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Gary Marsat, PhD – Assistant Professor


4212 Life Sciences Building


Biology; Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute

Graduate Training

McGill University, PhD in Biology, 2007


Center for Neural Dynamics and Department of Cellular & Molucular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 2007-2009; Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Department of Physics, University of Ottawa, 2009-2012


Marsat Lab

Google Scholar

Research Interests

“What’s the neural code, what mechanism does it rely on and how does it participate
in behavioral fitness” The nervous system can be divided in three levels: sensory
areas (the input side), motor areas (the output side) and higher functions (such
as decision making). A central theme in neuroscience is to relate the sensory input
to the behavioral output. An important task in this endeavor is to understand how
sensory signal are first encoded by the nervous system. Relevant signals must be
be encoded efficiently and the information carried to higher brain areas in a format
most appropriate for further processing. Our main interest is to understand how
nervous systems perform this task, in other words how sensory signals are transformed
by the nervous system to ultimately produce the appropriate behavior. We use a
combination of in vivo electrophysiology, computational neuroscience tools, behavioral
assays, histology, imaging and pharmacological manipulations. The research in our
lab is at the intersection of three connected areas of neuroscience: Systems Neuroscience,
Computational Neuroscience and Neuroethology.

Lab Personnel

Kate Allen

PhD Student

Graduate Assistant

Department of Biology


Daniel Williamson

MSc Student

Graduate Assistant

Department of Biology


Sree Indrani Motipally

MSc Student

Graduate Assistant

Department of Biology




  • Neeley B, Overholt T, Artz E, Kinsey S,
    Marsat, G (2017).
    Behavioral effect of cannabinoid agonist on the social and communication behavior
    of weakly electric fish as a function of context
    . In preparation.
  • Allen K,
    Marsat, G (2017).
    Discrimination of electrocommunication signals as a function of context.
  • Ly C,
    Marsat G (2017).
    Variable synaptic strengths controls the firing rate distribution in feedforward
    neural networks
    J Comput Neurosci [Epub ahead of print].



  • *Mejias JF, *
    Marsat, G, Longtin A, Maler L (2013). Learning contrast-invariant cancellation
    of redundant signals in nerual systems.
    PLOS Comput Biol, 9:e1003180 (*co-first authors)
  • Bol K,
    Marsat, G, Mejias JF, Longtin A, Maler L (2013). Modeling cancelation
    of periodic inputs with burst-STDP and feedback.
    Neural Networks, 47:120-133.


  • Marsat G, Pollack GS (2012). Bursting neurons and ultrasound avoidance
    in crickets.
    Front Neurosci, 6:95.
  • Marsat G, Longtin L, Maler L (2012). Cellular and circuit properties
    supporting different sensory coding strategies in electric fish and other systems.
    Curr Opin Neurobiol, OI:10.1016/j.conb.2012.01.009.
  • Marsat, G, Maler L (2012). Preparing for the unpredictable: adaptive
    feedback enhances the response to unexpected communication signals.
    J Neurophysiol, 107: 1241-1246.


  • *Bol K, *
    Marsat G, Harvey-Girard E, Longtin A, Maler L (2011). Frequency-tuned
    cerebellar channels and burst-induced LTD lead to the cancellation of redundant
    sensory inputs.
    J Neurosci, 31:11028-11038. (*co-first authors)


  • Marsat, G, Maler L (2010). Neural heterogeneity and efficient population
    codes for communication signals.
    J Neurophysiol, 104:2543-2555.
  • Marsat, G., Pollack GS (2010). The structure and size of sensory bursts
    encode stimulus information but only size affects behavior.
    J Comp Physiol A, 196:315-320.

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute