neurons in the visual cortex to process visual information: how does the coordinated activity of groups of neurons, “talking” among each other via action potentials, produce a visual percept? What are the relevant spatial and temporal scales used to process visual information? To address these questions, we are using as a model system the primary visual cortex of mice trained in behavioural tasks. The experimental tools we are using are based on cutting-edge methods in Optogenetics, optical imaging, and electrode recording. This research provides an ideal test-bed for understanding the neural mechanisms of visual perception and its outcomes have the potential to provide important clinical applications in the field of cortical visual prostheses.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology

Related Research Fields

  • Biological Sciences


  • optogenetics
  • recurrent neural networks
  • electrophysiology
  • artificial intelligence
  • decision-making

Selected Publications

  • 1.Zoccolan D, Cox D, Benucci A:
    "What can simple brains teach us about how vision works."
    Front Neural Circuits, 9:51, (2015) [Full]
  • 2.Madisen L, ...,Benucci A, ..., Zeng H:
    "Transgenic mice for intersectional targeting of neural sensors and effectors with high specificity and performance."
    Neuron, Mar 4;85(5):942-58 (2015) [PubMed]
  • 3.Carandini M, Shimaoka D, Rossi LF, Sato TK, Benucci A, Knöpfel T:
    "Imaging the awake visual cortex with a genetically encoded voltage indicator."
    J Neurosci, Jan 7;35(1):53-63, (2015) [PubMed]
  • 4.Schölvinck ML, Saleem AB, Benucci A, Harris KD, Carandini M:
    "Cortical state determines global variability and correlations in visual cortex."
    J Neurosci, Jan 7;35(1):170-8, (2015) [PubMed]
  • 5.Pisauro MA, Dhruv NT, Carandini M, and Benucci A:
    "Fast hemodynamic responses in the visual cortex of the awake mouse."
    J Neurosci, Nov 13;33(46), 18343-51 (2013)
  • 6.Benucci A, Saleem AB, and Carandini M:
    "Adaptation maintains population homeostasis in primary visual cortex."
    Nat Neurosci, Jun 16(6), 724-9 (2013)
  • 7.Okun M, ..., Benucci A, ..., Carandini M, and Harris K:
    "Population rate dynamics and multineuron firing patterns in sensory cortex."
    J Neurosci, Nov 28; 32(48):17108-19 (2012) [PubMed]
  • 8.Pearson RA, Barber AC, Rizzi M, Hippert C, Xue T, West EL, Duran Y, Smith AJ, Chuang JZ, Azam SA, Luhmann UF, Benucci A, Sung CH, Bainbridge JW, Carandini M, Yau KW, Sowden JC, and Ali RR:
    "Restoration of vision after transplantation of photoreceptors."
    Nature, 485(7396), 99-103 (2012)
  • 9.Benucci A, Ringach DL, and Carandini M:
    "Coding of stimulus sequences by population responses in visual cortex."
    Nature Neuroscience, 12(10), 1317-24 (2009)
  • 10.Katzner S, Nauhaus I, Benucci A, et al.:
    "Local origin of field potentials in visual cortex."
    Neuron, 61:35-41, (2009) [PubMed]

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Andrea Benucci
Laboratory Head

Core members

Ryo Aoki
Research Scientist
Mohammad Abdolrahmani
Research Scientist
Dmitry Lyamzin
Research Scientist
Yuka Iwamoto
Technical Staff I
Yuki Goya
Technical Staff I
Rie Nishiyama
Technical Staff I


Position Deadline
Seeking a Research Scientist or Postdoctral Researcher Position (W20178) Open until filled
Seeking a Research Scientist or Postdoctral Researcher Position (W20179) Open until filled

Contact Information

101b Brain Science Neural Circuit Genetics Research Bldg.
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)48-462-1111
Fax: +81-(0)48-467-5221
Email: andrea.benucci [at] riken.jp