Margolis Lab

Latest News

November 2018
Elena and Alex present posters at Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego

November 2018
Preprint submitted to bioRxiv: Optogenetic and transcriptomic interrogation of enhanced muscle function in the paralyzed mouse whisker pad. Well done Tom, Akhil, Aman, Chris, and collaborators Mavis and Ron!!

October 2018
Preprint submitted to bioRxiv on Opposing influence of sensory and motor cortex on striatal circuitry and choice behavior. Great work Chris, Alex, Joost, and collaborators Drs. Tepper and Parasiso!

Fall 2018
Dr. Margolis presents seminars at Queretaro, Mexico and Ann Arbor, Michigan

September 2018
Dr. Margolis becomes Associate Editor at Science Advances.

August 2018
Dr. Margolis presents work at UW in Seattle! Go dawgs.

June 2018
Welcome Ben and Josh, Aresty and NeuroSURP students, and welcome back Wahhaj for the summmer

May 2018
Collaborative work pubished in Biomedical Optics Express on decoding cortical brain states from widefield calcium imaging data using visibility graph with Li Zhu, Christian Lee and Laleh Najafizadeh

February 2018
Dr Margolis presents work on optogenetic muscle stimulation at Photonics West

Collaborative work with Longjun Wu's lab in Cell Reports!

November 2017
Christian Lee presents poster at SfN in Washington DC. Exciting project!

September 2017
Neuroscience PhD student Alex Yonk begins. Welcome Alex!

Summer 2017
students generate fantastic optogenetic and behavior data!

June 2017
Summer students start! Aastha, Margish, Jen, Neeha

May 2017
MargolisLab students accepted to summer programs: Ridhima to Rurtgesr WinLab; Marissa to Georgia Tech REU; Hill to Pitt REU; Sydney heads to Brown for masters in physics

Two abstracts submitted to Society for Neurosciecne meeting in November in Washington D.C.

Pul begins MD/PhD rotation

Joost Wiskerke begins postdoctoral research! That the last name contains "wisker" is only fitting for a barrel cortex lab.

April 2017
Dr. Margolis presents at Cold Spring Harbor Lab's Wiring the Brain meeting

Jennifer Feng awarded SURF fellowship for summer research!

December 2016
Dr. Margolis presents at the Brain Health Institute annual symposium

November 2016
Chris' paper published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

Dr. Margolis presents optogenetic whisker movement results at the Barrels XXV meeting at USC

September 2016
MargolisLab alumnus Eli Wang starts PhD program at Stanford

July 2016
Chris Lee submits paper! (Lee, Margolis).

Dr. Margolis awarded grant from NJ Commission on Brain Injury Research in collaboration with Dr. Najafizadeh and Dr. Alder.

June 2016
Park et al. paper published in Elife! using optogenetics to control whisker movements in mice

Summer begins - welcome Hill Chang, Aman Upadhyay, Ali Naghizadeh, Ridhima Sakhuja! pic.

May 2016
Dr. Margolis awarded NIH R01 from NINDS

April 2016
Juhi awarded Rutgers SURF fellowship for summer research.

Juhi Farooqui presents Aresty poster.

March 2016
Dr. Margolis becomes Editorial Board member of ScienceMatters.

January 2016
Sunmee Park submits paper! (Park, Bandi, Lee, Margolis).

Stephen Petrides and Fizza Fahim join the lab as undergraduate researchers.

Tom Vajtay joins the lab as a technician.

Dr. Margolis and Dr. James Tepper (Newark) awarded Brain Health Institute pilot grant.

September 2015
Juhi Farooqui begins Aresty RA research.

August 2015
Marissa Delrocini presents Aresty summer research.

Akhil Bandi presents research poster at the Molecular Biosciences orientation on Busch campus.

July 2015
Marissa Delrocini joins the lab as a summer Aresty researcher.

Billy Jeon and Aseem Utrankar (JP Stevens High School) join the lab as summer students.

June 2015
Chen, Margolis et al. Nature Neuroscience paper published.

April 2015
Candice presents CBN Honors thesis work.

Aleta Murphy, Jeremy Savarin, and Candice present Aresty research posters.

February 2015
Dr. Margolis becomes Associate Editor of Frontiers in Neural Circuits.

January 2015
Candice Mazon earns Aresty research funds.

Jeffrey Wu begins as work study student

November 2014
Christian Lee presents poster at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Wash DC.

September 2014
Caroline Pantazis begins Neuroscience PhD rotation.

August 2014
Eli Wang presents Aresty Summer poster.

June 2014
Eli Wang begins Aresty Summer research program.

Jeremy Savarin and Aleta Murphy join the lab as 2014-15 Aresty RAs.

Akhil Bandi joins the lab as an undergraduate researcher.

April 2014
Sunmee Park from Brown University joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Associate .

Lynn Ma presents Aresty RA poster.

January 2014
Valentina Dal Pozzo begins Neuroscience PhD rotation .

December 2013
Dr. Margolis awarded Whitehall Foundation 3-year Research Grant.

Geetika and Envision Rutgers win national 2013 BE VITAL Challenge!

September 2013
Candice Mazon and Geetika Baghel begin undergraduate research.

Lynn Ma starts Aresty RA research.

Camille McNally begins Neuroscience PhD rotation.

Dr. Margolis becomes Editorial Board member of Scientific Reports.

August 2013
Dr. Margolis named NARSAD Young Investigator by Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

July 2013
Visit from Adrian Cheng and Josh Trachtenberg.

Dr. Margolis awarded Rutgers Busch Biomedical Research Grant.

June 2013
Lynn Ma and Mita Ghude join for the summer

April 2013
Dr. Margolis and Dr. Tim Otto (Psychology) comment on the BRAIN initiative.

Christian Lee from NYU joins the lab as a Research Associate.

Margolis Lab renovations complete.

Current Research

Visualizing long-term circuit plasticity

Changes in neural circuit activity play a critical role in many aspects of nervous system function throughout life, from development to learning and the progression of disease. We study how neural circuits of the mouse neocortex encode the sensory environment, and how the rules of encoding undergo plasticity during altered sensory experience. We use chronic in vivo imaging techniques to measure functional changes of both large-scale activity maps and the underlying local neuronal populations. Two-photon imaging of neurons expressing genetically encoded activity sensors allows us to repeatedly measure activity of the exact same neurons over days and weeks as plasticity takes place. Defining the logic of functional plasticity within cortical circuits has implications for understanding how the brain changes under pathological conditions and for identifying cellular targets to enhance functional recovery.

We are interested in:

  • The roles of genetically and anatomically defined types of cortical neurons in sensory processing and plasticity. What are the relative contributions of excitatory and inhibitory neurons to the expression of plasticity? Do microcircuits of excitatory neurons undergo specific forms of plasticity depending on their axonal projection targets?
  • Effects of learning on sensory and sensorimotor processing. Do learning and sensory deprivation impact ensemble activity by similar mechanisms? How is local and large-scale neural circuit activity modified over weeks during the transition from learning to memory to forgetting? We approach these questions by training mice to learn and perform simple behaviors during imaging.
  • Alteration of neuronal circuit function by injury and disease. Based on knowledge gained in ongoing work, we hope to test predictions of the effects of injury and disease on specific aspects of neuronal circuit function.

Chronic in vivo imaging of neuronal ensembles

Neurons in mouse neocortex expressing a genetically encoded activity sensor (Right) imaged through a chronic cranial window (Left). Field of view marked by square.


Get paper pdfs in our shared dropbox.

Our Team

Margolis Lab members

Dr. David Margolis

Dr. Margolis studied neuroscience at Brown University and earned a PhD in Neurobiology & Behavior at the University of Washington, Seattle. After a postdoc at the Brain Research Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, David started the Margolis Lab at Rutgers in 2013.

Dr. Christian Lee

Dr. Lee studied Psychology and Biology at Rutgers College and obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from Rutgers, Newark. Chris joined the lab after postdoctoral research at NYU School of Medicine. A list of Chris’s publications is here.

Dr. Elena Bibineyshvili

Dr. Bibineyshvili is postdoctoral researcher studying neural responses to traumatic brain injury. Elena joined the lab in 2016 after obtaining her PhD in Biophysics from Moscow State University in Russia.

Dr. Joost Wiskerke

Dr. Wiskerke is postdoctoral researcher studying neural circuits involved in sensory learning in mice. Joost joined the lab in 2017 after postdoctoral work at Princeton and Rutgers, and before that, obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from VU University in the Netherlands.

Akhil Bandi

Akhil is a senior, double majoring in Cell Biology & Neuroscience as well as English Literature. His goal is to attend medical school and pursue an MD/PhD. Akhil also tutors biology and chemistry for the Rutgers Athletic Department and enjoys swimming in his free time.

Thomas Vajtay

Tom is a sophomore majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He previously graduated from Rider University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Economics. His capstone project at Rider tested circadian rhythms in mice.

Marissa DelRocini

Marissa is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biological Sciences. Her goal is to go to graduate school to specialize in biomedical engineering. Marissa also teaches physics and mechanics classes for the Rutgers Learning Centers and enjoys drawing in her spare time.

Ridhima Sakhuja

Ridhima is a junior majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and studies optogenetically evoked whisker movements.

Hill Chang

Hill is a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering, and studies optogenetically evoked whisker movements.

Fizza Fahim

Fizza is a sophomore Biological Sciences major.

Pul Park

Pul is an MD/PhD student at Rutgers/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Pul's summer rotation project uses two-photon imaging to ivestigate cortical coding of active touch.

Aastha Suvarnakar

Aastha is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering, and a summer Aresty student studying optogenetic muscle and nerve stimulation.

Neeha Pathan

Neeha is a sophomore majoring in Cell Biology & Neuroscience and Psychology, and studying neural circuits involved in sensory learning.

Jennifer Fang

Jennifer is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology. Jen's SURF project uses two-photon imaging to investigate cortical coding of active touch.

Margish Ramani

Margish is a summer SURP student majoring in Neuroscience at NYU. He is studying optogenetic muscle and nerve stimulation.

Lab Alumni: Lynn Ma (Peace Corps), Lauren Burton (med. school, Chi), Geetika Baghel (RWJMS Med.), Candice Mazon (Drexel Med.), Aleta Murphy (RU), Jeremy Savarin (RU), Elias Wang (Cornell; Stanford EE), Billy Jeon (Rice), Aseem Utrankar (JP Stevens HS), Dr. Sunmee Park (Rutgers, Psych), Jeffrey Wu (Rutgers, Genetics), Juhi Farooqui (UW postbac), Stephen Petrides, webpage, Rutgers), Aman Upadhyay (Rutgers Neuroscience graduate program), Sydney Terris (Brown University, Physics)

Contact Us

david (dot) margolis (at) rutgers (dot) edu

Nelson B243
604 Allison Rd
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854