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Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF

Faculty - Michael Stryker, Ph.D.

Development and Plasticity of the Central Visual System

Research Description

Our laboratory's major interest is the in the mechanisms responsible for the development and plasticity of precise connections within the central nervous system, and particularly in the role of neural activity in this process. Most of the work of the laboratory is on the visual cortex of the mouse.   In normal development, neural connections to and within the visual cortex are refined to high precision through the action of activity-dependent mechanisms of neural plasticity in combination with specific molecular signals.  In our experiments, we induce activity-dependent plasticity experimentally through manipulations of genetics or experience or by pharmacological or neurophysiological intervention in order to discover what cellular mechanisms and what changes in cortical circuitry are responsible for rapid, long lasting changes in neuronal responses. We analyze these changes using microelectrode recordings, novel techniques for measurement of optical and metabolic signals related to neural activity, including 2-photon microscopy and intrinsic signal imaging, and anatomical and neurochemical tracing of connections.

Current experimental work in the laboratory focuses on four areas: (a) Understanding the coupling between the physiological and anatomical changes responsible for neuronal plasticity. (b) Understanding the cellular mechanisms of activity-dependent cortical plasticity, primarily through the use of transgenic mice. (c) Understanding the interaction between neural activity and  molecular cues in the formation of cortical maps. (d) Understanding the difference between the limited plasticity in the adult brain and the much greater plasticity during critical periods in early life. 

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Current Projects

See current experimental work listed above.

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Lab Members

Sebastian Espinosa, Postdoctoral Fellow
Megumi Kaneko, Postdoctoral Fellow
Yu Fu, Postdoctoral Fellow

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Selected Publications

Full list of Publications

Selected publications from 2008-2012

Espinosa, J.S. and Stryker, M.P. (2012) Development and plasticity of the primary visual cortex.  Neuron 75: 230-249.

Kaneko, M., Xie, Y., An, J.J., Stryker, M.P. and Xu, B.  (2012) Dendritic BDNF synthesis is required for late-phase spine maturation and recovery of cortical responses following sensory deprivation.  J. Neurosci. 32: 4790-4802

Kaneko, M., Cheetham, C.E.J., Lee, Y.-S., Silva, A.J., Stryker, M.P., and Fox, K. (2010) Constitutively active H-ras accelerates multiple forms of plasticity in developing visual cortex. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 19026-19031.

Southwell, D.G., Froemke, R.C., Alvarez-Buylla, A., Stryker, M.P., Gandhi, S.P. (2010) Cortical plasticity induced by inhibitory neuron transplantation. Science 237: 1145-1148.

Niell, C.M.and Stryker, M.P. (2010) Modulation of visual responses by behavioral state in mouse visual cortex.  Neuron 65: 472-479.

Sato, M., Stryker, M.P. (2010) Genomic imprinting of experience-dependent cortical plasticity by the ubiquitin ligase gene Ube3a.  Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 5611-5616. 

Triplett, J.W., Owens, M.T., Yamada, J., Lemke, G., Cang, J., Stryker, M.P. and Feldheim, D.A. (2009) Retinal input instructs alignment of visual topographic maps.  Cell 139: 175-185.

Ehninger, D., Li, W.,  Fox, K.D., Stryker, M.P. and Silva, A.J. (2008)  Reversing neurodevelopmental disorders in adults.  Neuron 60: 950-960.

Cang, J., Wang, L., Stryker, M.P. and Feldheim, D.A. (2008) Roles of ephrin-As and structured activity in the development of functional maps in the superior colliculus. J. Neurosci. 28: 11015-11023.

Gandhi, S., Yanagawa, Y. and Stryker, M.P. (2008) Delayed plasticity of inhibitory neurons in developing visual cortex. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 105: 16797-16802.

Sato, M. and Stryker, M.P. (2008) Distinctive Features of Adult Ocular Dominance Plasticity. J. Neurosci 28 :10278-10286

Niell, C.M.and Stryker, M.P. (2008) Highly selective receptive fields in mouse visual cortex.  J. Neurosci 28: 7520-7536.

Kaneko, M., Stellwagen, D., Malenka, R.C., and Stryker, M.P.  (2008). Tumor necrosis factor-alpha mediates one component of competitive, experience-dependent plasticity in developing visual cortex. Neuron 58: 673-680.

Kaneko, M., Hanover, J.L. England, P.M.. and Stryker, M.P. (2008) TrkB kinase is required for recovery, but not loss, of cortical responses following monocular deprivation.  Nature Neuroscience 11: 497-504

Cang*, J.C., Niell*, C.M., Liu, X., Pfeiffenberger, C., Feldheim, D.A. and Stryker, M.P., (2008) Selective Disruption of One Cartesian Axis of Cortical Maps and Receptive Fields byDeficiency in Ephrin-As and Structured Activity.  (* co-first authors). Neuron 57: 511-523.  

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Michael Stryker, Ph.D.





Physical Address

UCSF Mision Bay, Box 0444
675 Nelson Rising Lane, Room 415B
San Francisco, CA 94158

Other Websites

Center for Integrative Neuroscience

Vision Research