Michael Goard

 Michael Goard photo

Assistant Professor

Research Area

Neuroscience and Behavior


Michael Goard received his B.A. in Psychology from Reed College and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he developed approaches for imaging and manipulating the activity of large populations of neurons in behaving mice. He joined the faculty of UC Santa Barbara in 2016, where his lab investigates the neural circuitry underlying our perceptual, spatial, and cognitive abilities.


The overarching goal of our research is to understand the cortical circuits underlying visual processing, decision-making, and navigation. To this end, the lab employs large-scale two-photon calcium imaging, multi-unit electrophysiology, and optogenetic manipulation of neural activity in behaving mice. Our lab is part of the vibrant UCSB neuroscience community.

Selected Publications

Marks TD & Goard MJ (2021). Stimulus-dependent representational drift in primary visual cortexNature Communications12 (5169).

Xia J, Marks TD, Goard MJ*, Wessel R* (2021). Stable representation of a naturalistic movie emerges from episodic activity with gain variabilityNature Communications12 (5170). (*co-senior author).

Franco LM & Goard MJ (2021). A Distributed Circuit for Associating Environmental Context to Motor Choice in Retrosplenial CortexScience Advances, 7 (35).

Sit KK, Goard MJ (2020). Distributed and Retinotopically Asymmetric Processing of Coherent Motion in Mouse Visual CortexNature Communications, 11 (3565).

Chen Q*, Deister CA*, Gao X, Guo B, Lynn-Jones T, Chen N, Wells MF, Liu R, Goard MJ, Dimidschstein J, Feng S, Shi Y, Liao W, Lu Z, Fishell G, Moore CI, Feng G (2020). Dysfunction of Cortical GABAergic Neurons Leads to Sensory Hyper-reactivity in Shank3 Model of AutismNature Neuroscience, 23: 520–532.

Pho GN*, Goard MJ*, Woodson J, Crawford B, Sur M (2018). Task-dependent representations of stimulus and choice in mouse parietal cortexNature Communications, 9 (2596). (*co-first author).

Goard MJ, Pho GN, Woodson J, Sur M (2016). Distinct roles of visual, parietal, and frontal motor cortices in a memory-guided sensorimotor decisionseLife, 5:e13764.

Pinto L*, Goard MJ*, Estandian D, Xu M, Kwan AC, Lee S-H, Harrison TC, Feng G, Dan Y (2013). Fast modulation of visual perception by basal forebrain cholinergic neuronsNature Neuroscience, 16(12): 1857-63. (*co-first author).

Chen Q, Cichon J, Wang W, Qiu L, Lee S-JR, Campbell NR, Destefino N, Goard MJ, Fu Z, Yasuda R, Looger LL, Arenkiel BR, Gan W-B, Feng G (2012). Imaging neural activity using Thy1-GCaMP transgenic miceNeuron, 76(2): 297-308.

Goard M, Dan Y (2009). Basal forebrain activation enhances cortical coding of natural scenesNature Neuroscience, 12(11): 1444-9.