Sandeep Robert Datta obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics from Yale University in 1993, and obtained an M.D./Ph.D degree from Harvard University in 2004. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University with the Nobel laureate Richard Axel, he joined the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology in 2009.
The Datta Lab focuses on understanding how sensory cues — particularly odors — are detected by the nervous system, and how the brain transforms information about the presence of salient sensory cues into patterns of motivated action.
This work involves studying genes involved in detecting odors, revealing the patterns of neural activity deep in the brain that encode sensory maps of the outside world, and probing the fundamental statistical structure of behavior itself. Recent work in his lab has focused on three main projects:
(1) Characterizing the structure and function of a new class of calcium channel recently discovered by the lab which act as olfactory receptors within the nose
(2) Using multiphoton microscopy — combined with modern genetic labeling and neural tracing tools — to characterize sensory responses to behaviorally-relevant odor cues in striatum in awake animals
(3) Developing new machine vision and machine learning approaches to probe the time-series organization of mouse behavior, and to ask how genetic polymorphisms and neural circuit perturbations modulate patterned action.