Skip to main content
headshot for marina garrett assistant investigator allen institute for neural dynamics

Marina Garrett, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator


Marina joined the Allen Institute as a Scientist in 2014 and has contributed to the development and evolution of the Allen Brain Observatory. In her initial work as part of Shawn Olsen’s team, she designed and conducted experiments combining in vivo 2-photon imaging with visually guided behavioral tasks to evaluate feasibility for incorporation into the Allen Brain Observatory pipeline. Results from this work demonstrated that VIP inhibitory neurons are strongly modulated by stimulus novelty.

As a co-lead of the Visual Behavior 2P project, she helped to coordinate the efforts of a multi-disciplinary team to produce a large-scale standardized dataset that allows investigation of the influence of experience, expectation, and task engagement on neural activity in excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the visual cortex ( A key discovery resulting from this dataset is that novelty uncovers functional diversity within visual cortical circuits.

In her current role as an Assistant Investigator, Marina leads a team of scientists and engineers that work collaboratively to design, curate, analyze, interpret, and share neurophysiological datasets. Current efforts are aimed at experiments combining longitudinal 2-photon calcium imaging during learning with spatial transcriptomics to map the function of genetically defined cell types.

Prior to joining the Allen Institute, Marina received her PhD from UCSD. Her graduate work in Ed Callaway’s lab at the Salk Institute investigated the functional organization of the mouse visual cortex through a combination of 2-photon calcium imaging, intrinsic signal imaging, and viral tracing.

Science Programs at Allen Institute