(left to right): Vatsala Thirumalai, Kasandra Burgos, Shu-Ling Chiu, Kendall
Jensen, Holly Cline, Rebecca Ewald, Colin Akerman, Ed Ruthazer, Kim Bronson,
Front row: Ashkan Javaherian, Emiliano Rial Verde, Kurt
Carlos Aizenman, Pranav Sharma
Ph.D., University of
California at Berkeley, 1985
Sensory experience is required for normal brain development. The goal
of the research in my lab is to determine the mechanisms by which sensory
experience affects the development of brain structures and function.
We address these issues using in vivo imaging, electrophysiology and
manipulation of gene expression. We have discovered that neuronal activity
regulates the development of the visual system through a variety of
mechanisms, including changes in neuronal structure, synaptic strength,
synaptogeneis and gene expression. Visual system activity also engages
homeostatic mechanisms which maintain the function of the visual system
over a wide range of input levels.