Staff Profiles

Douglas Ollerenshaw, Ph.D.

Scientific Data Engineer III

Douglas Ollerenshaw joined the Allen Institute in 2013. As part of the neural coding team, he is investigating cortical function during visually guided behaviors with the goal of understanding how the visual circuit processes information during psychophysical tasks. Ollerenshaw earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in Atlanta, where he studied the behavioral and neurophysiological effects of sensory adaptation and decision making processes during sensory tasks in the vibrissa system of rats. This work involved a combination of whisker-based detection and discrimination tasks in the behaving rat, thalamic electrophysiology, and cortical imaging using voltage sensitive dyes. Prior to beginning his Ph.D., Ollerenshaw earned a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University, with his master's work in the area dynamics and controls.


Research Interests

Research Interests My research interests are focused on understanding how the brain uses sensory information to guide behavior and how that process is modified by the demands of a particular task. Our sensory systems are constantly bombarded with information, much of which is irrelevant to our current goals. I'm broadly interested in understanding how the brain modifies its coding strategies based on task demands. My research combines trained, visually guided tasks in the behaving mouse with recordings of neural activity and optogenetic manipulation of the visual circuitry. This will allow us to both measure and perturb activity in the circuit during behavior and to more precisely link behavioral processes with the underlying neural code.  


  • Systems Neuroscience
  • Psychophysics
  • Electrophysiology

Research Programs

  • Neural coding

Selected Publications

Survey of spiking in the mouse visual system reveals functional hierarchy

January 20, 2021

Siegle JH, Jia X, Durand S, Gale S, Bennett C, Graddis N, Heller G, Ramirez TK, Choi H, Luviano JA, Groblewski PA, Ahmed R, Arkhipov A, Bernard A, Billeh YN, Brown D, Buice MA, Cain N, Caldejon S, Casal L, Cho A, Chvilicek M, Cox TC, Dai K, Denman DJ, de Vries S., Dietzman R, Esposito L, Farrell C, Feng D, Galbraith J, Garrett M, Gelfand EC, Hancock N, Harris JA, Howard R, Hu B, Hytnen R, Iyer R, Jessett E, Johnson K, Kato I, Kiggins J, Lambert S, Lecoq J, Ledochowitsch P, Lee JH, Leon A, Li Y, Liang E, Long F, Mace K, Melchior J, Millman D, Mollenkopf T, Nayan C, Ng L, Ngo D, Nguyen T, Nicovich PR, North K, Ocker GK, Ollerenshaw D, Oliver M, Pachitariu M, Perkins J, Reding M, Reid D, Robertson M, Ronellenfitch K, Seid S, Slaughterbeck C, Stoecklin M, Sullivan D, Sutton B, Swapp J, Thompson C, Turner K, Wakeman W, Whitesell JD, Williams D, Williford A, Young R, Zeng H, Naylor S, Phillips JW, Reid RC, Mihalas S, Olsen SR, Koch C

Characterization of Learning, Motivation, and Visual Perception in Five Transgenic Mouse Lines Expressing GCaMP in Distinct Cell Populations

Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
June 23, 2020

Groblewski PA, Ollerenshaw DR, Kiggins JT, Garrett ME, Mochizuki C, Casal L, Cross S, Mace K, Swapp J, Manavi S, Williams D, Mihalas S, Olsen SR

Experience shapes activity dynamics and stimulus coding of VIP inhibitory and excitatory cells

February 26, 2020

Garrett M, Manavi S, Roll K, Ollerenshaw D, Groblewski P, Kiggins J, Jia X, Casal L, Mace K, Williford A, Leon A, Mihalas S, Olsen SR