As a biologist and a musician, I was drawn to neuroscience with the following question: how does the brain distill complex features in our sensory environment into abstractions and make predictions that guide our behavior? I think about this question while flipping fruit fly vials in the fly room, while singing with Stanford Chamber Chorale, and while talking with my advisors, Shaul Druckmann and Tom Clandinin.
We can predict future chord progression in music and estimate future positions of a ball traveling across the air. As such, prediction is a fundamental aspect of the brain that allows humans and other animals to interact efficiently with the dynamic world. I am studying how the brain predicts the trajectory of objects in its sensory environment using the visual system of the fruit fly. I believe that recurrent computation plays an important role in sensory predictions, and in particular, visual predictions in the fly. I use computational, molecular, and imaging techniques to study how recurrent computation gives rise to visual scene prediction.