Michael C Crair PhD

William Ziegler III Professor of Neurobiology and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science; Director, Graduate Studies

Research Interests

Neural circuit development; Synapse formation; Visual system development; Cortex development


Research Summary

In the brains of mammals, birds and invertebrates, the sensory world is organized into regular neuronal arrays or maps. Common examples are the map of body surface in somatosensory cortex (the so called "homunculus") and the representation of oriented bars or edges in visual cortex.

We are interested in understanding how genes ('nature') and the environment ('nurture') interact to guide the development of neuronal maps. Our research focuses on development of the visual and somatosensory systems. We employ a broad range of experimental techniques, including neuroanatomy, molecular biology and biochemistry, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology as well as optical imaging.

This array of approaches allows us to examine neural circuit development from many perspectives, and provides synergistic impetus to our exploration of the cellular and molecular mechanisms for sensory map development.


Selected Publications

  • Li H, Fertuzinhos S, Mohns E, Hnasko TS, Verhage M, Edwards R, Sestan N and Crair, MC, “Laminar and Columnar Development of Barrel Cortex Relies on Thalamocortical Neurotransmission”, Neuron, 2013 79:970-986 doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.06.043.
  • Ackman J, Burbridge T and Crair, MC. “Retinal Waves Coordinate Patterned Activity Throughout the Developing Visual System”, Nature, 2012 Oct 11;490(7419):219-25. doi: 10.1038/nature11529.
  • Zhang J, Ackman J, Xu H P, and Crair, MC. "Visual Map Development Depends on the Temporal Pattern of Binocular Activity in Mice". Nature Neuroscience 2011 doi:10.1038/nn.3007. PMID:22179110.
  • Xu HP, Furman M, Mineur YS, Chen H, King SL, Zenisek D, Zhou ZJ, Butts DA,Tian N, Picciotto MR and Crair MC, “An Instructive Role for Patterned Spontaneous Retinal Activity in Mouse Visual Map Development”, Neuron, 2011 70:1115-27. PMID:21689598.
  • Dhande OS, Hua EW, Guh E, Yeh J, Bhatt S, Zhang Y, Ruthazer ES, Feller MB, Crair MC. "Development of Single Retinofugal Axon Arbors in Normal and Beta2 Knock-Out Mice". Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 Mar 2; 31(9):3384-3399. PMID:21368050.
  • Xu HP, Chen H, Ding Q, Xie ZH, Chen L, Diao L, Wang P, Gan L, Crair MC, Tian N. "The immune protein CD3zeta is required for normal development of neural circuits in the retina". Neuron. 2010 Feb 25;65(4):503-15. PMID: 20188655.
  • Chandrasekaran AR, Furuta Y, Crair MC. "Consequences of axon guidance defects on the development of retinotopic receptive fields in the mouse colliculus." Journal of Physiology. 2009 Mar 1;587(Pt 5):953-63. Epub 2009 Jan 19. PMID: 19153163.
  • Plas DT, Dhande OS, Lopez JE, Murali D, Thaller C, Henkemeyer M, Furuta Y, Overbeek P, Crair MC. "Bone morphogenetic proteins, eye patterning, and retinocollicular map formation in the mouse." Journal of Neuroscience. 2008 Jul 9;28(28):7057-67. PMID: 18614674.
  • Iwasato T, Inan M, Kanki H, Erzurumlu RS, Itohara S, Crair MC. "Cortical adenylyl cyclase 1 is required for thalamocortical synapse maturation and aspects of layer IV barrel development." Journal of Neuroscience. 2008 Jun 4;28(23):5931-43. PMID: 18524897.

Edit Profile