Our main research focus is the structure and function of sensory cortex with special emphasis on plasticity (its ability to change its structure and function). We believe that plasticity is a fundamental property that underlies both normal cortical function (from sensory processing to learning and memory) and cortical recovery from deprivation and injury. We therefore seek to investigate all of these aspects of plasticity.
Our research philosophy is to study sensory cortex using an integrative, in-vivo approach. The integrative approach entails studying the cortex at multiple levels and at different temporal and spatial scales- including behavior, neuronal assemblies, neuronal circuits, neurovascular interactions, single neurons, molecules and genes, and therefore calls for the application of multiple techniques. These include high-resolution functional imaging, blood-flow imaging, modulated imaging, neuronal recording with electrode arrays, neuronal tract-tracing, histology, pharmacology, genetic manipulations and behavioral techniques.
Our animal model is the rodent sensory cortex (mice and rats). Most of our research in recent years has been focused on the somatosensory system, especially the popular 'barrel cortex' sub-region that contain exquisite anatomical and functional 'maps' of the facial whiskers representations. Currently, we are also expanding to other sensory systems including the auditory and visual cortices.

Examples of our research: (click for details)

1) Click here for our emerging view on the large scale functional and anatomical organization of somatosensory cortex.

2) Click here for a new type of plasticity: how stimulation of a single whisker can completely protect the cortex from an impending ischemic stroke.

3) Click here for plasticity induced by transferring animals from their cages to our naturalistic habitat.

4) Click here for a clip showing the 3 phases (intial dip, overshoot and undershoot) of the whisker functional representation evoked within barrel cortex following 1 second of single whisker activation. Based on Chen-Bee et al. (2007).