Synaptic circuit organization of motor cortex: Synaptic circuits in motor and related areas of cortex engage in neural operations underlying diverse aspects of cognition and behavior – motor control, executive functions, working memory, sensorimotor integration, and more. A major goal of the lab is to understand the circuit organization across multiple levels, from ion channels to local circuits to large-scale networks and behavior. We use multiple circuit-analysis techniques, including in vivo stereotaxic delivery of viruses and tracers to label projection neurons, and circuit mapping based on in vitro optogenetic and glutamate-uncaging laser-scanning photostimulation (LSPS) combined with whole-cell electrophysiology to sample postsynaptic responses. Current projects include studies of corticothalamic, thalamocortical, and corticocortical connections in the extended network for sensorimotor integration.


In vivo analysis of cortical projection neurons: An ongoing effort in the lab is to build on knowledge gained from slice-based studies of cortical circuits to understand how these cells and circuits are involved in generating motor behavior. Our studies focus on applying a variety of methods to monitor (e.g. 2-photon imaging of genetically encoded calcium indicators; silicon probes) and manipulate (e.g. optogenetic/chemogenetic activation/silencing) the activities of cortical projection neurons such as corticospinal neurons.



Current: National Institutes of Health (NIH): National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Past: Whitehall, Simons, BRF, & Rett Syndrome Research Foundations; NIH (NIDCD, NIBIB)

Shepherd Lab

Department of Physiology & NUIN

Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University

303 East Chicago Avenue

Chicago, IL 60611

Mouse corticospinal motor cortex

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