Ji Hyun Bak

Reveal Contact Info

Postdoctoral Scholar

DeWeese Lab

Current Research

Collecting information about the environment is critical for the survival of an organism, yet it is not possible nor desirable to store all the signals out there. Because not every aspect of the environment matters equally, it must be important to extract only the relevant information, given the computational problem to solve and the constraints one is subject to. (If you were scribing a lecture, you would not want to copy the occasional throat-clearing sounds, or describe how the blackboard frame looked like; you are limited by the rate of your handwriting or typing, and eventually by the notebook/storage size.) I am interested in how the sensory signals from the environment are efficiently encoded into the neuronal activities in the earlier layers of the cortex. My goal at Redwood is to build and investigate models that might solve this coding problem, and to test if the models can account for the accumulating body of experimental data.

Background

I did my undergraduate in physics at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), and narrowed my focus to theoretical biophysics for my PhD at Princeton University. Toward the end of my PhD I also developed an interest in computational neuroscience, as I worked on adaptive stimulus selection methods for psychophysics experiments. During my first postdoc at KIAS (Korea Institute for Advanced Study), I started thinking about the sensory coding problem as I studied how the olfactory receptor neurons encode odors.

I like to include in my daily routine several good cups of tea to exploit myself, and a random walk around the town to add a dose of exploration (because my space memory is not perfect, each turn is an adventure).