Mehrdad Jazayeri joined the MIT faculty in January 2013 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and an Investigator in the McGovern Institute. Jazayeri, who is originally from Iran, obtained a B.Sc in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. He received his PhD from New York University, where he studied with J. Anthony Movshon, winning the 2007 Dean’s award for the most outstanding dissertation in the university. After graduating, he was awarded a Helen Hay Whitney fellowship to join the laboratory of Michael Shadlen at the University of Washington, where he was a postdoctoral researcher.
The long-term objective of research in my lab is to develop a mathematical framework for understanding the link between the brain and the mind. To tackle this problem, we record and perturb brain signals in animal models while they perform mental computations. We then use normative theories, computational models, and artificial neural networks to understand the building blocks of the mind in terms of the mechanisms and algorithms implemented by the brain.
Our current focus is on the following mental computations: (1) anticipation and planning, (2) integration and inference, (3) hierarchical and counterfactual reasoning, and (4) mental navigation.
9.014: Quantitative Methods and Computational Models in Neuroscience
This course provides students with the theoretical background and practical skills needed to analyze and model neurobiological observations at the molecular, systems and cognitive levels. Students will develop an intuitive understanding of mathematical tools and computational techniques, and learn to apply this knowledge to analyze, visualize and model research data using MATLAB programming. Topics include: Linear Systems and Operations, Dimensionality Reduction (e.g. PCA), Bayesian Approaches, Descriptive and Generative Models, Classification and Clustering, and Dynamical Systems.
Sohn H*, Narain D*, Meirhaeghe N*, Jazayeri M. (2019). Bayesian computation through cortical latent dynamics. Neuron pii: S0896-6273(19)30562-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.06.012.
Sarafyazd M, Jazayeri M. (2019). Hierarchical reasoning by neural circuits in the frontal cortex. Science 364 (6441). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aav8911.
Cadena-Valencia J, García-Garibay O, Merchant H, Jazayeri M, de Lafuente V. (2018). Entrainment and maintenance of an internal metronome in supplementary motor area. Elife. Oct 22;7. pii: e38983. doi: 10.7554/eLife.38983.
Remington E, Park TV, Jazayeri M. (2018). Late Bayesian inference in sensorimotor behavior. Nature communications Oct 9:4419 | DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06726-9.
Egger SW, Jazayeri M. (2018). A nonlinear updating algorithm captures suboptimal inference in the presence of signal-dependent noise. Scientific Reports (8):12597, DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-30722-0.
Remington ED, Narain D, Hosseini E, Jazayeri M. (2018). Flexible sensorimotor computations through rapid reconfiguration of cortical dynamics. Neuron 98 (5):1005–1019.e5 [News & Views from Sussillo’s group: Computation through Cortical Dynamics]
Chang CJ, Jazayeri M. (2018). Integration of speed and time for estimating time-to-contact. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Mar 20;115(12).
Narain D, Remington ED, Zeeuw CI, Jazayeri M. (2018). A cerebellar mechanism for learning prior distributions of time intervals. Nature communications Feb 1;9(1):469.
Wang J*, Narain D*, Hosseini E, Jazayeri M. (2018). Flexible timing by temporal scaling of cortical responses. Nature Neuroscience 21 (1):102–10.
Jazayeri M, Afraz A. (2017). Navigating the neural space in Search of the neural code. Neuron 93(5):1003-1014.
Finnerty GT, Shadlen MN, Jazayeri M, Nobre AC, Buonomano DV. (2015). Time in cortical circuits. J Neurosci. 35(41):13912-6.
Jazayeri M, Shadlen MN. (2015). A Neural mechanism for sensing and reproducing a time interval. Curr Biol. 25(20):2599-609.
de Lafuente V, Jazayeri M, Shadlen MN. (2015). Representation of accumulating evidence for a decision in two parietal areas. J. Neurosci. 35(10):4306-18.
Ernst ZR, Boynton GM, Jazayeri M. (2013). The spread of attention across features of a surface in human visual cortex. J. Neurophysiol. doi:10.1152/jn.00828.2012.
Jazayeri M, Lindbloom-Brown Z, Horwitz GD. (2012). Saccadic eye movements evoked by optogenetic activation of primate V1. Nat Neurosci. 15(10):1368-70. [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology]
Jazayeri M, Wallisch P, Movshon JA. (2012). Dynamics of MT cell responses to grating triplets. J. Neurosci. 32(24):8242-53.
Graf A, Kohn A, Jazayeri M, Movshon JA. (2011). Decoding the activity of neuronal populations in macaque primary visual cortex. Nat Neurosci. 14(2):239-245.
Jazayeri M, Shadlen MN. Temporal context calibrates interval timing. (2010). Nat Neurosci. 13, 1020-6. [News and Views in Nat Neurosci][Neuropod podcast] [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology]
Dinstein I, Gardner JL, Jazayeri M, Heeger DJ. (2008). Executed and observed movements have different distributed representations in human aIPS. J Neurosci. 28(44):11231-9.
Jazayeri M, Movshon JA. (2007). Integration of sensory evidence in motion discrimination. Journal of Vision 7(12):7, 1-7.
Jazayeri M, Movshon JA. (2007). A novel perceptual illusion reveals mechanisms of sensory decoding. Nature 446:912-15. [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology]
Jazayeri M, Movshon JA. (2006). Optimal representation of sensory information by neural populations. Nat Neurosci. 9(5):690-6.
Jazayeri M, Skinner FK. (2003). Multimodality in a dynamic feedback network with stochastic input. Neurocomputing 52-54:805-811.
Jazayeri M, Zhang L, Skinner FK. (2001) A dynamical feedback mechanism for the generation of hippocampal field rhythms, Neurocomputing 38-40:683-689.
Awards + Honors
2019 Teaching Award, Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, MIT
2017 McKnight Scholars Award
2016 Graduate Teaching Award, School of Science, MIT
2016 Teaching Award, Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, MIT
2015 Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award
2015 Robert Swanson Career Development Professorship
2014 Sloan Research Fellow
2012 National Institute of Health Earl Stadtman Investigator (offer declined)
2007-2010 Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
2007 Dean’s Dissertation Award, New York University
Awarded for the most outstanding PhD dissertation in the university
2006 Travel Fellowship, European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP)
2006 Travel Grant, New York University
2002-2006 Goldsmith Research Fellowship, New York University
Awarded annually to the best graduate student in the program
2001-2002 McCracken Fellowship, New York University
1999-2001 NSERC Scholarship, University of Toronto
1989 National Physics Olympiad Award, Ministry of Education, Iran