Staff Profiles

Nick Ponvert, Ph.D.

Scientist I

Nick Ponvert joined neural coding team at the Allen Institute to study the neural basis of behavior. As a graduate student in Santiago Jaramillo’s lab, his thesis work focused on the role of cortical and subcortical auditory pathways in sound-guided behavior. Using a combination of high-throughput behavioral training, targeted inactivations, viral labeling, and pathway-specific extracellular electrophysiology, Nick found that parallel cortical and thalamic projections to task-relevant downstream regions convey complementary information about features of sound. His current work aims to investigate the cortical and subcortical computations underlying the ability to compare and categorize complex images and natural scenes by monitoring populations of neurons as animals learn and perform visually-guided behaviors.

Nick received his B.S. in Marine Biology from Humboldt State University and his Ph.D. in Biology from University of Oregon.


Research Interests

I am interested in understanding the neural pathways and computations underlying the ability to assign meaning to complex sensory stimuli. I am excited about using the standardized, high-throughput behavioral training platform to train animals to perform tasks that require comparison and categorization of complex stimuli and natural images, and then using the platforms for optical physiology and extracellular electrophysiology to track the activity of populations of neurons over multiple behavioral sessions. I aim to understand how representations of visual stimuli change across cortical layers and different visual areas, and also how representations of stimuli are affected by task engagement and experience.


  • High-throughput mouse behavior 
  • Extracellular electrophysiology

Research Programs

  • Neural Coding