Neuroscientist Gonzalo Otazu, Ph.D., leverages his electrical engineering expertise to study the computational problems solved by the animal's brain in order for the animal to survive in its natural environment. This includes how the brain identifies and processes new odors and how this process is affected in neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Using the latest insights in neuroscience, Otazu develops novel machine learning algorithms and applies them to biomedical problems. In addition to lecturing at NYITCOM, Otazu currently mentors undergraduate and medical student research assistants, who often earn co-authorship on conference presentations. He will also partner with the Center for Biomedical Innovation to further his computational biology projects.
Otazu received his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Tohoku University in Japan and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he participated in research to understand how the mammalian brain distinguishes nearly identical scents, such as those of oranges and tangerines. He also holds an undergraduate electrical engineering degree from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in Peru.
Recent Projects and Research
- Target detection in the presence of novel olfactory environment
- Sensory deficits in autism
Publications and Presentations
- Otazu GH, Tai LH, Yang Y, Zador AM. Engaging in an auditory task suppresses responses in auditory cortex. Nat Neurosci. 2009 May;12(5):646-54. doi: 10.1038/nn.2306. Epub 2009 Apr 12. PubMed PMID: 19363491; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4084972.
- Otazu GH, Leibold C. A corticothalamic circuit model for sound identification in complex scenes. PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24270. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024270. Epub 2011 Sep 13. PubMed PMID: 21931668; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3172241.
- Otazu GH, Chae H, Davis MB, Albeanu DF. Cortical Feedback Decorrelates Olfactory Bulb Output in Awake Mice. Neuron. 2015 Jun 17;86(6):1461-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.023. Epub 2015 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 26051422.
- Yang Y, DeWeese MR, Otazu GH, Zador AM. Millisecond-scale differences in neural activity in auditory cortex can drive decisions. Nat Neurosci. 2008 Nov;11(11):1262-3. doi: 10.1038/nn.2211. Epub 2008 Oct 12. PubMed PMID: 18849984; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4062077.
- Otazu GH, Futami R, Hoshimiya N. A muscle activation model of variable stimulation frequency response and stimulation history, based on positive feedback in calcium dynamics. Biol Cybern. 2001 Mar;84(3):193-206. doi: 10.1007/s004220000207.PubMed PMID: 11252637.
Courses Taught at NYIT
- Neuroanatomy lab
- Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine