Rich Lab

Neurophysiology of Affect and Cognition


Cognitive processes emerge from the collective activity of interacting neurons. The primary goal of the Rich Lab is to understand the links between the emergent structure and dynamics of neural activity and advanced cognition. Our ongoing work is focused on processes involved in evaluation and value-based choice in the orbitofrontal cortex, and the use of mnemonic strategies in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. We aim to provide insights that not only advance our understanding of basic brain function, but also help refine neuromodulation approaches that alter neural activity to achieve therapeutic benefits.

Contact Us

Rich Laboratory
Erin L Rich, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Neuroscience
Office: HESS CSM 10-115
Office: 212.824.9304



Multi-attribute decision-making in macaques relies on direct attribute comparisons

Perkins, AQ, Gillis, ZS, Rich, EL


Abstraction of reward context facilitates relative reward coding in neural populations of the macaque anterior cingulate cortex

Chien, JM, Wallis, JD, Rich, EL.

Journal of Neuroscience. 2023 doi:


Anterior cingulate cortex neurons in macaques encode social image identities

Simon, J, Rich, EL.

bioRxiv 2023 


Multi-attribute decision-making in macaques relies on direct attribute comparisons

Perkins, AQ, Gillis, ZS, Rich, EL


Cognitive strategies shift information from single neurons to populations in prefrontal cortex

Chiang, FK, Wallis, JD, and Rich, EL.

Neuron. 2022 Feb 16;110(4):709-721.e4. doi:

                            Preview by Conen and Desrochers


Abstraction of reward context facilitates relative reward coding in dorsal and ventral anterior cingulate cortex

Chien, JM, Wallis, JD, Rich, EL.

BioRxiv. 2022


From affective to cognitive processing: Functional organization of the medial frontal cortex

Simon, J, Rudebeck, PH, Rich EL.

In: Roesch, M., Amarante, L., Laubach, M., Brockett, A. (Eds.) What does Medial Frontal Cortex Signal During Behavior? Insights from Behavioral Neurophysiology. International Review of Neurobiology, 2021 Vol 161. Academic Press.


Heterogeneous value coding in orbitofrontal populations

Enel, P, Perkins, AQ, Rich, EL.

Behav Neurosci. 2021 Apr;135(2):245-254. doi: 10.1037/bne0000457.


Identifying identity and attributing value to attributes: reconsidering mechanisms of preference decisions

Perkins, AQ and Rich, EL.

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2021 Oct;41:98-105. doi:


TRAKR A reservoir-based tool for fast and accurate classification of neural time-series patterns

Afzal, MF, Márton, CD, Rich, EL and Rajan, K.

bioRxiv. 2021 Oct. doi:


Stable and dynamic representations of value in the prefrontal cortex

Enel, P, Wallis, JD, Rich EL.

Elife. 2020 Jul 6;9e54313. doi: 10.7554/eLife.54313.


Stable and dynamic representations of value in the prefrontal cortex

Enel, P, Wallis, JD, Rich EL.

BioRxiv, 2019.


From bed to bench side: reverse translation to optimize neuromodulation for mood disorders.

Rudebeck, P.H., Rich, E.L., Mayberg, H.S.

Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2019 Dec;. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902287116


Linking dynamic patterns of neural activity in orbitofrontal cortex with decision making.

Rich EL, Stoll FM, Rudebeck PH.

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Apr;49:24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.11.002


Orbitofrontal cortex

Rudebeck PH, Rich EL.

Curr Biol. 2018 Sep 24;28(18):R1083-R1088. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.018


Caudate Microstimulation Increases Value of Specific Choices.

Santacruz SR, Rich EL, Wallis JD, Carmena JM. Curr Biol. 2017 Nov 6;27(21):3375-3383.e3. Epub 2017 Oct 26. PMID: 29107551

Spatiotemporal dynamics of information encoding revealed in orbitofrontal high-gamma. 

Rich EL, Wallis JD. Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 26;8(1):1139. PMID: 29074960


natneuro jul2016 coverDecoding subjective decisions from orbitofrontal cortex.
Rich EL, Wallis JD.
Nat Neurosci. 2016 Jul;19(7):973-80. doi: 10.1038/nn.4320. Epub 2016 Jun 6. PMID 27273768

                    Faculty of 1000 review

Commentary by Conen and Padoa-Schioppa

What stays the same in orbitofrontal cortex.
Rich EL, Wallis JD.
Nat Neurosci. 2016 May 26;19(6):768-70. doi: 10.1038/nn.4305. PMID: 27227365.


Medial-lateral organization of the orbitofrontal cortex.
Rich EL, Wallis JD.
J Cogn Neurosci. 2014 Jul;26(7):1347-62. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00573. Epub 2014 Jan 9. PMID: 24405106


Prefrontal-amygdala interactions underlying value coding.
Rich EL, Wallis JD.
Neuron. 2013 Dec 18;80(6):1344-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.11.027. PMID: 24360539


jpsychres coverStriatal activity in borderline personality disorder with comorbid intermittent explosive disorder: sex differences.
Perez-Rodriguez MM, Hazlett EA, Rich EL, Ripoll LH, Weiner DM, Spence N, Goodman M, Koenigsberg HW, Siever LJ, New AS.
J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Jun;46(6):797-804. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.02.014. Epub 2012 Mar 29. PMID: 22464337


Challenges of Interpreting Frontal Neurons during Value-Based Decision-Making.
Wallis JD, Rich EL.
Front Neurosci. 2011 Nov 22;5:124. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00124. eCollection 2011. PMID: 22125508

2009 & earlier

jneurosci jun2009 coverRat prefrontal cortical neurons selectively code strategy switches.
Rich EL, Shapiro M.
J Neurosci. 2009 Jun 3;29(22):7208-19. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6068-08.2009. PMID: 19494143

Faculty of 1000 review

jneurosci sept2008 coverThe neurotrophin-inducible gene Vgf regulates hippocampal function and behavior through a brain-derived neurotrophic factor-dependent mechanism.
Bozdagi O, Rich E, Tronel S, Sadahiro M, Patterson K, Shapiro ML, Alberini CM, Huntley GW, Salton SR.
J Neurosci. 2008 Sep 24;28(39):9857-69. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3145-08.2008. PMID: 18815270

Faculty of 1000 review

Prelimbic/infralimbic inactivation impairs memory for multiple task switches, but not flexible selection of familiar tasks.
Rich EL, Shapiro ML.
J Neurosci. 2007 Apr 25;27(17):4747-55. PMID: 17460087


Photoperiodically-induced changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis sensitivity in captive house sparrows (Passer domesticus).

Romero LM, Rich EL. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2007 Jun;147(2):562-8. Epub 2007 Feb 11. PMID: 17363309


Exposure to chronic stress downregulates corticosterone responses to acute stressors.

Rich EL, Romero LM. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005 Jun;288(6):R1628-36. PMID: 15886358

                          Faculty of 1000 review


Daily and photoperiod variations of basal and stress-induced corticosterone concentrations in house sparrows (Passer domesticus).

Rich EL, Romero LM. J Comp Physiol B. 2001 Oct;171(7):543-7. PMID: 11686612

Rich Lab

Open positions

We are currently seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join the lab. Experience in animal behavior, electrophysiology, and/or computational methods a plus. Contact Erin if interested.

Feng-Kuei Chiang


I am interested in cognitive functions of prefrontal cortex, which include working memory, hierarchical learning, and decision-making. Mainly, how prefrontal areas dynamically encode a series of actions/events under the sequential or hierarchical tasks.

feng-kuei.chiang (at) mssm (dot) edu

Joseph Simon

PhD Student

Joe is a senior PhD candidate in the lab studying social information processing during decision-making. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience in 2014. Next, he completed a post-bac here at Mount Sinai before starting his PhD in 2017. Joe’s thesis work focuses on the integration of social information during reward localization. His project’s goal is to understand how social information, with respect to nonsocial information, is encoded in the brain when making decisions. Joe was awarded the NIH D-SPAN F99/K00 in 2022; and, following the completion of his PhD, plans to continue research related to social cognition and behavior. Outside of the lab, Joe is interested in photography and a love for penguins.

Awarded: NIH Blueprint D-SPAN Award (F99/K00) 2022

joseph.simon (at) icahn.mssm (dot) edu

Aster Perkins

PhD Student

I am interested in the neural computations underlying complex cognition. My current project seeks to investigate the neural underpinnings of goal-directed decision making in the context of options with multiple goal-relevant features, such as sweetness and likelihood. I hope to understand the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in using information about options to make decisions, as well as the influence of attentional processes on decision making.

Awarded: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowship (F31)

aster.perkins (at) icahn.mssm (dot) edu

Sam McConnell

PhD Student

Taste expectations and motivated behavior

sam.mcconnell (at) icahn.mssm (dot) edu

Ani Nair

MS Student

Using eye movements to understand cognitive processing

ani.nair (at) icahn.mssm (dot) edu

Past members

Pierre Enel

Instructor. Currently: Senior Machine Learning Scientist, Melonfrost

Zach Gillis

Research Assistant. Currently: MD/PhD student, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Abraham Abdulrazzak

MS Student

Johanna Crimins


Alex Hurowitz

MS Student. Currently: Research Assistant, Columbia University School of Medicine

Jonathan Chien

MS Student. Currently: PhD student, University of Texas at Austin

Pooja Viswanathan


Funding & Awards

2023 – 2028 R01 MH134845 Mechanisms of multi-attribute decision-making 

2022 – 2024  R21 MH131900 Mesoscale dynamics underlying expectation bias in the orbitofrontal cortex

2020 – 2025  R01 MH121480 Circuit mechanisms of self-organized cognitive strategies

2019  FBI Scholars Award, Joseph and Nancy DiSabato Research Scholar

                                 (co-investigators Kanaka Rajan and Peter Rudebeck)  Mount Sinai announcement

2018 -2022  Pew Biomedical Scholars Program    Mount Sinai press release

2018 -2021  Whitehall Foundation Research Grant

2018 -2020  NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

2018  Schneider-Lesser Foundation Junior Faculty Fellowship

2015 – 2020  K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Development Award (NIDA, DA039351)