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Nuno Maçarico da Costa, Ph.D.

Associate Investigator


Nuno Maçarico da Costa joined the Allen Institute in 2013 as an Assistant Investigator in the Neural Coding department. He leads the Network Anatomy group in its efforts map the wiring diagram of the mouse neocortex and its functional connectivity. Nuno graduated in Biology from the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon.  Afterwards he moved north to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he studied the interactions between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in rats. After this period with the charming Danes, Nuno returned to Portugal and joined the Doctoral Program in Biology and Medicine of the Gulbenkian Foundation. He performed his doctoral research in the Institute of Neuroinformatics in Zurich and obtained a PhD degree in Natural Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. During his PhD he described the fine structural detail of the thalamocortical pathway to cat visual cortex using light and electron correlated microscopy. He stayed in Zurich as a post-doc fellow and later as a Junior Group Leader investigating the network anatomy of the neocortex in several mammalian species.

Research Focus:

Every thought, every idea, every memory, every decision, and every action we make, arises from the activity of neurons in our brains. Of all brain structures, the neocortex, is arguably the most critical structure that makes us human, however “Our ignorance is such that, even today, to a question so important and yet so simple as the general connections of nerve cells, science does not have an answer for the more or less probable hypotheses”(Ramon y Cajal, 1891). My current research focus on describing the wiring diagram of the mouse primary visual cortex and investigating the computations implemented by its architecture. I am interested in how conserved is the architecture over different cortical areas and species, how general are its operations and how these operations finally translate to behavior. To answer these questions we are using state of the art light and electron microscopy techniques combined with the power of genetics of the mouse animal model.


  • Neuroanatomy

  • in vivo electrophysiology

  • Light and electron correlated microscopy

Research Programs

  • Neural Coding

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