Dmitriy Aronov

Hertz Fellow: Dmitriy Aronov
School

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Area of Study

Computational Biology, Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Fellowship Years

2006 - 2010

Dmitriy Aronov, while born in Russia, has lived most of his life in New York City. He received an undergraduate degree in applied mathematics from Columbia University and would like to pursue a career in academic neuroscience research. He is particularly interested in understanding the relationship between the activity of brain circuits and various behaviors. For this, he plans to continue using technologies that allow neural recordings in unconstrained, naturally behaving animals.

Dmitriy's thesis researched zebra finches tiny songbirds whose vocal babbling early in life is transformed into a complex song containing highly stereotyped sequences of notes—finding that babbling in juvenile birds is not simply an immature version of the ultimate song, but is produced by an entirely different region in the brain from that which generates singing in adulthood. This finding has wide implications for motor learning, suggesting that other animals, including humans, might possess brain areas specialized for driving exploratory, trial-and-error behaviors.

Thesis:

2010 - The Babbling Brain: What a Juvenile Songbird Can Teach Us About Motor Learning