About the Lab

Understanding how brains makes decisions is critical for gaining insight into complex cognition. When making decisions, humans and animals can flexibly integrate multiple sources of information before committing to action. The ability to flexibly use incoming information distinguishes decisions from reflexes, offering a tractable entry point into more complex cognitive processes defined by flexibility, such as abstract thinking, reasoning and problem solving.

In my laboratory, we investigate the neural circuits underlying decision-making. We measure and manipulate neurons in cortical and subcortical areas while animals make decisions about sensory signals. To connect the neural responses with behavior, we use mathematical analyses aimed at understanding what information is represented at the level of neural populations, both at a given moment and over time. Understanding neural population activity will bolster our long term goal: to determine how the brain can make decisions that integrate inputs from our multiple senses, stored memories and innate impulses.

September 2019

Screenshot 2018-06-01 16.48.42

Nature Neuroscience paper by Musall, Kaufman et al.

September 2019

Screenshot 2019-09-26 10.04.02

ELife paper by Juavinett et al. uses Neuropixels probes in freely moving mice

June 2019

file-20170926-19342-9i1adqAnne Churchland named Chair of Cold Spring Harbor Neuroscience

January 2019

cshlengelchurchland-e1549997136451-700x357James Roach joins the lab as a joint postdoc with Tatiana Engel on a BRAIN initiative project

October, 2018


Farzaneh Najafi is lead author on a decision-making review

April 2018

Simon Musall and Matt Kaufman co-author a  preprint on the biorxiv Screenshot 2018-06-01 16.48.42

March, 2018

Anne Urai, PhD, joins the lab as an International Brain Lab postdoc

December, 2017

Ashley Juavinett is first author on a paper about ethology in decision-making paper1

September 2017

The International Brain Laboratory is officially launched


Half a million mouse decisions analyzed in Kachi Odeomene’s paper on the biorxiv

June 2017

Graduate student Onyekachi Odeomene awarded a PhD! IMG_0124

May 2017

In a new paper, Licata et. al. manipulate decision sensitivity with optogenetics Figure3

November 2016

Matt Kaufman wins Postdoc Poster Prize at Labwide Symposium

August 2016

Postdoctoral fellow Ashley Juavinett joins the lab

July 2016

Anne Churchland & Roozbeh Kiani publish a paper on linking model to mechanism in decision making


May, 2016

Bioinformatics and Computational Neuroscience NSF-REU awarded (PI Churchland)

February, 2016

Anne Churchland & Larry Abbott co-author introduction to special Computational Neuroscience issue of Nature Neurosci. nn.4255-F1

August, 2015

Postdoctoral fellow Simon Musall joins the lab

July 2015

Watson School student Sashank Pisupati joins the lab

June 2015

Graduate student David Raposo accepts a job at Google DeepMind

March, 2015

Our numerosity paper is published in the Journal of Neurophysiology

March, 2015

Matt Kaufman is awarded a travel fellowship to attend the McKnight conference

February, 2015

Matt Kaufman is awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain

February, 2015

Kachi Odeomene is awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the National Eye Institute

December, 2014

Our decision-making paper is published in Nature Neuroscience

July, 2014

New lab members! Technicians Angela Licata & Hien Nguyen, Postdoctoral Fellow Farzaneh Najafi and Graduate Student Lital Chartarifsky.

June, 2014

Anne earns scholar awards from the Pew Charitable Trust and the Klingenstein-Simons Fund.

June, 2014

Hien Nguyen joins our lab as a laboratory technician.

June, 2014

Kachi and Anne’s Preview, “Listening for the Right Sounds,” is published in Neuron.

May, 2014

Research technician Michael Ryan to attend Neuroscience Graduate Program at University of California, San Francisco.

March, 2014

Anne is an invited speaker at the 2014 Cosyne meeting in Salt Lake City.