As a postdoctoral research scientist at Johns Hopkins University, I've been working jointly with the Knierim laboratory at the Mind/Brain Institute and the Zhang laboratory at the Biomedical Engineering Department. The Knierim lab uses in vivo electrophysiology in rats to study neural representations of space in the hippocampus and associated brain areas while the animals explore new and familiar environments. Further, I develop computational models in collaboration with the Zhang lab to study the neural network circuits underlying spatial information processing in order to provide complementary insight into the recording data.
Monaco JD, Blair HT, and Zhang K. (2015). Spatial rate/phase correlations in theta cells can stabilize randomly drifting path integrators. Cosyne 2015. Salt Lake City, UT. March 2015. [poster, paper]
Monaco J, Blair HT, and Zhang K. (2014). Spatial rate/phase codes provide landmark-based error correction in a temporal model of theta cells. Neuroscience 2014, 752.07/UU25. Washington, D.C. November 2014. [poster, figshare, github]
Wang CH, Rao G, Monaco JD, Deshmukh SS, and Knierim JJ. (2014). Potentiation of place fields along the CA1 transverse axis by investigatory head-scanning behavior. Neuroscience 2014, 848.15/UU30. Washington, D.C. November 2014.
Monaco JD, Rao G, Roth ED, and Knierim JJ. (2014). Attentive scanning behavior drives one-trial potentiation of hippocampal place fields. Nature Neuroscience, 17(5), 725–731. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3687
Monaco J, Rao G, and Knierim JJ. (2013). Scanning behavior in novel environments promotes de novo formation of hippocampal place fields in rats. Neuroscience 2013, 670.07/JJJ44. San Diego, CA. November 2013. [poster]
We previously examined the relationship between place-field potentiation, a form of rate remapping, and head scanning behavior . Here we investigate whether there is a similar interaction between head scanning and the formation of de novo place fields when the animals are first introduced to a completely novel environment. Place fields recorded in novel rooms  demonstrate both onset and, in some recordings, additional post-onset potentiation related to colocalized scanning activity on the prior lap.
 Monaco JD, Rao G, Knierim JJ. Soc Neurosci Abstr 97.13 (2011)  Roth ED, Yu X, Rao G, Knierim JJ. PLoS One 7(4), e36035 (2012)