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Senior Investigator

Mark A. Stopfer, Ph.D.

Section on Sensory Coding and Neural Ensembles

Building 35A Room 3E-623
Porter Neuroscience Research Center 35A Convent Drive MSC3715
Bethesda MD 20892
Office: 301-451-4534
Lab: 301-451-0924
Fax: (301) 402-4777

Dr. Stopfer received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University, where, with Tom Carew, he applied behavioral and electrophysiological techniques to study mechanisms underlying simple forms of learning. He then joined 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.

We study the basic rules populations of neurons use to process information. All animals need to know what is going on in the world around them. Brain mechanisms have thus evolved to gather and organize sensory information 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, computational, optogenetic, and other techniques to examine the ways in which intact neural circuits, driven by sensory stimuli, process information. Our work reveals basic mechanisms by which sensory information is transformed, stabilized, and compared, as it makes its way through the nervous system.

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  • Zane Aldworth, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    (301) 451-4535

  • Alejandra Boronat, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Yu-Shan Hung, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Brian Kim
    Predoctoral Fellow

  • Subhasis Ray, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Bo-Mi Song, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Kui Sun, M.D.
    (301) 451-4535

  • 1) Gupta, N., Singh, S.S., and Stopfer, M. (2016)
  • Oscillatory integration windows in neurons
  • Nature Communications, 7, 13808 doi: 10.1038/ncomms13808
  • 2) Aldworth, Z., and Stopfer, M (2015)
  • Tradeoff between information format and capacity in the olfactory system
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 35(4), 1521-1529
  • 3) Miyazaki, T., Lin, T.Y., Ito, K., Lee, C.H., and Stopfer, M (2015)
  • A gustatory second-order neuron that connects sucrose-sensitive primary neurons and a distinct region of the gnathal ganglion in the Drosophila brain
  • Journal of Neurogenetics, 29(2-3), 144-155
  • 4) Huston, S.J.*, Stopfer, M.*, Cassenaer, S., Aldworth, Z.N., and Laurent, G. (2015)
  • Neural encoding of odors during active sampling and in turbulent plumes
  • Neuron, 88(2), 403–418. *co-equal authors
  • 5) Reiter, S., Campillo Rodriguez C., Sun, K., and Stopfer, M. (2015)
  • Spatiotemporal coding of individual chemicals by the gustatory system.
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 35(35), 12309 –12321
  • 6) Gupta, N., and Stopfer, M. (2014)
  • A temporal channel for information in sparse sensory coding
  • Current Biology, 24, 2247-2256
  • 7) Joseph, J., Dunn, F.A., and Stopfer, M. (2012)
  • Spontaneous olfactory receptor neuron activity determines follower cell response properties.
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 2900-2910
  • 8) Gupta, N., and Stopfer, M. (2012)
  • Functional analysis of a higher olfactory center, the lateral horn
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 8138-8148
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