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The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience is excited to welcome Dr. Rafiq Huda to the department in January 2020! Dr. Huda completed his undergraduate studies at Carleton College, where he studied Biology and Neuroscience and continued his training through graduate studies at Northwestern University. Using cellular electrophysiology techniques, he uncovered novel mechanisms for respiratory motor control by brainstem neural circuits. Seeking to bridge the mechanisms operating at cellular and systems levels, he did his postdoctoral work in the Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, where he extended his training to systems neuroscience and advanced optical methods for analysis of neural circuits in behaving mice. He uncovered the function of distinct prefrontal cortex circuits in attention and motor planning and also dissected the role of striatal circuits in reward-based learning. Dr. Huda’s long-term research goal is to understand the cellular and neural circuit mechanisms underlying key cognitive functions like attention and behavioral flexibility. Current work in his lab emphasizes the role of molecularly- and anatomically-defined cortical, striatal, and midbrain circuits in attention and flexibility using next-generation optical tools. In addition to resolving the contribution of these circuits to various cognitive functions, his work will identify general principles for information flow and computation in long-range brain circuits.