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Matthew Lovett-Barron


My lab is interested in the flexibility of animal behavior, and understanding how nervous systems can adapt to different environmental, internal, and social contexts. We focus on the neurobiology of global brain states in individuals and collective decision making in groups, leveraging the unique advantages of two model systems – the juvenile zebrafish (Danio rerio) and adult glassfish (Danionella translucida).

We investigate internal states in juvenile zebrafish, by observing the behavior of these small transparent vertebrates across different internal states: sleepy vs. alert, hungry vs. sated, stressed vs. calm, etc. We use cellular-level optical imaging and manipulation of neural dynamics and biochemical signaling across the entire brain of these animals during state-dependent behaviors, in order to understand how multiple cellular changes across the brain produce global internal states, with a focus on neuromodulatory signaling pathways.

We also investigate group behaviors in the micro glassfish (Danionella translucida) – a species that remains small and transparent as adults and are capable of robust collective social behaviors. We engage these fish in interactive multi-agent virtual reality environments in order to understand how multiple individual brains collaborate to perform collective behaviors, with a focus on information sharing during anti-predator adaptations and consensus decision-making.

Select Publications

  • Lovett-Barron M, Chen R, Bradbury S, Andalman, AS Wagle M, Guo, S, and Deisseroth K (2020). Multiple convergent hypothalamus-brainstem circuits drive defensive behavior. Nature Neuroscience, doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0655-1. PMID: 32572237
  • Andalman AS, Burns VM, Lovett-Barron M, Broxton M, Poole B, Yang SJ, Grosenick L, Lerner TN, Chen R, Benster T, Mourrain P, Levoy M, Rajan K, and Deisseroth K. (2019). Neuronal dynamics regulating brain and behavioral state transitions. Cell, 177:, 970-985. PMID: 31031000
  • Lovett-Barron M, Andalman AS, Allen WE, Vesuna S, Kauvar I, Burns VM, and Deisseroth K (2017). Ancestral circuits for the coordinated modulation of brain state. Cell, 171: 1411–1423. PMID: 29103613
  • Tomer R, Lovett-Barron M, Kauvar I, Andalman A, Burns VM, Sankaran S, Grosenick L, Broxton M, Yang S, and Deisseroth K (2015). SPED light sheet microscopy: fast mapping of biological system structure and function. Cell, 163: 1796–1806. PMID: 26687363
  • Lovett-Barron M, Kaifosh P, Khierbek MA, Danielson N, Zaremba JM, Turi GF, Reardon TR, Hen R, Zemelman BV, and Losonczy A (2014). Dendritic Inhibition in the Hippocampus Supports Fear Learning. Science, 343: 857-863. PMID: 24558155
  • Kaifosh P, Lovett-Barron M, Turi GT, Reardon TR, and Losonczy A (2013). Septo-hippocampal GABAergic Signaling Across Multiple Modalities in Awake Mice. Nature Neuroscience, 16, 1182-1184. PMID: 23912949
  • Lovett-Barron M, Turi GT, Kaifosh P, Lee P, Bolze F, Sun X-H, Nicoud J-F, Zemelman BZ, Sternson SM, and Losonczy A (2012). Regulation of Neuronal Input Transformations by Tunable Dendritic Inhibition. Nature Neuroscience, 15: 423-430. PMID: 22246433


Matt Lovett-Barron obtained a BSc from Queen’s University in Canada, a PhD in Neurobiology from Columbia University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University with Karl Deisseroth. Matt is the recipient of the Donald B Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience from SfN for his PhD thesis, an HHMI postdoctoral fellowship from the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, and a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award from the NIMH.