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W. Martin Usrey
Our laboratory uses anatomical and physiological tools to study the functional organization of the mammalian visual system. In particular, we are interested in how visual information is processed and transmitted from one level of the visual pathway to the next. Along the visual pathway, from retina to extrastriate cortex, neurons become increasingly selective to the patterns of light - the visual stimulus - that are excitatory. The goal of our laboratory is to understand the neural circuitry responsible for generating these selective responses. In addition, we are investigating the dynamics of these neural circuits to determine what role activity patterns play in influencing neuronal responses.
Traditionally, systems neuroscience has relied on single electrodes to characterize the activity of individual neurons in the brain. For researchers studying the visual system, the activity of individual neurons is recorded while animals are presented with various visual stimuli. By correlating neural responses with visual stimuli, one can ascertain the optimal visual stimulus for any given neuron. While this approach has proven extremely successful over the years and has provided the foundation for our understanding of the neural mechanisms of vision, the single- electrode approach is limited in the extent that we can only infer how populations of neurons behave together in a neural network. With recent progress in multielectrode technology, visual neuroscience is now primed and ready for the next major conceptual advancement: discovering how populations of neurons interact to code and communicate information. In particular, we need to determine the patterns of synaptic activity that convey information within each brain region as well as from one region to the next.
In an ongoing study, we are investigating the relationship between ascending and descending connections made between the thalamus and visual cortex. In an effort to determine the functional role(s) of these connections, we are using multielectrode arrays to record the responses of neurons that are synaptically connected. By recording simultaneously the responses of synaptically connected neurons, in vivo, we can relate neural connection to neural function. In other words, we can discover the rules that govern the connections from one level to the next, and how these connections determine new visual response properties.
Our research is funded by the NIH, the NSF, the McKnight Foundation, the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Teaching Interests: Systems Neuroscience, Neurobiology of Vision, Neuroanatomy, Human Physiology. Courses Taught: NSC 201 Neuroanatomy - Term(s): Fall NSC 222 Systems Neuroscience - Term(s): Winter NPB 101 Human Physiology - Term(s): Winter NSC 261B Visual Neuroscience - Term(s): Winter
(Selected from 55 publications)
Moore BD, Kiley CW, Sun C, and Usrey WM. (2011) Rapid plasticity of visual responses in the adult lateral geniculate nucleus. Neuron 71:812-819.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2011) Distinct mechanisms for size tuning in primate visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 31:12644-12649.
Lankow BS, and Usrey WM. (2011) Visual processing in the monkey. In: Monkeys: Biology, Behavior and Disorders. RM Williams (Ed). pp 181-197.Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2011) Corticogeniculate feedback and parallel processing in the primate visual system. Journal of Physiology 589:33-40.
Alitto HJ, Moore BD, Rathbun DL, and Usrey WM. (2011) A comparison of visual responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus of alert and anesthetized macaque monkeys. Journal of Physiology 589:87-99.
Rathbun DL, Warland DK, and Usrey WM (2010). Spike timing and information transmission at retinogeniculate synapses. Journal of Neuroscience (in press).
Briggs F, and Usrey WM (2010). Corticogeniculate feedback and parallel processing in the primate visual system. Journal of Physiology [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20724361.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM (2010). Corticogeniculate feedback and parallel processing in the primate visual system. Journal of Physiology [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20724361
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2009) Parallel processing in the corticogeniculate pathay. Neuron 62:135-146.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2008) Emerging views of corticothalamic function. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 18:403-407.
Alitto HJ, and Usrey WM. (2008) Origin and dynamics of extraclassical suppression in the lateral geniculate nucleus. Neuron 57:135-146.
Rathbun DL, and Usrey WM. (2008) The geniculo-striate pathway. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Eds, Binder MD, Hirokawa N, Windhorst U, and Hirsch MC. Springer-Verlag. Heidelberg, Germany.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2008) Corticothalamic connections: structure and function. In: Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, 4th ed. Elsevier. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Reid RC, and Usrey WM. (2008) Vision. In: Fundamental Neuroscience, 3rd Edition. Eds, Squire LR, Roberts JL, Spitzer NC, Zigmond MJ, McConnell SK, Bloom FE. Academic Press. San Diego.
Briggs F and Usrey WM (2007) Cortical activity influences geniculocortical spike efficacy. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 1:1-5. Rathbun DL, Alitto HJ, Weyand TG, and Usrey WM. (2007) Interspike interval analysis of retinal ganglion cell receptive fields. Journal of Neurophysiology 98:911-919.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2007) A fast, reciprocal pathway between the lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 27:5431-5436.
Center for Neuroscience Neuroscience
|Caitlin Kiley||(530) email@example.com|
Postdocs and Research Personnel
|Katie Neverkovec, Deborah van der List, Chao Sun, Jim Stone, Natalie Kania, Connor Weatherford, Payam Pakmanesh, Dan Sperka, Jeff Johnson, Lauren Lietz|
|Bart Moore (PhD 2010), Postdoc at UC Berkeley|
|Daniel Rathbun (PhD 2009), Postdoc at University of Tubingen|
|Corey Ziemba (BS 2008), Graduate Student New York University|
|Henry Alitto (PhD 2007), Postdoc at UC Berkeley|
|Michael Sceniak, PhD (Postdoc 2002), Case Western University|
|Katie Neverkovec||Lab Manager||(530)firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dan Sperka||Computer Specialist||(530)email@example.com|