we focus on synaptic and microcircuit mechanisms

we study the circuits underlying cognitive control and flexibility


Most relevant

Nakajima, M., Schmitt L.I., Feng, G., Halassa M.M. , Combinatorial targeting of distributed forebrain networks reverses noise hypersensitivity in a model of autism spectrum disorder. Neuron 104: 488-500 (2019)

Nakajima, M., Schmitt L.I., Halassa M.M.,  Prefrontal cortex regulates sensory filtering through a basal ganglia-to-thalamus pathway. Neuron 103:762-770 (2019)

Rikhye, R.V., Gilra, A., Halassa M.M. Thalamic regulation of switching between cortical representations enables cognitive flexibility. Nature Neuroscience (2018)

Schmitt, L.I., Wimmer, R.D., Nakajima, M., Mofakham, S., Happ, M., Halassa, M.M., Thalamic amplification of cortical connectivity sustains attentional control. Nature 545: 219-223 (2017)

Wells, M.F., Wimmer, R.D., Schmitt, L.I., Feng, G., Halassa, M.M., Thalamic reticular impairment underlies attention deficit in Ptchd1Y/- mice. Nature,532: 58-63 (2016)

Wimmer, R.D., Schmitt, L.I., Davidson, T.J., Nakajima, M., Deisseroth, K., Halassa, M.M., Thalamic control of sensory selection in divided attention. Nature, 526: 705–709 (2015)

Lewis, L.D., Voigts, J., Flores, F.J., Schmitt, L.I., Wilson, M.A., Halassa, M.M., Brown, E.N., Thalamic reticular nucleus induces fast and local modulation of arousal state. Elife DOI: 10.7554/eLife.08760. (2015)

Halassa, M.M., Chen, Z., Wimmer, R.D., Brunetti, P.M., Zhao, S., Zikopoulos, B., Wang, F., Brown, E.N., Wilson, M.A., State-dependent architecture of thalamic reticular sub-networks. Cell, 158: 808-824 (2014)


Parr, T., Rikhye, R.V., Halassa, M.M., Friston, K.J., Prefrontal computation as active inference. Cerebral Cortex (2019)

Chen, Z., Wimmer, R.D., Wilson, M.A., Halassa, M.M., Thalamic circuit mechanisms link sensory processing in sleep and attention. Front. Neural Circuits, 9:83 (2015)

Bruentti, P.M., Wimmer, R.D., Siegle, J.H, Voigts, J. Wilson, M.A., and Halassa, M.M. Design and Fabrication of ultra-light weight, adjustable multi-electrode probes for electrophysiological recordings in mice. Journal of Visualized Experiments91:e51675 (2014)


Halassa, M.M. and Sherman, S.M. Thalamocortical circuit motifs: a general framework. Neuron 103: 762-770 (2019)

Krol, A., Wimmer, R.D., Halassa, M.M., Feng, G. Thalamic reticular dysfunction as a circuit endophenotype in neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuron 98: 282-295. (2018)

Rikhye, R., Wimmer R.D., Halassa M.M., Towards an integrative theory of thalamic function. Annual Review of Neuroscience 41:163-183 (2018)

Halassa, M.M., Kastner S., Thalamic functions in distributed cognitive control. Nature Neuroscience 20:1669-1679 (2017)

Schmitt, L.I., & Halassa, M.M., Interrogating the mouse thalamus to correct human neurodevelopmental disorders. Molecular Psychiatry10.1038/mp.2016.183 (in press)

Happ, M., & Halassa, M.M., Too bored to stay awake. Nature NeuroscienceNews and Views 19: 1274-76 (2016)

Halassa, M.M., & Acsady, L. Thalamic inhibition: diverse sources, diverse scales. Trends in Neuroscience doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.08.001 (2016)


Fellin, T. and Halassa,M.M. (Editors). Neuromethods Series: Methods in Neuronal Network Analysis,Springer, New York (2011).

Halassa, M.M. (Editor). Thalamic reticular microcircuits, Springer, New York (2014).



Halassa, M.M. & Haydon,P.G. Astrocytic modulation of mammalian behavior. Neuroglia, Oxford University Press (2012).

Halassa, M.M. & Haydon,P.G. The tripartite synapse. Astrocytes in (patho)physiology of the nervous system, Boston, MA:Springer (2009).

brain ‘switchboard’

Michael Halassa, M.D., Ph.D. discusses his work with the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) and its importance in identifying new targets for treating various psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder.