Gonzalez, Walter, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology

Assistant Professor, UCSF School of Medicine
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Freeman Hrabowski Scholar
Ph.D. Chemistry, Florida International University
B.A. Physics, Florida International University

Neurological disorders are estimated to affect a billion people and cause approximately 12 % of all deaths worldwide. Consequently, there is a significant need to develop a fundamental knowledge of how neuronal activity controls behavior and how neurological disorders affect the activity of distributed neuronal networks. Recent technical innovations have provided opportunities to record large-scale neuronal activity at the single-neuron level. Applying these technologies to investigate neuronal computation in multiple brain areas in behaving animals will reveal fundamental insight into novel mechanisms by which the brain processes information.  Research in my laboratory will focus on deciphering the computations performed by distributed networks of neurons. We have developed platforms to record neuronal activity in multiple brain areas in freely moving or head-fixed mice and songbirds. In the future, we will employ these platforms to develop a framework that describes how learned motor behaviors persist over time and adapt to overcome aging and disease. We are particularly interested in how the brain processes information during online (error correction) and offline periods (sleep), as well as during changes in cognitive demands and disease.


Project 1. What is the role of sleep in the maintenance of information encoded by networks of neurons? 

Project 2. How do social demands affect computation by distributed networks of neurons? 

Project 3. How do distributed neuronal networks reorganize to recover from ischemic lesions?