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Marina Garrett, Ph.D.

Assistant Investigator


Marina Garrett joined Shawn Olsen’s group at the Allen Institute to study the neural basis of perception and behavior. She received a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California San Diego. As a graduate student in Ed Callaway’s lab, her thesis work focused on characterizing the function and connectivity of the mouse visual cortex. Using a combination of retinotopic mapping with intrinsic signal imaging, in vivo two-photon calcium imaging, and retrograde viral tracing, she found that distinct higher visual areas encode unique combinations of spatiotemporal features and integrate information from diverse sources across the brain. These results support hypotheses about the potential behavioral roles of different pathways within the visual cortical network, which she will continue to explore at the Allen Institute. Her current work aims to increase our understanding of the computations underling cognitive phenomena by monitoring activity across neural populations during visually guided behavior.

Research Focus:

The dynamic interactions between the brain and the environment are the basis for sensory perception and adaptive behavior. I am interested in how neural circuits represent features of the environment, and how these representations change with experience. Currently, I am using in vivo two-photon imaging to investigate the relationship between neuronal responses and performance in an object discrimination task. I aim to understand how patterns of activity within and across distinct cortical areas are modulated by context, expectation, and learning.


  • In vivo imaging

  • Neuroanatomy

  • Mouse visual cortex

Research Programs

  • Neural Coding