College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Neurobiology, Biophysics, and Development


Our groups are dedicated to studying sensory information processing andthe control of muscle activity. As with the study of evolution, we work at multiple levels, from biochemistry to behavior.




At the heart of cellular biology lies the study of protein structure and function. Our department contributes to this field through groups that study the function of ion channel proteins in bacteria and mitochondria, revealing the details of their molecular mechanism and their importance for cellular function.

Faculty & Research Interests

Ibrahim Z. Ades, Associate Professor; Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 1976. Regulatory processes that govern eukaryotic cell development.

Ricardo C. Araneda, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1997. Neuromodulation and sensory physiology of the olfactory system; mechanisms underlying the processing of olfactory
information in the context of behavior.

Dan Butts, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2000. Information processing in the visual pathway in the context of natural vision; role of time in the sensory coding; relationships between observable single-neuron physiology and system-level function.

Karen Carleton, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1987. Evolution of visual systems, visual communication and speciation, phototransduction, sensory genomics.

Catherine E. Carr, Professor; Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1984. Cellular mechanisms of sound localization in birds; evolution of the auditory system.

Avis H. Cohen, Professor (Joint appointment with Institute for systems research); Ph.D., Cornell University, 1977. Motor physiology and control; neuromorphic engineering; computational neuroscience with an emphasis on systems of coupled oscillators.

Marco Colombini, Professor; Ph.D., McGill University, 1974. Structure and mode of action of membrane transport systems; molecular basis for voltage control of channel-forming proteins.

William J. Higgins, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Florida State University, 1973. Neuromodulation; opiate receptors; intercellular communication among unicellular organisms.

William R. Jeffery, Professor; Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1971. Evolution of developmental mechanisms in chordates.

Patrick Kanold, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2000.  Mechanisms and circuits involved in the maturation of the cortical circuitry, development of patterned projection in the brain and the relation of synaptic maturation to critical periods, and development of the central auditory system.

Richard Payne, Professor; Ph.D., Australian National University, 1982. Mechanisms of visual excitation in photoreceptors by injecting messenger molecules into cells and monitoring intracellular calcium release and the activity of ionic channels.

Arthur N. Popper, Professor; Ph.D., CUNY Graduate Center, 1969. Function, development and evolution of the auditory system in non-mammalian vertebrates.

Elizabeth Quinlan, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1993. Development of the vertebrate visual system, cellular and molecular basis of learning and memory.

Jonathan Simon, Associate Professor (joint appointment with Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering); Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1990. Neural processing, auditory computation, neurophysiology.

Joshua Singer, Associate Professor; Ph.D. University of Washington, 1998. Synaptic transmission and information processing in small neural circuits; retinal neurophysiology.

Sergei Sukharev, Professor; Ph.D., Moscow State University, 1987. Molecular mechanisms of mechanosensation; mechano-activated ion channels, their structure and mechanisms of gating by membrane stretch.