Alexander Swain

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Dissertation Research

I am currently investigating the role of inhibition in the development of visual perception. In particular, we use transgenic mice with ErbB4 receptor tyrosine kinase knocked out selectively in parvalbumin positive (PV+) inhibitory neurons to effectively hold the neurons immature. Accumulating evidence increasingly suggests that PV+ inhibitory neurons play an integral role in the development of adult-level acuity in mice, along with regulating the tiing of the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity (a crucial time period where the circuits for binocular vision are established). Currently, I am assessing the visual acuity of ErbB4-knock out (KO) mice compared to their WT counterparts through behavioral paradigms. In the future, I will be using 2-photon calcium imaging to asses responses of exciteatory neurons to visual stimuli in awake, behaving mice. Ultimately, we want to understand the mechanisms by which the neural circuity in V1 are disrupted in mice with stunted inhibitory neuron development.

Dissertation Mentor

Sandra Kuhlman

Education & Training

  • B.S. Biology, Neuroscience (Minor), Hope College, Holland MI 2016

Research Categories

Representative Publications

Brian B. Jeon, Alex D. Swain, Jeffrey T. Good, Steven M. Chase and Sandra J. Kuhlman. Feature Selectivity is Stable in Primary Visual Cortex across a Range of Spatial Frequencies. Scientific Reports (2018) 8:15288.