C. Lee Cox, PhD

  • Faculty, Training Faculty, Behavioral & Systems, Cellular & Molecular

Chair, Physiology
Professor, Physiology

Ph.D., 1993, University of California, Riverside

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 2201E Biomedical and Physical Sciences
 517-884-5060
 coxclee@msu.edu

Lab Website
Physiology Directory

Research Interests

The underlying theme of our research is an interest in the cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity. Our research is concentrated on the neurophysiology and pharmacology of neocortical and thalamic neurons in the mammalian central nervous system. These studies focus on thalamocortical circuits, because of the critical relationship of the neocortex and thalamus in sensory processing, behavioral arousal, attention and certain pathophysiological conditions such as epilepsy. While both the thalamus and neocortex are complicated structures individually, they also form an intricate, reciprocal relationship that is critical for understanding sensory/motor/associative processing at both the cellular and systems level. The importance of this works lies in the fact that the majority of behavioral activities including arousal, attention, sensory perception, learning and memory result from a concerted effort by multiple neuronal systems. Thus, information integration at the single cell level is very critical, as well as the role of these individual cells in circuit based activities. Long-lasting modifications in neuronal excitability (i.e., neuromodulation, synaptic plasticity) have also been hypothesized to be the cellular correlates underlying these behavioral activities.

The work in our lab addresses four basic issues:

  • functional organization of sensory neocortex and thalamus
  • thalamocortical interaction and modulation
  • brainstem regulation of thalamic/cortical neuron excitability
  • integration of thalamocortical and intracortical information in the neocortex