Nate Powell

Ph.D. 2015


Thesis Title:

Which way do I go? Strategic representations in rat prefrontal cortex on spatial decision tasks.

Current Position:

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Britisth Columbia

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

Amherst College, BA in Physics and Philosophy, 2004

Major Advisor(s):

A. David Redish, Ph.D.

Research Description:

I'm interested in how we think. We in the large sense, because specifically at this point I'm studying Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) in the Rat. PFC has been tied to many functions that are associated with higher level cognitive processing, which is most simply described as what's going on in the animal's head that isn't obviously related to anything going on externally. This is a tricky topic to study, and I'm currently concentrating on the role of the PFC in encoding abstract "strategies" or rules that govern a pattern of behavior over several actions in order to solve a particular task. I've also been involved in some studies exploring the incentive structure of learning internal models in human subjects.

Lab Rotations:

  • David Redish
  • Paul Schrater
  • Apostolos Georgopoulos

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • NSC 5202 Theoretical Neuroscience
  • PSY 5010 Math Models of Human Behavior
  • BPHY8147 Advanced Physics of MRI

Conferences Attended and Presentations:

  • Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, 2008 , 2009, 2010, 2012
  • Computational and Systems Neuroscience, 2011

Committee Members:

  • Matt Chaffee -Chair
  • Paul Schrater
  • Teresa Nick
  • David Redish -Advisor

Awards and Honors:

  • 3M graduate Fellowship 2008-2012
  • Center for Cognitive Sciences Trainee 2009-2012
  • Frederick M. Stark Travel Award - 2014

Professional Memberships:

  • International Society for Magnetic Resonance In Medicine
  • Society for Neuroscience


  • Powell NJ, Redish AD. Representational changes of latent strategies in rat medial prefrontal cortex precede changes in behavior. Nat Commun. 2016 Sep 22;7:12830.
  • Powell NJ, Jang A, Park JY, Valette J, Garwood M, Marjańska M. Gradient rotating outer volume excitation (GROOVE): A novel method for single-shot two-dimensional outer volume suppression. Magn Reson Med. 2015 Jan;73(1):139-49.
  • Powell NJ, Redish AD. Complex neural codes in rat prelimbic cortex are stable across days on a spatial decision task. Front Behav Neurosci. 2014 Apr 23;8:120.
  • Snyder AL, Corum CA, Moeller S, Powell NJ, Garwood M. MRI by steering resonance through space. Magn Reson Med. 2014;72(1):49-58.
  • Papale AE, Stott JJ, Powell NJ, Regier PS, Redish AD. Interactions between deliberation and delay-discounting in rats. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2012;12(3):513-26.
  • Corum CA, McIntosh AD, Bolan PJ, Nelson M, Snyder AL, Powell NJ, Boyum J, Emory TH, Yee D, Tuttle TM, Everson LI, Garwood M. Feasibility of single-voxel MRS measurement of apparent diffusion coefficient of water in breast tumors. Magn Reson Med. 2009;61(5):1232-7.

Home Town:

  • Minneapolis, MN
Nate Powell