Neal Barmack, PhD


Primary Affiliation

Physiology & Pharmacology Department

Program Affiliation

Physiology & Pharmacology

Background & Education



Dr. Barmack investigates how the circuitry of the cerebellum processes sensory information from the vestibular system. He has recorded from and labeled each of the seven neuronal cell types in the cerebellum in anesthetized mice while the mouse is vestibularly stimulated. He and his collaborators have shown that the key vestibular signal that accounts for the discharge of the output neuron in the cerebellum, the Purkinje cell, is conveyed to the cerebellum by vestibularly sensitive "climbing fibers." This climbing fiber signal not only evokes "complex spikes" in Purkinje cells. It also is responsible for modulating Purkinje cell "simple spikes" through the actions of cerebellar inhibitory interneurons. The Barmack laboratory is currently using cell specific, virally-mediated short interference RNA methods to interfere with signaling between specific classes of inhibitory interneurons and Purkinje cells. These studies have three goals: 1) Understand how the cerebellum processes sensory information, 2) Learn how the cerebellum contributes to sensory-motor adaptation, and 3) Apply knowledge to the treatment of cerebellar disorders; in particular spino-cerebellar ataxia (SCA).

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Contact Information

Neal Barmack, Ph.D.
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Oregon Health & Science University
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR  97239
Phone: (503) 418-2560
Fax: (503) 494-4352