I combine expertise in theoretical neuroscience, statistical data analysis, neurotechnologies and experimental neurophysiology.
I have made significant advances in the understanding of cortical dynamics and cortico-hippocampal interactions, including the first demonstration of the link between hippocampal activity and cortical oscillations during sleep (Battaglia et al. 2004, Learning and Memory), and the first demonstration of the link between hippocampal activity and memory reprocessing during sleep (Peyrache et al. 2009 Nature Neuroscience, Benchenane et al. 2010 Neuron).
To make sense of these data, I have ideated and applied statistical methods for the identification of cell assemblies, and their replay, making use of Principal Component Analysis (Peyrache et al. 2010, J Comp Neurosci), on maximum entropy pairwise approaches (reverse Ising inference; Tavoni et al 2017, Network Neuroscience), multi-variate autoregressive models and optimal transportation theory (Grossberger et al. 2018 PLoS Computational Biology) for high-reliability detection of cell assemblies and phase sequences.
In related theoretical work, I have pioneered the application of models inspired to computational linguistics (stochastic context-free grammars) to the study of semantic memory (Battaglia et al. Front Comp Neurosci 2011, NBBR 2012),
I have developed novel tools for ensemble recording in the mouse, which I have used to characterize the link between oscillatory states and different computational modes for spatial navigation in the hippocampus, in normal animals and animal models of CNS disease, including mouse models of Fragile-X mental retardation, for which we have showed for the first time a deficit in the stability of the place fields (Arbab et al 2018 Neurobiol of Disease, Arbab et al 2018 Scientific Reports).
I am currently developing new devices for neural ensemble data recording and closed-loop neural stimulation (contributing code to the open-ephys project).
I contributed more than 70 publications in theoretical physics, neural data analysis, computational & systems neuroscience, neuro-engineering (>5000 citations, according to Google Scholar).
I have trained a total of 8 postdocs and 11 PhD students.
Since 2011, I was able to secure > 3 M€ of funding, from the European Commission, the Dutch NWO, and several private foundations. I am currently the coordinator of M-GATE, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network, which enabled us to hire 15 highly talented PhD students across some of the best Memory labs across Europe.
My publication record may be found here