W. Martin Usrey, Ph.D.
Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior, College of Biological Sciences
Center for Neuroscience
1544 Newton Court
Davis, CA 95618
Clinical & Research Interests
W. Martin Usrey’s laboratory uses anatomical and physiological tools to study the functional organization of the mammalian visual system. In particular, his lab is 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 their research is to understand the neural circuitry responsible for generating these selective responses. In addition, they are also investigating the dynamics of these neural circuits to determine what role activity patterns play in influencing neuronal responses.
In an ongoing study, they 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, they are using multielectrode arrays to record the responses of neurons that are synaptically connected are discovering the rules that govern the connections from one level to the next, and how these connections determine new visual response properties.
The lab’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Durham, North Carolina
UC San Diego
San Diego, California
Animal Physiology; Anthropology
Harvard Medical School
Select Recent Publications
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 W (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.
Briggs F, and Usrey WM. (2007) Temporal properties of feedforward and feedback pathways between the thalamus and visual cortex. Thalamus and Related Systems 3:133-139.
Alitto HJ, Weyand TG, and Usrey WM (2005) Distinct properties of visually evoked bursts in the lateral geniculate nucleus. Journal of Neuroscience 25:514-523.
Alitto HJ, and Usrey WM (2005) Dynamic properties of thalamic neurons for vision. Progress in Brain Research 149:83-90.
Moore BD, Alitto HJ, and Usrey WM (2005) Orientation tuning, but not direction selectivity, is invariant to temporal frequency in primary visual cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 94:1336-1345.
Alitto HJ, and Usrey WM (2004) The influence of contrast on orientation and temporal frequency tuning in visual cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 91:2797-2808.
Alitto HJ, and Usrey WM (2003) Corticothalamic feedback and sensory processing. (2003) Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 13:440-445.
Usrey WM, Sceniak MP, and Chapman B (2003) Receptive fields and response properties of neurons in layer 4 of visual cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 89: 1003-1015.
Usrey WM. (2002) The role of spike timing for thalamocortical processing. Curr Opin Neurobiol 12:411-417.
Usrey WM. (2002) Spike timing and visual processing in the retinogeniculocortical pathway. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 357:1729-1737.
Reppas JB, Usrey WM, and Reid RC (2002) Saccadic eye movements modulate visual responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus. Neuron 35:961-974.
Alonso J-M, Usrey WM, and Reid RC (2001) Rules of connection for neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 21:4002-4015.
Usrey WM, Alonso J-M, and Reid RC (2000) Synaptic interactions between thalamic inputs to simple cells in visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 20:5461-5467.