Department of Neurobiology

Stauffer, William R.
Assistant Professor, Neurobiology
Systems Neuroscience Institute
Address: 4066 BST3
   3501 Fifth Ave, STE 4066
   Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3301
Office: (412)383-6563

Neuronal mechanisms for reward processing and decision making

Rewards motivate action, reinforce behavior, and form the basis for many social interactions. I am interested in how the brain processes rewards, and how reward processing deficits contribute to psychiatric, neurological, and neurodegenerative disorders. With these goals in mind, my lab 1) records and analyzes brain signals during reward-guided deliberation and decision making, and 2) develops new experimental tools to identify, investigate and manipulate the different neuron types that constitute the brain’s reward system. Together, these lines of research will shed new light on how neural reward systems facilitate behavior, and how reward systems dysfunction during neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.

I am actively seeking motivated postdoctoral research associates for an NIH funded project on value-based deliberation. I strongly encourage interested candidates to contact me. Experience working with monkeys and programming in Matlab are highly valued, but not absolutely necessary.

Sample Publications:

Dopamine Neuron-Specific Optogenetic Stimulation in Rhesus Macaques.
Stauffer WR, Lak A, Yang A, Borel M, Paulsen O, Boyden ES, Schultz W.
Cell. 2016 Sep 8;166(6):1564-1571.e6.

Utility functions predict variance and skewness risk preferences in monkeys.
Genest W, Stauffer WR, Schultz W.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 26;113(30):8402-7.

Economic choices reveal probability distortion in macaque monkeys.
Stauffer WR, Lak A, Bossaerts P, Schultz W.
J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 18;35(7):3146-54.

Dopamine reward prediction error responses reflect marginal utility.
Stauffer WR, Lak A, Schultz W.
Curr Biol. 2014 Nov 3;24(21):2491-500.

Dopamine prediction error responses integrate subjective value from different reward dimensions.
Lak A, Stauffer WR, Schultz W.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Feb 11;111(6):2343-8.

PubMed Search for "Stauffer WR"

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