Dr Rebecca Jordan

Investigating how the brain learns to predict the sensory world.

Dr Rebecca Jordan

Simons ESAT Fellow


1 George Square

Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ

Contact details

 Email: rjordan3@ed.ac.uk

Personal profile

  • 2023 - present: Simons ESAT Fellow
  • 2018 - 2023: Postdoctoral fellow, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Switzerland
  • 2018: PhD in neuroscience at the Francis Crick Institute
  • 2013: BA in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

Research Theme


We are remarkably capable of distinguishing sensory inputs caused by our own movements and very similar sensory inputs caused by external sources. To achieve this, our brains must learn to predict incoming sensory information. Our aim is to understand how the brain learns to predict the sensory world, with a particular focus on how the cortex and neuromodulatory systems work together to achieve this. To this end, we study the mouse brain at the neurophysiological level using a combination of virtual reality systems, electrophysiology, behaviour, and optical methods.

Our current main research focuses are:

  1. How the locus coeruleus integrates information, like prediction errors, to generate a meaningful output relevant for learning.
  2. How both cortical and neuromodulatory prediction errors act to drive cortical plasticity.
  3. How neuromodulatory and cortical activity is altered in mouse models of autism spectrum disorder, and what behavioural impact this has.

By answering these questions, we hope to drive a new understanding of how the brain learns to predict the sensory world, and how the process may be altered in  neurological disorders.


Selected Publications

Jordan, R. and Keller, G.B. 2022. The locus coeruleus broadcasts prediction errors across the cortex to promote sensorimotor plasticity. bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.11.08.515698

Vasilevskaya, A., Widmer, F.C., Keller, G.B., and Jordan, R., 2022. Locomotion-induced gain of visual responses cannot explain visuomotor mismatch responses in layer 2/3 of primary visual cortex. bioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.02.11.479795

Jordan, R., 2021. Optimized protocol for in vivo whole-cell recordings in head-fixed, awake behaving mice. STAR Protoc. 2, 100347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xpro.2021.100347

Jordan, R., and Keller, G.B., 2020. Opposing Influence of Top-down and Bottom-up Input on Excitatory Layer 2/3 Neurons in Mouse Primary Visual Cortex. Neuron. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2020.09.024

Jordan, R., Kollo, M., and Schaefer, A.T., 2018. Sniffing fast: paradoxical effects on odor concentration discrimination at the levels of olfactory bulb output and behavior. eNeuro ENEURO.0148-18.2018. https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0148-18.2018