This year’s Pepose Award in Vision Sciences, funded by an endowment from Brandeis graduates Jay Pepose (’75) and his wife, Susan Feigenbaum (’74), will be awarded to Michael Stryker, the William Francis Ganong Professor of Physiology at UCSF. Dr. Stryker, who has been a faculty member at ‘SF since 1978, has been at the forefront of vision research for decades. His lab has used a variety of animal models to probe cortical development and plasticity in the visual system, and developed a variety of techniques to analyze and measure these changes, often resulting in images that are visually inspiring in their own right (Figure, below).
As a postdoc at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Stryker worked with Nobel Laureates Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel, whose groundbreaking research using the visual cortex of cats provided a first glimpse into cortical organization, development, and plasticity. By studying how the responsiveness of neurons in visual cortex changes as a result of visual deprivation, Hubel and Wiesel pioneered a model for developmental neurobiology and introduced us to concepts like ocular dominance, orientation columns, and critical periods, a foundation upon which Dr. Stryker has built much in the subsequent decades: describing the arrangement of orientation maps in pinwheels; probing the role of spontaneous retinal activity in producing these maps; highlighting the importance of ongoing developmental activity using visual deprivation and pharmacological activity blockades; and more recently examining the molecular substrates of these changes using the genetically accessible murine model. His career spans the visual field from its foundational work to the most modern, and with no end in sight!
Join us on March 12, 3:45 pm in Gersetnzang 121 as he accepts the award and delivers a public lecture on “Rewiring the Brain: Mechanisms of Competition and Recovery of Function in the Mammalian Cortex“.