Dr. David Ferster

Dr. David Ferster is the chair of the Neurobiology and Physiology Department at Northwestern University. His research focuses on the Mammalian Visual Cortex. The mammalian visual cortex performs a remarkable transformation of the information it receives from the eye. Neurons in the cortex are sensitive to the orientation, motion, depth and size of objects in ways that the eye is not, which means that the cortex extracts this information from the nonspecific input it receives from the eye. He is studying the neuronal mechanisms by which this cortex performs this transformation. Neuronal connections are traced within the cortex and their functions observed during normal vision by recording intracellularly from neurons in vivo using a patch recording method developed in the lab. His recent studies have focused on the manner in which excitatory and inhibitory inputs interact, the mechanisms of oscillatory firing and the origin of orientation and direction selectivity in cortical cells.