SAUL KATO the separated-timescale biphasic filter is a ubiquitous feature of biological signal processing systems.
Follow @neurotheory will get to me, eventually, with high probability.   Experimental and theoretical collaborators welcome.

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology
UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
San Francisco, California

I develop and use computational, cutting-edge engineering, and experimental approaches to basic and applied neuroscience and build theories of brain function.

The production of flexible but controlled behavioral sequences in simpler animals may be an evolutionary foundation for higher cognitive abilities in humans. I study how real-time function emerges from the nervous system of C. elegans, a 1 millimeter long roundworm. Despite having only 302 neurons, this animal has a rich behavioral repertoire including probabilistic and directed taxis, associative learning, cooperation, and coordinated body movement. I combine dynamical systems analysis with the development and application of high-throughput, high-resolution neural activity imaging technologies to understand how this "low-n" neural network processes sensory stimuli and integrates them with an evolving internal state in order to produce competent, continuous behavior.

On an entirely different evolutionary branch, organisms acquired the ability to harness large pools of largely undifferentiated neurons and shape them through development and learning in order to flexibly solve problems and drive complex tasks, thereby getting around the limited information capacity of the genome. I am also interested in understanding how these "high-n" neural systems achieve what they do, and determining what ingredients, or rules of assembly and operation, are required in order for such sophisticated problem-solving functions to emerge.


  • Global brain dynamics embed the motor command sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans
    Kato, S., Kaplan, H.S., Schrödel T., Skora S., Lindsay T.H., Yemini, E., Lockery, S., Zimmer, M. Cell (2015) doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.034

    Imaging the Neural Basis of Locomotion - a 2-page synopsis of this study by Branson and Freeman.

  • A Perspective on Future Research Directions in Information Theory
    Andrews, J.J. et al. arXiv:1507.05941 (2015) pdf

  • Simultaneous whole-animal 3D-imaging of neuronal activity using light field microscopy
    Prevedel, R., Yoon, Y.-G., Hoffmann, M., Pak, N., Wetzstein, G., Kato, S., Schrödel, T., Raskar, R., Zimmer, M., Boyden, E.S., Vaziri, A. Nature Methods (2014) doi:10.1038/nmeth.2964 arXiv:1401.5333 pdf

  • Temporal responses of C. elegans chemosensory neurons are preserved in behavioral dynamics
    Kato, S., Xu, Y., Cho, C., Abbott, L.F. and Bargmann, C.  Neuron (2014) doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.11.020 pdf

  • Neuropeptide feedback modifies odor-evoked dynamics in Caenorhabditis elegans olfactory neurons
    Chalasani, S., Kato, S., Albrecht, D., Nakagawa, T., Abbott, L.F. and Bargmann, C.  Nature Neuroscience (2010) doi:10.1038/nn.2526 pdf


  • my UCSF profile

  • my UCSF lab


  • Access the patent database for my patents in computer graphics and wireless technology. I founded two technology companies: Sven Technologies and WideRay/Qwikker Corp. Sven was acquired by Dassault Systemes and Qwikker was acquired by Dimensional Associates.

  • a pretty image the manifold of brain activity of a worm, rendered in mid-century modern glass.