Gordon M Shepherd MD, DPhil

Professor of Neurobiology

Research Interests

Neuronal Dendrites; Dendritic Spines; Synaptic Organization; Olfactory System; Brain Microcircuits; Computational Neuroscience; Neuroinformatics; Functional Connectomes

Research Summary

The main research interest of this laboratory is in the neuron as a complex system and in the synaptic organization of neurons into microcircuits in the brain. We focus on the ways that information processing by the neuron takes place through an interplay of the geometry of dendritic branching, the mechanisms of transduction of synaptic or sensory signals, and contributions of passive and active membrane properties.

Extensive Research Description

We use mammalian olfaction as a model system because it has several distinct advantages: the olfactory bulb (OB) is one synapse from the site of sensation, the olfactory epithelium, with no thalamic relay; the OB has a three-layered cortical organization rather than the six layers found in other cortexes, which simplifies analysis of activity and connection patterns; and the OB is located on the dorsal surface, which allows access for in vivo imaging and manipulations. Our laboratory also contains a computational unit, which is used in parallel with the experiments to explore mechanisms of information processing in dendritic spines, dendritic trees and cortical microcircuits. Through support of the Human Brain Project, we are developing the SenseLab Project for the construction of databases for receptors and neurons to facilitate the integration of these multidisciplinary data into computational models of neurons and neuronal currents. .

Selected Publications

  • Sparse coding and lateral inhibition arising from balanced and unbalanced dendrodendritic excitation and inhibition. Yu Y, Migliore M, Hines ML, Shepherd GM. J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 8;34(41):13701-13. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1834-14.2014.
  • Distributed organization of a brain microcircuit analyzed by three-dimensional modeling: the olfactory bulb. Migliore M, Cavarretta F, Hines ML, Shepherd GM. Front Comput Neurosci. 2014 Apr 29;8:50. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2014.00050. eCollection 2014.
  • Shepherd GM. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Jul;1170:215-23. No abstract available. PMID: 19686140 [PubMed - in process]
  • Marenco L, Ascoli GA, Martone ME, Shepherd GM, Miller PL. Neuroinformatics. 2008 Sep;6(3):219-27. Epub 2008 Oct 31. PMID: 18975149 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Migliore M, Inzirillo C, Shepherd GM. Front Integr Neurosci. 2007;1:12. Epub 2007 Dec 30. PMID: 18958240 [PubMed - in process]
  • Lecoq J, Tiret P, Najac M, Shepherd GM, Greer CA, Charpak S. 2009. Odor-evoked oxygen consumption by action potential and synaptic transmission in the olfactory bulb. J Neurosci. 29:1424-33.
  • Nawroth JC, Greer CA, Chen WR, Laughlin SB, Shepherd GM. 2007. An energy budget for the olfactory glomerulus. J Neurosci. 27:9790-800.
  • Willhite DC, Nguyen KT, Masurkar AV, Greer CA, Shepherd GM, Chen WR. 2006. Viral tracing identifies distributed columnar organization in the olfactory bulb. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103:12592-7

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