David Maisson

Entering Class - 2019

E-MAIL:  [email protected]

PhD 2022

PhD Thesis: Distributed encoding architecture in prefrontal cortex during abstracted and embodied decision making

Current Position:

Quantitative Cognition Lead -Associate Consultant, ZS

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

California State University Northridge, B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology, 2013

University of Delaware, M.A. 2019

Graduate Advisor:

Jan Zimmermann, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Ben Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience



  • Voloh B, Maisson DJ, Cervera RL, Conover I, Zambre M, Hayden B, Zimmermann J. Hierarchical action encoding in prefrontal cortex of freely moving macaques. Cell Rep. 2023 Aug 31;42(9):113091. 
  • Maisson DJ, Cervera RL, Voloh B, Conover I, Zambre M, Zimmermann J, Hayden BY. Widespread coding of navigational variables in prefrontal cortex. Curr Biol. 2023 Aug 21;33(16):3478-3488.e3.
  • Fine JM, Maisson DJ, Yoo SBM, Cash-Padgett TV, Wang MZ, Zimmermann J, Hayden BY. Abstract value encoding in neural populations but not single neurons. J Neurosci. 2023 Jun 21;43(25):4650-4663.
  • Maisson DJ, Wikenheiser A, Noel JG, Keinath AT. Making sense of the multiplicity and dynamics of navigational codes in the brain. J Neurosci. 2022 Nov 9;42(45):8450-8459.
  • Voloh B, Eisenriech B, Maisson D, Zimmermann J, Hayden B. Hierarchical organization of rhesus macaque behavior. BioRxiv. 2021; https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.11.15.468721
  • Maisson DJ, Cash-Padgett TV, Wang MZ, Hayden BY, Heilbronner SR, Zimmermann J. Choice-relevant information transformation along a ventrodorsal axis in the medial prefrontal cortex. Nat Commun. 2021 Aug 10;12(1):4830.

Masters and Undergraduate:

  • Tran H, Alekseichuk I, Shirinpour S, Vail B, Maisson D, Voloh B, ... Opit, A. Orientation-dependent effects of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) on spike timing in awake non-human primates. Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation, 14(6), 1614-1615.Maisson DJ. Distinct Contributions of the Nucleus Reuniens, Prefrontal Cortex, and Hippocampus to Spatial Working Memory. Masters dissertation. University of Delaware. 2021.
  • Maisson DJ, Gemzik ZM, Griffin AL Optogenetic suppression of the nucleus reuniens selectively impairs encoding during spatial working memory. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2018 Nov;155:78-85
  • Lorber MF1, Maisson DJ, Slep AM, Heyman RE, Wolff MS. Mechanisms linking interparental aggression to child dental caries. Caries Res. 2017;51(2):149-159.

Graduate Oral Presentations:

  • Maisson DJ-N. This is your brain on disorder.. 90s elevator pitch about importance of research at the UD Graduate Students’ Forum for Research and Creative Endeavors, 2018.
  • Maisson DJ-N, Griffin AL. Implicating the Midline Thalamus in Hippocampal Spatial Working Memory Processes. Formal talk and the UD Graduate Students’ Forum for Research and Creative Endeavors), 2018. 
  • Maisson DJ-N, Griffin AL. Effects of nucleus reuniens optogenetic suppression on working-memory related hippocampal activity. David Olton Data Blitz, Park City Winter Conference, 2018.

Graduate Abstracts:


  • Maisson DJ-N, Griffin AL. Comparison of medial entorhinal and nucleus reuniens projections in CA1.  Society for Neuroscience, 2017; Delaware Neuroscience Symposium, 2017).
  • Gemzik ZM, Stout JS, Looney NF, Gaylord MT, Maisson DJ-N, Griffin AL Distinct spatial working memory correlates of prefrontal and hippocampal projections to the nucleus reuniens. Society for Neuroscience, 2017; Delaware Neuroscience Symposium, 2017.
  • Maisson DJ-N, Griffin AL. Optogenetic suppression of mPFC terminals and cell bodies in nucleus reuniens during select phases of a spatial working memory task. UT Austin Conference on Learning & Memory, 2017. 
  • Maisson DJ-N, Emanuel B, Hallock H, Gemzik Z, Donahue M, Griffin AL. Distinct contributions of hippocampal and prefrontal afferents to nucleus reuniens during spatial working memory. Society for Neuroscience, 2016; Delaware Neuroscience Symposium, 2016

Graduate Awards

  • American Legion Brain Sciences Award  2020
  • Sping and Ying Ngoh Lim Award
  • T32 NIMH Computational Neuroscience Training Grant (2020-2022)


  • David Redish
  • Ben Hayden 
  • Esther Krook-Magnuson
  • Jocelyn Richard
  • Rocio Gomez-Pastor

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neurosciece
  • American Physiological Society
  • American Psychological Association
  • Society for Neuroeconomics

Research Categories

  • Behavorial  and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience of Drug Abuse and Addiction

What got you interested in research?

I've been involved in research for 8 years. My interest started with neuroscience. I took a brain and behavior class as a University sophomore with a professor who fostered a love for the subject in me. The following semester, I took a research methods course and that professor solidified for me that this was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It's been research labs ever since.

Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?

I chose MN for the city, the size of the cohort, the cohort-building investment, the volume and range of available professors, and the program foundation of interdisciplinarity.