Robert Desimone

Robert Desimone
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | MIT · McGovern Institute for Brain Research and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Ph.D.

About

232
Publications
49,060
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
54,337
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2004 - present
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Publications

Publications (232)
Article
Full-text available
The lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) of primates plays an important role in executive control, but how it interacts with the rest of the cortex remains unclear. To address this, we densely mapped the cortical connectome of LPFC, using electrical microstimulation combined with functional MRI (EM-fMRI). We found isomorphic mappings between LPFC and f...
Article
Full-text available
Parkinson's disease is characterized by decreased dopamine and increased beta-band oscillatory activity accompanying debilitating motor and mood impairments. Coordinate dopamine-beta opposition is considered a normative rule for basal ganglia function. We report a breakdown of this rule. We developed multimodal systems allowing the first simultaneo...
Article
2020 Elsevier Inc. Optogenetics is among the most widely employed techniques to manipulate neuronal activity. However, a major drawback is the need for invasive implantation of optical fibers. To develop a minimally invasive optogenetic method that overcomes this challenge, we engineered a new step-function opsin with ultra-high light sensitivity (...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal communication in animals often involves taking turns vocalizing. In humans, turn-taking is a fundamental rule in conversation. Among non-human primates, the common marmoset is known to engage in antiphonal calling using phee calls and trill calls. Calls of the trill type are the most common, yet difficult to study, because they are not very l...
Article
Optogenetics is among the most widely employed techniques to manipulate neuronal activity. However, a major drawback is the need for invasive implantation of optical fibers. To develop a minimally invasive optogenetic method that overcomes this challenge, we engineered a new step-function opsin with ultra-high light sensitivity (SOUL). We show that...
Preprint
Full-text available
Vocal communication in animals often involves taking turns vocalizing. In humans, turn taking is a fundamental rule in conversation. Among non-human primates, the common marmoset is known to engage in antiphonal calling using phee calls and trill calls. Calls of the trill type are the most common, yet difficult to study, because they are not very l...
Article
Full-text available
When searching for an object in a cluttered scene, we can use our memory of the target object features to guide our search, and the responses of neurons in multiple cortical visual areas are enhanced when their receptive field contains a stimulus sharing target object features. Here we tested the role of the ventral prearcuate region (VPA) of prefr...
Article
Decreases in alpha synchronization are correlated with enhanced attention, whereas alpha increases are correlated with inattention. However, correlation is not causality, and synchronization may be a byproduct of attention rather than a cause. To test for a causal role of alpha synchrony in attention, we used MEG neurofeedback to train subjects to...
Article
Full-text available
Mutation or disruption of the SH3 and ankyrin repeat domains 3 (SHANK3) gene represents a highly penetrant, monogenic risk factor for autism spectrum disorder, and is a cause of Phelan–McDermid syndrome. Recent advances in gene editing have enabled the creation of genetically engineered non-human-primate models, which might better approximate the b...
Article
This paper introduces an end-to-end feedforward convolutional neural network that is able to reliably classify the source and type of animal calls in a noisy environment using two streams of audio data after being trained on a dataset of modest size and imperfect labels. The data consists of audio recordings from captive marmoset monkeys housed in...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce an end-to-end feedforward convolutional neural network that is able to reliably classify the source and type of animal calls in a noisy environment using two streams of audio data after being trained on a dataset of modest size and imperfect labels. The data consists of audio recordings from captive marmoset monkeys housed in pairs, wi...
Article
Musical training confers advantages in speech-sound processing, which could play an important role in early childhood education. To understand the mechanisms of this effect, we used event-related potential and behavioral measures in a longitudinal design. Seventy-four Mandarin-speaking children aged 4-5 y old were pseudorandomly assigned to piano t...
Article
Attention can be “covertly” directed without eye movements; yet, even during fixation, there are continuous microsaccades (MSs). In areas V4 and IT of macaques, we found that firing rates and stimulus representations were enhanced by attention but only following a MS toward the attended stimulus. The onset of neural attentional modulations was tigh...
Article
Several series of near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent proteins (FPs) were recently engineered from bacterial phytochromes but were not systematically compared in neurons. To fluoresce, NIR FPs utilize an enzymatic derivative of heme, the linear tetrapyrrole biliverdin, as a chromophore whose level in neurons is poorly studied. Here, we evaluated NIR FP...
Article
This protocol describes a large-volume illuminator, which was developed for optogenetic manipulations in the non-human primate brain. The illuminator is a modified plastic optical fiber with etched tip, such that the light emitting surface area is > 100x that of a conventional fiber. In addition to describing the construction of the large-volume il...
Article
Full-text available
A large body of previous neuroimaging studies suggests that multiple languages are processed and organized in a single neuroanatomical system in the bilingual brain, although differential activation may be seen in some studies because of different proficiency levels and/or age of acquisition of the two languages. However, one important possibility...
Article
Objective: Neural reflexes establish homeostasis and regulate the immune system. Advances in bioelectronic medicine indicate that electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve can be used to treat inflammatory disease, yet the understanding of neural signals that regulate inflammation is incomplete. Current interfaces with the vagus nerve do not permi...
Article
Optogenetic methods have been highly effective for suppressing neural activity and modulating behavior in rodents, but effects have been much smaller in primates, which have much larger brains. Here, we present a suite of technologies to use optogenetics effectively in primates and apply these tools to a classic question in oculomotor control. Firs...
Article
Optogenetic methods have been highly effective for suppressing neural activity and modulating behavior in rodents, but effects have been much smaller in primates, which have much larger brains. Here, we present a suite of technologies to use optogenetics effectively in primates and apply these tools to a classic question in oculomotor control. Firs...
Article
Full-text available
Cognition requires the dynamic modulation of effective connectivity, i.e., the modulation of the postsynaptic neuronal response to a given input. If postsynaptic neurons are rhythmically active, this might entail rhythmic gain modulation, such that inputs synchronized to phases of high gain benefit from enhanced effective connectivity. We show that...
Article
We combined tACS with MEG recordings to directly test the causal role of local alpha oscillations in visual spatial attention. After stimulating occipital cortex in one hemisphere for 15min we used evoked responses to evaluate the effects of alpha entrainment on the attentional weighting of visual input (dot probes). Our data describe in detail the...
Article
Molecular genetic tools have had a profound impact on neuroscience, but until recently their application has largely been confined to a few model species, most notably mouse, zebrafish, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. With the development of new genome engineering technologies such as CRISPR, it is becoming increasingly feasible...
Article
Full-text available
Expansion microscopy (ExM) enables imaging of preserved specimens with nanoscale precision on diffraction-limited instead of specialized super-resolution microscopes. ExM works by physically separating fluorescent probes after anchoring them to a swellable gel. The first ExM method did not result in the retention of native proteins in the gel and r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cognition requires the dynamic modulation of effective connectivity, i.e. the modulation of the postsynaptic neuronal response to a given input. If postsynaptic neurons are rhythmically active, this might entail rhythmic gain modulation, such that inputs synchronized to phases of high gain benefit from enhanced effective connectivity. We show that...
Article
The ventro-lateral pulvinar is reciprocally connected with the visual areas of the ventral stream that are important for object recognition. To understand the mechanisms of attentive stimulus processing in this pulvinar-cortex loop, we investigated the interactions between the pulvinar, area V4, and IT cortex in a spatial-attention task. Sensory pr...
Article
Full-text available
In cluttered scenes, we can use feature-based attention to quickly locate a target object. To understand how feature attention is used to find and select objects for action, we focused on the ventral prearcuate (VPA) region of prefrontal cortex. In a visual search task, VPA cells responded selectively to search cues, maintained their feature select...
Article
Full-text available
In primates, visual stimuli with social and emotional content tend to attract attention. Attention might be captured through rapid, automatic, subcortical processing or guided by slower, more voluntary cortical processing. Here we examined whether irrelevant faces with varied emotional expressions interfere with a covert attention task in macaque m...
Article
Characterizing the functional organization of visual cortex is a fundamental step in understanding how visual information is processed in the brain. Despite a century's effort to map visual cortical areas, there has been no comprehensive parcellation scheme for the entire visual cortex in the human brain. Here we used functional MRI and developed a...
Data
Full-text available
When a sensory stimulus repeats, neuronal firing rate and functional MRI blood oxygen level-dependent responses typically decline, yet perception and behavioral performance either stay constant or improve. An additional aspect of neuronal activity is neuronal synchronization, which can enhance the impact of neurons onto their postsynaptic targets i...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely held that the frontal eye field (FEF) in prefrontal cortex (PFC) modulates processing in visual cortex with attention, although the evidence that it is necessary is equivocal. To help identify critical sources of attentional feedback to area V4, we surgically removed the entire lateral PFC, including the FEF, in one hemisphere and tran...
Article
To investigate the subcortical efferent connections of visual area V2, we injected tritiated amino acids under electrophysiological control into 15 V2 sites in 14 macaques. The injection sites included the fovea representation as well as representations ranging from central to far peripheral eccentricities in both the upper and lower visual fields....
Article
Full-text available
The claustrum is a surprisingly large, sheet-like neuronal structure hidden beneath the inner surface of the neocortex. We found that the portions of the claustrum connected with V4 appear to overlap considerably with those portions connected with other cortical visual areas, including V1, V2, MT, MST and FST, TEO and TE. We found extensive recipro...
Article
Full-text available
How we attend to objects and their features that cannot be separated by location is not understood. We presented two temporally and spatially overlapping streams of objects, faces versus houses, and used magnetoencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to separate neuronal responses to attended and unattended objects. Attention to f...
Article
Full-text available
When a sensory stimulus repeats, neuronal firing rate and functional MRI blood oxygen level-dependent responses typically decline, yet perception and behavioral performance either stay constant or improve. An additional aspect of neuronal activity is neuronal synchronization, which can enhance the impact of neurons onto their postsynaptic targets i...
Article
We investigated the effect of microstimulation of the superficial layers of the superior colliculus (SC) on the performance of animals in a peripheral detection paradigm while maintaining fixation. In a matching-to-sample paradigm, a sample stimulus was presented at one location followed by a brief test stimulus at that (relevant) location and a di...
Article
Selective visual attention is subserved by selective neuronal synchronization, entailing precise orchestration among excitatory and inhibitory cells. We tentatively identified these as broad (BS) and narrow spiking (NS) cells and analyzed their synchronization to the local field potential in two macaque monkeys performing a selective visual attenti...
Article
Area V4 has numerous, topographically organized connections with multiple cortical areas, some of which are important for spatially organized visual processing, and others which seem important for spatial attention. Although the topographic organization of V4's connections with other cortical areas has been established, the detailed topography of i...
Article
Groups of neurons tend to synchronize in distinct frequency bands. Within a given frequency band, synchronization is defined as the consistency of phase relations between site pairs, over time. This synchronization has been investigated in numerous studies and has been found to be modulated by sensory stimulation or cognitive conditions. Here, we i...
Article
Full-text available
Many experiments in neuroscience have compared the strength of association between neural spike trains and rhythms present in local field potential (LFP) recordings. The measure employed in these comparisons, “spike-field coherence”, is a frequency dependent measure of linear association, and is shown to depend on overall neural activity (Lepage et...
Article
Full-text available
Shifts of gaze and shifts of attention are closely linked and it is debated whether they result from the same neural mechanisms. Both processes involve the frontal eye fields (FEF), an area which is also a source of top-down feedback to area V4 during covert attention. To test the relative contributions of oculomotor and attention-related FEF signa...
Article
When we search for a target in a crowded visual scene, we often use the distinguishing features of the target, such as color or shape, to guide our attention and eye movements. To investigate the neural mechanisms of feature-based attention, we simultaneously recorded neural responses in the frontal eye field (FEF) and area V4 while monkeys perform...
Article
Full-text available
Attention to a stimulus enhances both neuronal responses and gamma frequency synchrony in visual area V4, both of which should increase the impact of attended information on downstream neurons. To determine whether gamma synchrony is common throughout the ventral stream, we recorded from neurons in the superficial and deep layers of V1, V2, and V4...
Article
It has been known that monkeys will repeatedly press a bar for electrical stimulation in several different brain structures. We explored the possibility of using electrical stimulation in one such structure, the nucleus accumbens, as a substitute for liquid reward in animals performing a complex task, namely visual search. The animals had full acce...
Article
Full-text available
Recognizing objects in cluttered scenes requires attentional mechanisms to filter out distracting information. Previous studies have found several physiological correlates of attention in visual cortex, including larger responses for attended objects. However, it has been unclear whether these attention-related changes have a large impact on inform...
Article
Full-text available
Technologies for silencing the electrical activity of genetically targeted neurons in the brain are important for assessing the contribution of specific cell types and pathways toward behaviors and pathologies. Recently we found that archaerhodopsin-3 from Halorubrum sodomense (Arch), a light-driven outward proton pump, when genetically expressed i...
Article
Full-text available
Physiological studies have shown that neural activity in area V4 can be modulated by changes in the behavioral relevance of a stimulus. These studies suggest that extrastriate cortex may represent a stage in visual processing where 'top-down' attentional inputs can influence the representation of bottom-up stimulus information. To examine the role...
Article
Even during a simple popout search task, monkeys like humans are affected by trial-to-trial changes in stimulus features, as well as changes in target location. We investigated the neuronal mechanisms underlying such sequential effects, generally referred to as perceptual priming. We recorded from neurons in the frontal eye field (FEF) of monkeys p...
Book
Full-text available
This chapter reviews the concept of dynamic coordination, its mechanistic implementation in brain circuits, and the extent to which dynamic coordination, and specific manifestations of it, have the power to account for functions performed by interacting brain systems. In our discussions, we addressed how on-the- y changes in coupling between neural...
Article
Full-text available
The visual processing of behaviorally relevant stimuli is enhanced through top-down attentional feedback. One possibility is that feedback targets early visual areas first and the attentional enhancement builds up at progressively later stages of the visual hierarchy. An alternative possibility is that the feedback targets the higher-order areas fi...
Article
Full-text available
Rhythms occur both in neuronal activity and in behavior. Behavioral rhythms abound at frequencies at or below 10 Hz. Neuronal rhythms cover a very wide frequency range, and the phase of neuronal low-frequency rhythms often rhythmically modulates the strength of higher-frequency rhythms, particularly of gamma-band synchronization (GBS). Here, we stu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A complex visual scene will typically contain many different objects, few of which are currently relevant to behavior. Thus, attentional mechanisms are needed to select the relevant objects from the scene and to reject the irrelevant ones. Neurophysiological studies in monkeys have identified some of the neural mechanisms of attentional selection w...
Article
Full-text available
Electrical recordings in humans and monkeys show attentional enhancement of evoked responses and gamma synchrony in ventral stream cortical areas. Does this synchrony result from intrinsic activity in visual cortex or from inputs from other structures? Using paired recordings in the frontal eye field (FEF) and area V4, we found that attention to a...