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Giancarlo La Camera

Giancarlo La Camera


Associate Professor
Ph.D. University of Bern

Phone: (631) 632-9109 - office
Fax: (631) 632-6661
Email: Giancarlo.LaCamera@stonybrook.edu

Life Sciences Building
Office: Room 513


Giancarlo La Camera studied Theoretical Physics at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and received a Laurea (M. Sci.) in 1999. He went on to obtain a PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Bern in 2003. Between 2004 and 2008 he was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, where he performed research on the neural basis of cognitive functions. He then returned to the University of Bern where he focused on the topic of reinforcement learning in populations of spiking neurons. In early 2011 he joined the faculty of Stony Brook University as an Assistant Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in 2017.

Research Interests

Theoretical neuroscience / theory of neural representations / learning and behavior

Our laboratory is interested in the neural underpinnings of reward-based learning and decision-making; how these processes depend on contextual factors; and how they shape our processing of relevant stimuli (i.e. how we see and interprete the world). The way we learn and make decisions also affects the way we perceive and evaluate new stimuli and contexts, which, in turn will affect our ability to learn and make decisions, and so on, as in a 'circular process of reciprocal interplay between 'top-down', cognitive, aspects of decision making, and 'bottom-up', sensory coding of external inputs. We are also interested in modeling this interaction and its possible computational consequences for coding the relevant states. In addition to seeking a theoretical understanding of these issues, we team up with other research groups in the Department of Neurobiology and elsewhere to test our models against empirical data.


Undergraduate (U) and graduate (G) courses which I direct or co-direct:  

- AMS/BIO 332 (U)  Computational Modeling of Physiological Systems
- NEU 536 (G) – Introduction to Computational Neuroscience

Undergraduate (U) and graduate (G) courses to which I contribute:

- BIO 335 (U)  Neurobiology Laboratory
- BIO 338 (U) – From Synapse to Circuit: Self-organization of the Brain
- GRD 500 (G) – Integrity in Science (aka “Responsible Conduct of Research”)
- NEU 501 (G) – Introduction to Neuroscience Research
- BNB 562 (G) – Introduction to Neuroscience II: Systems Neuroscience
- BNB 597 (G) – Seminar Themes: Research Topics in Neuroscience
- PHY 687 (G) – Topics in Biological Physics: Introduction to Computational Neuroscience (2011) 


  • Representative Publications
  • Laboratory Personnel

  • Luca Mazzucato, Ph.D. Physics, SISSA/ISAS Trieste: Sr. Postdoc (2012-13); Research Assistant Professor (2013-present) (in collaboration with Dr. A. Fontanini). 
  • Luisa Le Donne, M.Sc. Physics, Sapienza University of Rome: Graduate Student (2011-2017)
  • Lucinda A. Davies, Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds: Sr. Postdoc (2011-2015) -- now at ICON Clinical Research.

PubMed Link

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