Casey Schneider-Mizell, Ph.D.
Casey is a Scientist II in the Neural Coding group of the Institute for Brain Science, working with Clay Reid and Nuno da Costa to understand the structure of cortex at synaptic resolution. He did his postdoctoral work in the lab of Albert Cardona, first at the Institute for Neuroinformatics in Zürich and then at HHMI Janelia Research Campus outside of Washington, DC. Within a tight collaboration between the Cardona lab and Marta Zlatic’s group, also at Janelia, he worked on combining large scale electron microscopy, functional experiments, and computational analysis and modeling to understand the neural basis of behavior in the compact nervous system of Drosophila larva.
Before developing a focus on questions in neuroscience, he received his BS in physics and mathematics at the University of Washington in Seattle and continued to a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Casey's graduate research with Len Sander spanned diverse topics in physics and complex systems, including stochastic processes on networks, adult neurogenesis, and cancer cell motility.
The brain’s ability to process information, build representations of the world, and make behavioral decisions depends on the highly structured interactions between neurons. Completely mapping the synaptic connectivity supporting these interactions requires large volumes of neurons to be imaged at nanometer resolution with electron microscopy (EM). At the Allen Institute, my work focuses on analyzing the rich neuroanatomical and synaptic information contained in millimeter-scale EM volumes in order to discover the rules of synaptic connectivity in mammalian cortex and how they relate to cell types, functional properties, and circuit computations. I am particularly interested in how inhibitory networks contextually control neuronal circuit activity.