The Faculty


Observational and theoretical approaches to how the brain encodes and stores information


PhD, University of Manitoba

BPHYS Student

Vaughn Spurrier

Research Interests

  • Cellular & Molecular
  • Computational & Theoretical
  • Development & Plasticity
  • Systems / Behavior / Cognitive

Neurons do not work in isolation but rather operate together, within local interconnected circuits. Our lab uses the latest technology in microscopy to allow us to examine the long standing questions of how information is encoded and stored in the neocortex, at the level of the functional neuronal circuit. Other techniques are limited to the examination of either large brain regions, missing the resolution needed to analyze the underlying mechanisms, or to single neurons, missing the activity of the circuit in which the neurons are embedded. Experiments at the circuit level are essential to answering these questions because studies in which single or even a few cells are monitored fundamentally miss the emergent properties of these circuits.

Select Publications

MacLean JN, Cowley KC, Schmidt BJ. (1998) NMDA receptor-mediated oscillatory activity in the neonatal rat spinal cord is serotonin dependent. J Neurophysiol. 79:2804-8. PubMed PMID: 9582246.

Zhang Y, MacLean JN, An WF, Lanning CC, Harris-Warrick RM. (2003) KChIP1 and frequenin modify shal-evoked potassium currents in pyloric neurons in the lobster stomatogastric ganglion. J Neurophysiol. 89:1902-9. PMID: 12612050.

MacLean, J.N., Zhang, Y., Johnson, B.J. and Harris-Warrick, R.M. (2003) Activity-Independent Homeostasis in Rhythmically Active Neurons. Neuron 37: 109-120. PMID: 12526777

MacLean, J.N., Ying Zhang, Marie L Goeritz, Richard Casey, Ricardo Oliva, John Guckenheimer, and Ronald M. Harris-Warrick. (2005) Activity-Independent Co-Regulation of IA and Ih in Rhythmically Active Neurons. J. Neurophysiol. 94: 3601-3617. PMID: 16049145

Yuste R, MacLean JN, Smith J, Lansner A. (2005). The cortex as a central pattern generator. Nat Rev Neurosci. 6:477-83. PMID: 15928717

MacLean, J. N., Watson, B. O., Aaron, G. B., and Yuste, R. (2005) Internal dynamics determine the cortical response to thalamic stimulation. Neuron. 48: 811-823. PMID: 16337918

MacLean, J. N., Fenstermaker, V., Watson, B. O., and Yuste, R. (2006) A Mouse Visual Thalamocortical Slice. Nature Methods. 3: 129-134. PMID: 16432523.

Hoffman KL, Battaglia FP, Harris K, MacLean JN, Marshall L, Mehta MR. (2007) The upshot of up states in the neocortex: from slow oscillations to memory formation. J Neurosci., 27: 11838-41. PMID: 17978020

Watson BO, MacLean JN, Yuste R (2008) UP States Protect Ongoing Cortical Activity from Thalamic Inputs. PLoS ONE 3(12): e3971. PMCID: PMC2597736

N. Lei, B. O. Watson, J. N. MacLean, R. Yuste, and K. L. Shepard, (2008) "A 256-by-256 CMOS microelectrode array for extracellular stimulation of acute brain slices," Digest of Technical Papers, International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

Neubauer, F.B. and MacLean, J.N., (2009). Calcium Imaging in Neuroscience. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences A21391. John Wiley & Sons Ltd Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ, UK

Yuste, R., MacLean, J.N., Vogelstein, J and Paninsky L., (2010) Imaging Action Potentials with Calcium Indicators Imaging Neurons a Laboratory Manual (3rd ed). Rafael Yuste and Arthur Konnerth (eds), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York. PMID: 21807854

Sadovsky AJ, Kruskal PB, Kimmel JM, Ostmeyer J, Neubauer FB, Maclean JN. (2011) Heuristically optimal path scanning for high-speed multiphoton circuit imaging. J Neurophysiol. 106(3):1591-8. PMID: 21715667 PMCID: PMC3174822

Luczak A, Maclean JN. (2012) Default activity patterns at the neocortical microcircuit level. Front Integr Neurosci. 6:30. PMID: 22701405. PMCID: PMC3373160

Piochon C, Kruskal P, MacLean JN, Hansel C. Non-Hebbian spike-timing-dependent plasticity in cerebellar circuits. Front Neural Circuits. 2012;6:124. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2012.00124. PMCID: PMC3542521