Jeffrey Erlich 博士







Jeffrey Erlich is currently an Assistant Professor of Neural and Cognitive Sciences at NYU Shanghai. He is also an adjunct faculty at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, East China Normal University.


Professor Erlich’s research interests are neural mechanisms of decision-making, attention and emotion. His work has appeared in Archives of General Psychiatry, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Neuron, and Nature.


The long term goal of Professor Erlich's research is to understand how chaotic neural activity, driven by internal dynamics and external sensory input, is resolved into coherent behavior. Animals have many competing goals and drives as well as a barrage of sensory input to process. If our attention and actions are as frenetic as the world around us (as may be the case in attention deficit disorder) we will have difficulty accomplishing our goals. How does the brain deal with all of this competing input? How do brain structures deal with ambiguous or conflicting sensory information? And how do different brain structures communicate, influence and compete with each other so that the result of this competition is coherent thought and action? These questions cover a range of topics: attention, emotion, decision-making, cognitive control, planning, working memory, and others. In order to tackle these challenging questions, the lab uses a high-throughput training facility to develop complex rodent behavioral paradigms that evoke some aspect of competition of conflict. Then using a synthesis of the latest experimental (high-channel count neural recording, optogentics, pharmacology) and computational techniques we develop and test theories of the corresponding neural mechanisms.


Professor Erlich has had a long and diverse neuroscience career before joining the faculty of NYU Shanghai as an Assistant Professor. As an undergraduate research assistant he published work on the neurochemistry of schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases using post-mortem human brain tissue. For his doctoral work, he examined the contribution of the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex if the rat in fear regulation with Joseph LeDoux at New York University. During his postdoctoral work with Carlos Brody at Princeton University, he developed several novel complex behavioral paradigms in the rat which were vital to the characterization of a rodent frontal-parietal spatial-working-memory network.


Education and Experience

  • B.Sc., Computer Science and Neuroscience, McGill University, Canada.
  • Software Engineer, NEVO Technologies, Cambridge, MA, USA.
  • Ph.D., Neural Science, New York University, NY, USA.
  • Post-doc, Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, NJ, USA.


Selected Publications

  • Erlich, J. C., Bialek, M., & Brody, C. D. (2011). A cortical substrate for memory-guided orienting in the rat. Neuron, 72(2), 330–343.
  • Erlich, J. C., Bush, D. E. A., & Ledoux, J. E. (2012). The role of the lateral amygdala in the retrieval and maintenance of fear-memories formed by repeated probabilistic reinforcement. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 6, 16–10.
  • Erlich, J. C., Brunton, B. W., Duan, C. A., Hanks, T. D., & Brody, C. D. (2015). Distinct effects of prefrontal and parietal cortex inactivations on an accumulation of evidence task in the rat. eLife, 4.
  • Hanks, T. D., Kopec, C. D., Brunton, B. W., Duan, C. A., Erlich, J. C., & Brody, C. D. (2015). Distinct relationships of parietal and prefrontal cortices to evidence accumulation. Nature, 520(7546), 220–223.
  • Duan, C. A., Erlich, J. C., & Brody, C. D. (2015). Requirement of Prefrontal and Midbrain Regions for Rapid Executive Control of Behavior in the Rat. Neuron, 86(6), 1491–1503.