Dan O'Connor,PHD

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Brain Science Institute

Specialization: Neural circuits for touch perception


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

855 N. Wolfe Street

Rangos 288

Baltimore, MD 21205



O'Connor Lab

How do neural circuit dynamics give rise to our sensory experience of the world? We work to answer this question by taking advantage of the fact that key architectural features of the mammalian brain are similar across species. This allows us to leverage the power of mouse genetics to monitor and manipulate genetically and functionally defined neural circuits during perception.

We train mice to perform simple perceptual tasks. By using quantitative behavior, optogenetic and chemical-genetic gain- and loss-of-function perturbations, in vivo two-photon imaging, and electrophysiology, we assemble a description of the relationship between neural circuit function and perception. We work in the mouse tactile system to capitalize on an accessible mammalian circuit with a precise mapping between the sensory periphery and multiple brain areas. We investigate neural coding and circuit dynamics at levels ranging from sensory receptors to cortex.


To advance neuroscience discovery by uniting neuroscience, engineering and computational data science to understand the structure and function of the brain.