Jeffrey Beck


Assistant Professor of Neurobiology

We study neural coding and computation from a theoretical perspective with particular emphasis on probabilistic reasoning and decision making under uncertainty, complex behavioral modeling, computational models of cortical circuits and circuit function, dynamics of spiking neural networks, and statistical analysis of neural and behavioral data.  Previous work has been largely concerned with sensory-motor transformations and neural representations of complex stimuli such as odors.  More recently, we have been focusing on developing non-linear latent state space models of neural networks as standard linear models are incapable of generating even very simple behaviors.  

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Bryan Research Building, 311 Research Drive Room 301H, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-4742
  • Email Address:


  • Ph.D. Northwestern University, 2003

Research Interests

Neural coding and computation; non-linear latent state space models of neural networks

Courses Taught

  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • NEUROBIO 393: Research Independent Study
  • NEUROBIO 730: Statistics for Neuroscience
  • NEUROBIO 793: Research in Neurobiology

Representative Publications

  • Toader, AC; Rao, HM; Ryoo, M; Bohlen, MO; Cruger, JS; Oh-Descher, H; Ferrari, S; Egner, T; Beck, J; Sommer, MA, Probabilistic inferential decision-making under time pressure in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)., Journal of Comparative Psychology, vol 133 no. 3 (2019), pp. 380-396 [10.1037/com0000168] [abs].
  • Jin, M; Beck, JM; Glickfeld, LL, Neuronal Adaptation Reveals a Suboptimal Decoding of Orientation Tuned Populations in the Mouse Visual Cortex., Journal of Neuroscience, vol 39 no. 20 (2019), pp. 3867-3881 [10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3172-18.2019] [abs].
  • Tao, L; Ozarkar, S; Beck, JM; Bhandawat, V, Statistical structure of locomotion and its modulation by odors., Elife, vol 8 (2019) [10.7554/eLife.41235] [abs].
  • Darlington, TR; Beck, JM; Lisberger, SG, Neural implementation of Bayesian inference in a sensorimotor behavior., Nat Neurosci, vol 21 no. 10 (2018), pp. 1442-1451 [10.1038/s41593-018-0233-y] [abs].
  • Oh-Descher, H; Beck, JM; Ferrari, S; Sommer, MA; Egner, T, Probabilistic inference under time pressure leads to a cortical-to-subcortical shift in decision evidence integration., Neuroimage, vol 162 (2017), pp. 138-150 [10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.08.069] [abs].