Michael (Seng Bum) Yoo

Ph.D. 2020

PhD Thesis:

Untangling theory as theoretical framework for understanding the functions of
brain systems dedicated to economic decision-making.

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Handong University, BS, Biomedical Science, 2012
Seoul National University, MS, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 2015

Graduate Advisor:

Ben Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Description of Graduate Research:

Emerging technology for large-scale recording is opening up a new era in neuroscience by widening the scope of analysis. Accordingly, the right level of experimental complexity is questioned (Gao and Ganguli, 2015). One potential direction to resolve these concerns is to develop a naturalistic and interactive experiment to increase task complexity and a corresponding computational model to guide neural analysis (Yoo et al., biorxiv; Iqbal et al., 2018). My interest in the Hayden laboratory is to design a novel naturalistic experiment and computational model, establishing a large-scale recording system and analyzing neural activity acquired from a large-scale array. 

Graduate Publications:

  • Yoo SBM, Tu JC, Hayden BY. Multicentric tracking of multiple agents by anterior cingulate cortex during pursuit and evasion. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 31;12(1):1985.
  • Bala PC, Eisenreich BR, Yoo SBM, Hayden BY, Park HS, Zimmermann J. Automated markerless pose estimation in freely moving macaques with OpenMonkeyStudio. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 11;11(1):4560.
  • Yoo SBM, Tu JC, Piantadosi ST, Hayden BY. The neural basis of predictive pursuit. Nat Neurosci. 2020;23(2):252-259.
  • Yoo SB, Piantadosi S, Hayden BY. Monkeys predict trajectories of virtual prey using basic physics variables. BioxRiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/272260
  • Yoo SBM, Hayden BY. The transition from evaluation to selection involves neural subspace reorganization in core reward regions. Neuron. 2020 Feb 19;105(4):712-724.e4.
  • Cash-Padget T, Azab A, Yoo SB, Hayden BY. Opposing pupil responses to offered and anticipated reward values. Anim Cogn. 2018;21(5):671-684.
  • Yoo SB, Hayden BY. Economic choice as an untangling of options into actions. Neuron. 2018;99(3):434-447.
  • Yoo SB, Sleezer B, Hayden BY. Robust encoding of spatial information in orbitofrontal cortex and striatum. J Cogn Neurosci. 2018;30(6):898-913.

Post-Bac Research:

I worked in the William Rymer lab at Northwestern University. I examined the alteration of muscle synergies in chronic stroke patients. For my master thesis, I established a Bayesian inference model for phoneme perception in human in psychophysics experiments.

Thesis Committee Members:

Matt Chafee, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience (Chairperson)
Benjamin Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Tay Netoff, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Engineering
Kendrick Kay, Ph.D., Department of Radiology
Iris Vilares, Ph.D., Department of Psychology

What Got You Interested in Research?

To explore how the brain operates requires interdisciplinary knowledge including psychology, neural networks, statistics, and math. I was attracted by the fact that I can explore those by studying just one system, which is the brain. Furthermore, I got deeply interested in systems neuroscience since recognizing the field has been continuously trying to focus more on finding canonical computation and universal rules amongst various system including animal flocks and social systems of the human.

Picture of Michael (Seng Bum) Yoo