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The Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences at the Univeristy of Chicago

Jay Goldberg, PhD Jay Goldberg, PhD
Professor Emeritus

Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences
The University of Chicago
947 E. 58th St., MC0926
Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: (773) 702-6373
Fax: (773) 702-1216
Office: AB17


Research Summary

The vestibular end organs inform the brain about head movements and head position. Central vestibular pathways use the information to produce reflex adjustment of the eyes, head, and body. Our goal is to understand the operation of the entire system in terms of its cellular components. To this end, a combined neurophysiological, morphological and behavioral approach is used. The research program ranges from biophysical studies of the isolated sensory organs to single-unit recordings in alert monkeys. The vestibular system offers two advantages. First, the coding of sensory information is considerably simpler than that occurring in visual, auditory or somatosensory systems. This allows us to study peripheral transduction mechanisms in a system where we have a good understanding of the kinds of information conveyed to the brain. Second, the presence of reflexes simplifies the functional interpretation of neuronal processing. At the same time, the reflexes have a number of interesting features, including voluntary control and adaptive plasticity.

Our recent studies led to several new ideas as to the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of vestibular transduction. To explore these ideas, we are doing biophysical studies of hair cells and afferent terminals. The end organs are provided with an efferent innervation arising in the brain. Having described the influence of efferent feedback on afferent activity, we are now exploring the cellular basis of efferent actions, as well as the functional circumstances leading to efferent activity.

Formerly the Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Physiology
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