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Welcome to the Crair Laboratory

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.