W Rowland Taylor, Ph.D.
Research Interests: Neural circuits, synaptic transmission, sensory processing in the visual system, neural modeling.
Dr Taylor received his BSc. degree in Physiology and Biochemistry at the University of New South Wales, and his Ph.D in Neuroscience in 1987 from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, where he worked with the late Peter W. Gage. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF and Stanford University, before moving to Germany, where he was awarded a von Humboldt Research Fellowship and became a Group leader at the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt. He returned to the Australian National University in 1997 and founded his own laboratory. In 2002, he accepted a position as an Associate Scientist at the Neurological Science Institute at OHSU, and later moved to the Casey Eye Institute where he is currently a Research Professor.
Summary of Current Research
The Taylor laboratory studies the functional properties of discrete neural circuits within the retina. Our aim is to understand at the synaptic level, what information is encoded by specific circuits, and how excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs interact to generate the circuit properties. The mammalian retina is an excellent model system for such studies, since it is readily isolated as a completely intact neural network that can be maintained in vitro for many hours, and can be stimulated with computer-generated images. We make electrophysiological recordings of action-potentials, and synaptic currents elicited by light stimuli, and use immunohistochemistry to map the occurrence and distribution of proteins within the retinal circuits. These anatomical and electrophysiological results provide the basis for constructing realistic computer-models of the neural circuits that can be used to test hypotheses regarding function, and make quantitative predictions that can be tested by further experiments.
"Distinct roles for inhibition in spatial and temporal tuning of local edge detectors in the rabbit retina,"
"Kainate receptors mediate synaptic input to transient and sustained OFF visual pathways in primate retina,"
"Inhibitory mechanisms that generate centre and surround properties in ON and OFF brisk-sustained ganglion cells in the rabbit retina,"
"Nav1.1 channels in axon initial segments of bipolar cells augment input to magnocellular visual pathways in the primate retina,"
"Direction selectivity in the retina: Symmetry and asymmetry in structure and function,"