Dylan Paiton

PhD Candidate
Theoretical Neuroscience


I am a product of being raised in both Maine and New Mexico.


I studied Electrical Engineering at New Mexico Tech. After receiving my B.S. I worked as a post-baccalaureate student at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). My research at LANL primarily focused on developing large-scale (petaflop) models for learning statistics of natural scenes. I also worked on models of computation in the retina and STDP learning models.


My interests started out in robotics and artificial intelligence (robots and video games). Through my undergraduate career I slowly migrated away from the engineering and robotics end of research and towards artificial intelligence. Eventually, I settled on trying to learn more about the one intelligent machine we know of – the brain. I quickly found that much of the primary research that I considered compelling came from a specific line of inquiry that had close ties to UC Berkeley – from Horace Barlow’s classic work to contemporary work from the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience.


I am working to better understand the contribution of lateral and feedback connectivity to the response properties of visually selective neurons in the primary visual cortex. Specifically, I’m looking at how populations of interconnected neurons in a recurrent network can be used to build a probabilistic model of natural scenes and I’m comparing this to representations in a classic feedforward type network.


As I’m sure is the case with many aspiring scientists, I dream of making an impact in the world. The field of theoretical neuroscience is young, vast, and open-ended. There are seemingly endless opportunities to learn and contribute. I intend to realize as many of those opportunities as possible.


I love snowboarding, ultimate frisbee, and playing outside in general. I really enjoy traveling to both domestic destinations (California has plenty of world-class places to see!) and abroad. I enjoy watching movies and television, and I also frequently play games (video games and boardgames) with my friends. I also try to spend as much time as possible hanging with my dog, Barley (see below).


Bruno Olshausen Lab
567 Evans Hall