Daeyeol Lee, newly named as the Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience, focuses his research on the brain mechanisms of decision-making, in particular the role of the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia in reinforcement learning and economic choices.
The long-term goal of research in Lee’s laboratory is to understand how appropriate behaviors are chosen and their outcomes are evaluated by the neural networks in the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia of the brain. The laboratory also investigates how the brain combines various abstract quantities, such as time, probability, and magnitude, to optimize our decision strategies. Research in his laboratory is highly interdisciplinary and capitalizes on the insights from formal theories of economics and reinforcement learning as well as computational neuroscience of neural coding and behavioral studies of decision-making. Lee also develops novel behavioral paradigms that can probe the core processes of decision-making. Combined with the use of multi-electrode recording systems, this research seeks to unravel the biological basis of willful actions.
Lee graduated from Seoul National University (Korea) with a degree in economics and earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then received postdoctoral training in neurophysiology at the University of Minnesota. Lee held faculty positions at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Rochester before coming to Yale in 2006 as associate professor of neurobiology. In addition to his new appointment, he also serves as professor of psychology and of psychiatry.
Lee is the author of the book “Birth of Intelligence” and has published over 80 original research articles, including several papers in Science, Nature Neuroscience, and Neuron. He has received the Fellowship for Prominent Collegians from Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, a university fellowship from the University of Illinois, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation Cognitive Neuroscience Grant. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Health continuously since 1999.