Our lab focuses on theoretical and computational neuroscience. We investigate the fundamental physical principles that underlie brain function, from sensing the environment to forming memories and making decisions.

Our team

We are a diverse group of physicists and neuroscientists who find common ground in seeking to answer intriguing questions about the nature of brain computations. The way information is encoded in the brain, transformed and retrieved is constantly optimized by evolutionary and learning processes to guide effective decisions and behaviors in dynamic environments. Our team’s current efforts are directed towards understanding different forms of this optimization in the healthy brain. Our ultimate goal is to reveal basic physical principles that underlie brain function and contribute to understanding their disruptions in brain disease. Current members of the lab have widely different cultural and scientific backgrounds, which brings energy and diversity of perspectives to our group.

About Dr. Tavoni

Dr. Tavoni trained in physical engineering at Polytechnic of Turin and received a MS in Physics of Complex Systems from an international university consortium based in Italy and France. She completed her PhD in physics from the École Normale Supérieure of Paris, with a thesis on statistical physics techniques for the study of learning and memory consolidation in the brain. She then joined the Computational Neuroscience Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral fellow. At UPenn, she worked in the Balasubramanian and Gold labs on a range of problems in perceptual learning and cognitive control. In 2017, she received the Swartz Foundation Fellowship Award for Theory in Neuroscience. In November 2020, Dr. Tavoni joined the faculty of the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University.



We presented our research at APS, COSYNE, and the “Workshop on Cognitive Noise and Economic Decisions” at Columbia (https://econ.columbia.edu/event/cd-conf/)


We are organizing three Focus sessions on the Physics of Neural Systems for the 2023 APS March meeting.


Eleonora Bano and Kaining Zhang are joining our lab! Welcome!


New paper in Nature Human Behaviour! We identified fundamental principles governing the trade-off between accuracy and cognitive effort in human inference.

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Join the lab!

We are interested in recruiting postdocs and students with strong computational backgrounds.