Dr Clarissa Whitmire: Neural encoding of sensory information

The Whitmire lab is largely driven by the concept that perception is a construct. The internal representation of the outside world is built on the ‘neural code’. While we often model the neural code as a linear mapping from stimulus to spikes, it is actually extremely complicated and nonlinear even very early in the sensory pathway. Using a combination of experimental paradigms and computational models, we investigate how somatosensory information is encoded at each stage of the neuraxis from the skin to the cortex with a particular focus on the dynamic role of the thalamus./p>

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Researcher biography

Dr. Whitmire is a group leader at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and a senior lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at The University of Queensland (UQ). She is a leading expert in understanding how sensory information is represented along the neuraxis from the neurons in the skin that sense external stimuli to the central representation in the thalamocortical circuit. She operates at the interface of neuroscience and engineering to generate novel insights into information representation in the brain. Her laboratory uses a combination of tools to record from populations of neurons, manipulate the activity of those neurons, and model the underlying neural circuitry. Dr. Whitmire trained as a Biomedical Engineer at North Carolina State University (B. S.) and Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory Universty (Ph.D.). Following postdoctoral work at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, she established her own laboratory at The University of Queensland in 2023.