Staff Profiles

Farzaneh Najafi, Ph.D.

Scientist II

Farzaneh joined the Allen Institute in 2019 to participate in the analysis of calcium imaging data collected by multiscopes during visual behavior. Multiscopes, developed in the Optical Physiology team of the Institute, allow for simultaneous imaging of neural activities from multiple cortical layers and cortical areas. Farzaneh's work focuses on leveraging these advanced imaging tools to study how distinct cell types in primary and secondary visual areas represent sensory-motor parameters during a visual task.

She received her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, in the lab of Javier Medina, and collaborated with Sam Wang at Princeton University. During Farzaneh's PhD research, she studied the cerebellar function underlying motor learning in mice. Next, she did her postdoc at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in the lab of Anne Churchland. There, Farzaneh studied how excitatory and inhibitory neurons in mouse Parietal cortex encode decision-making parameters, and leveraged her experimental data to constrain models of decision-making.


Research Interests

I am interested in studying the brain function in the context of behavior. Particularly, I am passionate about investigating how distinct cell types across different brain areas interact to encode sensory inputs, combine them with internal brain states, and generate motor outputs. Moreover, I am excited about understanding how the function of neural circuits is aletered in diseased states.​


  • Calcium imaging

  • Behavioral experiments

  • Data analysis

Research Programs

  • Optical Physiology

Selected Publications

Excitatory and inhibitory subnetworks are equally selective during decision-making and emerge simultaneously during learning

March 1, 2019

Najafi F, Elsayed GF, Cao R, Pnevmatikakis E, Latham PE, Cunningham J, Churchland AK

Perceptual Decision-making: a field in the midst of a transformation

October 24, 2018

Najafi F, Churchland AK

Cerebellar granule cells acquire a widespread predictive feedback signal during motor learning

Nature Neuroscience
March 20, 2017

Giovannucci A, Badura A, Deverett B, Najafi F, Pereira TD, Gao Z, Ozden I, Kloth AD, Pnevmatikakis E, Paninski L, De Zeeuw CI, Medina JF, Wang SS