Richard Born, M.D.
Professor of Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology
Warren Alpert Building, Room 218
200 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Fax: 617 432 1321
Visit my lab page here.
Goal: We seek to understand the circuitry of the mammalian cerebral cortex and how it endows us with the ability to see . . . and hear and think and talk.
Approach: We study visual cortex of alert monkeys trained to report specific aspects of their visual experience. This allows us to define the neural correlates of specific percepts and then study their underlying mechanisms by activating or inactivating components of the circuit.
Techniques: Our primary tools are extracellular electrophysiology—both with single electrodes and multi-electrode arrays—and psychophysics. They are complemented by techniques that allow us to dissect and probe cortical circuitry:
· circuit tracing with genetically modified rabies viruses
· microstimulation to insert specific signals into cortical circuits
· cortical cooling (cryoloops) to reversibly inactivate circuit elements
· microarrays to identify molecular markers of neuronal subtypes
· optogenetics to improve the spatial and temporal specificity with which we can manipulate circuits
1. Dissecting parallel pathways. We have used reversible inactivation to show that MT neurons inherit tuning for direction and depth (binocular disparity) via independent, parallel pathways (Ponce et al. 2008). We are currently exploring the perceptual ramifications of this processing strategy (Smolyanskaya). We are also examining how these pathways interact in the context of multi-sensory integration and feature attention (Ruff).
2. Probing cortico-cortical feedback. Two projects in the lab are aimed at deciphering this ubiquitous, but poorly understood, aspect of cortical connectivity. We are studying morphological and molecular signatures of feedback neurons, the ultimate goal being to define molecular markers that distinguish feedback from other cortical neurons so that they may be selectively manipulated (Berezovskii and Nassi). We are also reversibly inactivating feedback from areas V2 and V3 to V1 and then recording from V1 with multi-electrode arrays in alert monkeys in order to understand its functional role (Nassi).
For a complete listing of publications click here.
Last Update: 11/7/2013