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A headshot photo of Gary Marsat.

Gary Marsat, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Contact Information

PO Box 6040
53 Campus Drive
4212 LSB
Morgantown, WV 26506


  • Department of Biology
  • Department of Neuroscience
  • Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute

Graduate Training

  • McGill University, PhD in Biology, 2007


  • Center for Neural Dynamics and Department of Cellular & Molucular Medicine, University of Ottawa, 2007-2009
  • Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Department of Physics, University of Ottawa, 2009-2012

Research Interests

"What's the neural code, what mechanism does it rely on and how does it participate in behavioral fitness" The nervous system can be divided in three levels: sensory areas (the input side), motor areas (the output side) and higher functions (such as decision making). A central theme in neuroscience is to relate the sensory input to the behavioral output. An important task in this endeavor is to understand how sensory signal are first encoded by the nervous system. Relevant signals must be be encoded efficiently and the information carried to higher brain areas in a format most appropriate for further processing. Our main interest is to understand how nervous systems perform this task, in other words how sensory signals are transformed by the nervous system to ultimately produce the appropriate behavior. We use a combination of in vivo electrophysiology, computational neuroscience tools, behavioral assays, histology, imaging and pharmacological manipulations. The research in our lab is at the intersection of three connected areas of neuroscience: Systems Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience and Neuroethology. 

Recent Publications


  • Neeley B, Overholt T, Artz E, Kinsey S, Marsat, G (2017). Behavioral effect of cannabinoid agonist on the social and communication behavior of weakly electric fish as a function of context. In preparation.
  • Allen K, Marsat, G (2017). Discrimination of electrocommunication signals as a function of context. Submitted.
  • Ly C, Marsat G (2017). Variable synaptic strengths controls the firing rate distribution in feedforward neural networks. J Comput Neurosci [Epub ahead of print].


  • Petzold JM, Marsat G, Smith GT (2016). Co-adaptation of electric organ discharges and chirps in South American ghost knifefishes (Apteronotidae). J Physiol Paris, 110(3):200-215. PMCID: PMC5408315 [2013]
  • *Mejias JF, * Marsat, G, Longtin A, Maler L (2013). Learning contrast-invariant cancellation of redundant signals in nerual systems. PLOS Comput Biol, 9:e1003180 (*co-first authors)
  • Bol K, Marsat, G, Mejias JF, Longtin A, Maler L (2013). Modeling cancelation of periodic inputs with burst-STDP and feedback. Neural Networks, 47:120-133.


  • Marsat G, Pollack GS (2012). Bursting neurons and ultrasound avoidance in crickets. Front Neurosci, 6:95.
  • Marsat G, Longtin L, Maler L (2012). Cellular and circuit properties supporting different sensory coding strategies in electric fish and other systems. Curr Opin Neurobiol, OI:10.1016/j.conb.2012.01.009.
  • Marsat, G, Maler L (2012). Preparing for the unpredictable: adaptive feedback enhances the response to unexpected communication signals. J Neurophysiol, 107: 1241-1246.


  • *Bol K, * Marsat G, Harvey-Girard E, Longtin A, Maler L (2011). Frequency-tuned cerebellar channels and burst-induced LTD lead to the cancellation of redundant sensory inputs. J Neurosci, 31:11028-11038. (*co-first authors) [2010]
  • Marsat, G, Maler L (2010). Neural heterogeneity and efficient population codes for communication signals. J Neurophysiol, 104:2543-2555.
  • Marsat, G., Pollack GS (2010). The structure and size of sensory bursts encode stimulus information but only size affects behavior. J Comp Physiol A, 196:315-320.