Andrew Hires

Assistant Professor

Andrew  Hires

Research Topics

  • Cortex
  • Touch
  • Optogenetics
  • Neurophotonics
  • Synthetic perception

Research Overview

The cerebral cortex is the seat of human and mammalian intelligence, and is vital to sensory information processing, pattern recognition and assembly of conscious perception. We seek to understand the role the cortex plays in the processing of tactile sensations and generation of perception. To do so, we record from cortical neurons during quantified behavior, correlate sensory input to neural activity and modify, delete or synthesize perceptions via patterned photostimulation of cortex. In other words, our work aims to provide read, translation and write access to cortical circuits. Ultimately, we seek to develop therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders of sensory processing and tactile feedback systems for prosthetics.

Our research efforts are directed on three related avenues :

1) Determination of how tactile information is represented across the major cell types and layers of somatosensory cortex during tasks that require sensory processing.

2) Development of tools to manipulate activity of functional groups of neurons that represent elemental components of sensation and perception.

3) Construction of increasingly precise and complex synthetic sensations and perceptions via patterned stimulation of functional groups of cortical neurons in the context of active behaviors.

Our primary area of investigation is the mouse somatosensory cortex. This system combines powerful genetic access with exquisite stimulus control in a brain area conserved between humans and other mammals. We employ a variety of innovative technologies, including circuit and cell-type specific closed-loop optogenetic neural control in transgenic and virally transduced mice, whole-cell and juxtacellular electrophysiology, high-density silicon probe based neural recording, and millisecond resolution sensory measurement, all while animals are engaged in active tactile discrimination tasks.

Contact Information

Mailing Address 3641 Watt Way : HNB228
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Office Location HNB 228
Office Phone
Lab Location HNB 228
Lab Phone
Office Location HNB 228



  • MIT : 2001, SB - Brain and Cognitive Sciences
  • UCSD : 2007, PhD
  • Janelia Farm / HHMI, 2008: Postdoc
  • Janelia Farm / HHMI, 2013: Postdoc

Selected Publications