We are a group of scientists and engineers based out of the Neurosurgery Department at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Our research focuses on representation and computation in ensembles of human neurons. We seek to understand the neural computations that underlie archetypically human cognitive processes such as value-based choices in the face of uncertainty, rapid flexible control of thought and behavior, and social cognition and how these processes are altered in neurological or psychiatric disorders. In order to understand the neural basis of human cognition, we record from the brains of neurosurgical patients who are undergoing monitoring in order to diagnose and treat neurological disorders such as Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease.

We value diversity of all kinds, open communication, non-hierarchical consensus decision making, and work-life balance.


selected preprints 

Human dorsal anterior cingulate neurons signal conflict by amplifying task relevant representations. Ebitz et al. 

selected peer-peviewed research articles 

Circadian changes in aperiodic activity are correlated with seizure reduction in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy treated with responsive neurostimulation. Chantel Charlebois, Daria Andersen, Elliot Smith, Tyler Davis, Blake Newman, Angela Peters, Amir Arain, Alan Dorval, John Rolston, Christopher Butson. Epilepsia. 2024. 

Pretrial predictors of conflict response efficacy in human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Alexander Herman, Elliot Smith, Catherine Schevon, Mark Yates, Guy McKhann, Matthew Botvinick, Benjamin Hayden, Sameer Sheth. iScience. 2023. 

Characterization of spatiotemporal dynamics of binary and graded tonic pain in humans using intracranial recordings. Rose Caston, Elliot Smith, Tyler Davis, Hargunbir Singh, Shervin Rahimpour, John Rolston. PLoS One. 2023. 

Closed-loop stimulation in periods with less epileptiform activity drives improved epilepsy outcomes. Daria Anderson, Chantel Charlebois, Elliot Smith, Tyler Davis, Angela Peters, Blake Newman, Amir Arain, Karen Wilkox, Christopher Butson, John Rolston. Brain. 2023. 

A novel thermoelectric device integrated wiht a psychophysical apradigm to study pain processing in human subjects. Rose Caston, Tyler Davis, Elliot Smith, Shervin Rahimpour, John Rolston. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2023. 

Cell-type specific and multiscale dynamics of human focal seizures in limbic structures. Alexander Agopyan-Miu, Edward Merricks, Elliot Smith, Guy McKhann, Sameer Sheth, Neil Feldstein, Andrew Trevelyan, Catherine Schevon, John Rolston. Brain. 2023. 

The spatial reach of neuronal coherence and spike-field coupling across the human neocortex. John Myers, Elliot Smith, Marcin Leszczynski, James O’Sullivan, Mark Yates, Guy McKhann, Nima Mesgarani, Charles Schroeder, Catherine Schevon, Sameer Sheth. Journal of Neuroscience. 2022. 

Human interictal epileptiform discharges are bidirectional traveling waves echoing ictal discharges. Elliot Smith, Jyun-You Liou, Edward Merricks, Tyler Davis, Kyle Thomson, Bradley Greger, Paul House, Ronald Emerson, Robert Goodman, Guy McKhann, Sameer Sheth, Catherine Schevon, John Rolston. eLife. 2022. 

Probailistic Comparison of Gray and white matter coverage between depth and surface intracranial electrodes in epilepsy. Daria Anderson, Chantel Charlebois, Elliot Smith, Amir Arain, Tyler Davis, John Rolston. Scientific Reports. 2021. 

LeGUI: A fast and accurate graphical user interface for automated detection and anatomical localization of intracranial electrodes. Tyler Davis, Rose Caston, Chantel Charlebois, Brian Philip, Daria Anderson, Kurt Weaver, Elliot Smith, John Rolston. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2021. 

Alpha and broadband high frequency activity track task dynamics and predict performance in controlled decision making. Saskia Haegens, Yagna Pathak, Elliot Smith, Charles Mikell, Garrett Banks, Mark Yates, Kelly Bijanki, Catherine Schevon, Guy McKhann, Charles Schroeder, Sameer Sheth. Psychophysiology. 2021. 

Neuronal firing and waveform alterations through ictal recruitment in humans. Edward Merricks, Elliot Smith, Ronald Emerson, Lisa Bateman, Guy McKhann, Robert Goodman, Sameer Sheth, Bradley Greger, Paul House, Andrew Trevelyan, Catherine Schevon. Journal of Neuroscience. 2020. 

Dual mechanisms of high frequency oscillations in human rhythmic onset seizures. Elliot Smith, Edward Merricks, Jyun-You Liou, Camilla Casadei, Lucia Melloni, Thomas Thesen, Daniel Friedman, Werner Doyle, Ronald Emerson, Robert Goodman, Guy McKhann, Sameer Sheth, John Rolston, Catherine Scehvon. Scientific Reports. 2020. 

A systematic exploration of parameters affecting evoked intracranial potentials in patients with epilepsy. Bornali Kundu, Tyler Davis, Brian Philip, Elliot Smith, Amir Arain, Angela Peters, Blake Newman, Christopher Butson, John Rolston. Brain Stimulation. 2020. 

A model for focal seizure onset, propagation, evolution, and progression. Jyun-you Liou, Elliot Smith, Lisa Bateman, Samuel Bruce, Guy McKhann, Robert Goodman, Ronald Emerson, Catherine Schevon, Larry Abbott. eLife. 2020. 

Single neuron representations of spatial targets in humans. Melina Tsitsiklis, Jonathan Miller, Salman Qasim, Cory Inman, Robert Gross, Jon Willie, Elliot Smith, Sameer Sheth, Catherine Schevon, Michael Sperling, Ashwini Sharan, Joel Stein, Joshua Jacobs. Current Biology. 2020. 

Memory retrieval modulates spatial tuning of single neurons in the human entorhinal cortex. Salman Qasim, Jonathan Miller, Cory Inman, Robert Gross, Jon Willie, Bradley Lega, Jui-Jui Lin, Ashwini Sharan, Chengyuan Wu, Michael Sperling, Sameer Sheth, Guy McKhann, Elliot H Smith, Catherine Schevon, Joel Stein, Joshua Jacobs. Nature Neuroscience. 2019. 

Hierarchical encoding of attended auditory objects in multi-talker speech perception. James O’Sullivan, Jose Herrero, Elliot Smith, Catherine Schevon, Guy McKhann, Sameer Sheth, Ashesh Mehta, Nima Mesgarani. Neuron. 2019. 

Widespread temporal coding of cognitive control in human prefrontal cortex. Elliot Smith, Guillermo Horga, Mark Yates, Charles Mikell, Garrett Banks, Yagna Pathak, Catherine Schevon, Guy McKhann, Benjamin Hayden, Matthew Botvinick, Sameer Sheth. Nature Neuroscience. 2019. 

Risk of seizures induced by intracranial research stimulation: analysis of 770 stimulation sessions. Hannah E Goldstein, Elliot Smith, Robert Gross, Barbara Jobst, Bradley Lega, Michael Sperling, Gregory Worrell, Kareem Zaghloul, Paul Wanda, Michael Kahana, Daniel Rizzuto, Catherine Schevon, Guy M McKhann, Sameer Sheth. Journal of Neural Engineering. 2019. 

Reduced repertoire of cortical microstates and neuronal ensembles in medically-induced loss of consciousness. Michael Wenzel, Shuting Han, Elliot Smith, Hoel Erik, Bradley Greger, Paul House, Rafael Yuste. Cell Systems. 2019. 

Role of inhibitory control in modulating focal seizure spread. Jyunyou Liou, Hongtao Ma, Michael Wenzel, Mingrui Zhao, Eliza Baird-Daniel, Elliot Smith, Andy Daniel, Ronald Emerson, Raphael Yuste, Theodore Schwartz, and Catherine Schevon. Brain. 2018. 

Multivariate regression methods for estimating velocity of ictal discharges from human microelectrode recordings. Jyunyou Liou, Elliot Smith, Lisa Bateman, Bradley Greger, Tyler Davis, Spencer Kellis, Paul House, and Catherine Schevon. Journal of Neural Engineering. 2017. 

The ictal wavefront is the spatiotemporal source of discharges during spontaneous human seizures. Elliot Smith, Jyunyou Liou, Tyler Davis, Ed Merricks, Shennan Weiss, Bradley Greger, Spencer Kellis, Paul House, Guy McKhann, Robert Goodman, Lisa Bateman, Andy Trevelyan, and Catherine Schevon. Nature Communications. 2016. 

Feedback-dependent representation of reinforcement-related information in human medial and lateral prefrontal cortex. Elliot Smith, Garrett Banks, Charles Mikell, Sydney Cash, Shaun Patel, Emad Eskandar, and Sameer Sheth. Journal of Neuroscience. 2015. 

Single unit action potentials in humans and the effect of seizure activity. Edward M. Merricks, Elliot H. Smith, Guy M. McKhann II, Robert R. Goodman, Lisa M. Bateman, Ronald G. Emerson, Catherine A. Schevon, and Andrew J. Trevelyan. Brain. 2015. 

Decoding stimulus identity from action potentials and local field potentials along the ventral auditory stream in the awake primate: implications for cortical neuroprostheses. Elliot Smith, Spencer Kellis, Paul House and Bradley Greger. Journal of Neural Engineering. 2013. 

selected reviews and commentary 

Towards a mechanistic understanding of epileptic networks. Elliot Smith and Catherine Schevon. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. 2017. 

Temporal processing in the auditory core: transformation or segregation? Elliot Smith. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2011. 

selected refereed conference proceedings 

Neuronal Activity in Human Anterior Cingulate Cortex Modulates with Internal Cognitive State During Multi-Source Interference Task. Samuel Sklar, Matthew Walmer, Pierre Sacre, Catherine Schevon, Shraddha Srinivasan, Garrett Banks, Mark Yates, Guy McKhann, Sameer Sheth, Sridevi Sarma, Elliot Smith. IEEE EMBS. 2017. 

Information transfer along the ventral auditory stream. Elliot Smith, Spencer Kellis, Paul House, and Bradley Greger. IEEE Engineering in Biomedical Science. 2012


the role of distributional reinforcement learning in human neurons during impulsive choices [NIH R01 MH128187 (Smith)]

This project seeks to establish the presence of distributional representations of reward prediction in populations of neurons in the human prefrontal cortex and mesial temporal lobe while they make more or less impulsive choices.

mapping algorithmic state space in the human brain [NIH U01 NS121472 (Sheth)]

The project addresses the neural basis of cognitive flexibility that allows us to perform complex tasks guided by a set of rules and behave appropriately in novel situations when the rules are changed, relying on intracranial recordings from human subjects.

Modeling the effect of artificial nature exposure on brain health in bed-bound populations using variational autoencoders [UofU Data Science Intitiative 4583 (Smith)]

The proposed research leverages multimodal physiology, including direct electrical recordings from the human brain and variational autoencoder technology, to quantify and recreate a predictive model of how the human brain generates improved mood and reduced stress.



  • Shervin Rahimpour, MD
  • Ben Shofty, MD, PhD
  • Cory Inman, PhD
  • Tyler Davis, MD, PhD
  • Matt Euler,  PhD

    algorithmic space & distributional RL

  • Sameer Sheth, MD, PhD
  • Matthew Botvinick, MD, PhD
  • Zeb Kurth-Nelson, PhD
  • Timothy Muller, MD, PhD
  • Steven Kennerley, PhD
  • Nanthia Suthana, PhD
  • Josh Jacobs, PhD
  • Tim Behrens, PhD
  • Itzhak Fried, MD

    seizures & consciousness

  • Catherine Schevon, MD, PhD
  • Jyun-you Liou, MD, PhD
  • Ryley Parrish, PhD
  • John Rolston, MD, PhD
  • Chuck Mikell, MD
  • Sima Mofakham, PhD