Mark Andrew Stopfer, Ph.D.
Section on Sensory Coding and Neural Ensembles
All animals need to know what is going on in the world around them; thus, brain mechanisms have evolved to gather and organize sensory information in order to build transient and sometimes enduring internal representations of the environment. Using relatively simple animals and focusing primarily on olfaction and gustation, we combine electrophysiological, anatomical, behavioral, and other techniques to examine the ways in which intact neural circuits, driven by sensory stimuli, process information. In the past year, we investigated mechanisms, including transient oscillatory synchronization and slow temporal firing patterns of ensembles of neurons, that underlie information coding and decoding and how spontaneous activity arises in a sensory system, how it is regulated, and how innate sensory preferences are determined. Our work reveals basic mechanisms by which sensory information is transformed, stabilized, and compared as it makes its way through the nervous system.
Dr. Mark Stopfer received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University where, with Dr. Tom Carew, he applied behavioral and electrophysiological techniques to study mechanisms underlying simple forms of learning. He then joined Dr. Gilles Laurent's laboratory at the California Institute of Technology where he examined the information processing properties that emerge within ensembles of neurons, focusing particularly upon oscillatory and synchronous neural activity. Dr. Stopfer came to NIH in 2002. His laboratory studies neural ensemble mechanisms underlying sensory coding in relatively simple animals.
Shimizu K, Stopfer M. A Population of Projection Neurons that Inhibits the Lateral Horn but Excites the Antennal Lobe through Chemical Synapses in Drosophila. Front Neural Circuits. 2017;11:30.
Gupta N, Singh SS, Stopfer M. Oscillatory integration windows in neurons. Nat Commun. 2016;7:13808.
Reiter S, Campillo Rodriguez C, Sun K, Stopfer M. Spatiotemporal Coding of Individual Chemicals by the Gustatory System. J Neurosci. 2015;35(35):12309-21.
Aldworth ZN, Stopfer MA. Trade-off between information format and capacity in the olfactory system. J Neurosci. 2015;35(4):1521-9.
Gupta N, Stopfer M. A temporal channel for information in sparse sensory coding. Curr Biol. 2014;24(19):2247-56.
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This page was last updated on November 11th, 2020