Robert M. Friedman, Ph.D.

  • Research Assistant Professor, Oregon National Primate Research Center


Robert Friedman, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Neuroscience at the ONPRC.

Dr. Friedman is interested in understanding cortical underpinnings of sensory perception. By comparing cortical responses in both visual and somatosensory cortices, a goal of this research is to reveal whether the cerebral cortex uses similar approaches to process different kinds of sensory information. To address this topic, the laboratory utilizes intracortical microstimulation, including optogenetics, infrared neural stimulation and electrical stimulation, along with intrinsic optical imaging and single unit electrophysiology in awake and anesthetized animals to probe cortical circuitry. Understanding how the cerebral cortex processes sensory information will lead to better brain-machine interfaces that could provide sensory substitution after spinal cord injury or blindness.

Dr. Friedman received his Ph.D. in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Florida in 1995. He continued his training in sensory systems neuroscience in the laboratory of Robert H. LaMotte at Yale University. From 2003 through 2015, he was a Senior Research Associate at Vanderbilt University working in the laboratory of Anna Roe, an affiliation that continued at OHSU. Since 2018 Dr. Friedman has been a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU – ONPRC.

Current projects:

-- Postnatal development of foveal visual processing in the cerebral cortex of rhesus macaques

-- Cortical representation of tactile finger sensation in rhesus macaques and squirrel monkeys

-- Development of wireless technology for optical imaging, neural recording, and optical stimulation in macaques for the study of natural behaviors

Education and training

    • B.S., 1984, Beloit College
    • Ph.D., 1995, University of Florida

Memberships and associations:

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Vision Sciences Society
  • American Physiological Society
  • • NIH NINDS Study Section. Special Emphasis Panel reviewing postdoctoral training fellowship proposals (2019-2020)

Areas of interest

  • Organization, Circuitry and Function of the Cerebral Cortex
  • Cortical Development and Aging
  • Visual Perception and Attention
  • Somesthesis
  • Sensory Motor Integration
  • Neuroimaging and Neurotechnology


Selected publications

  • Friedman RM, Chehade NG, Roe AW, Gharbawie OA (2020) Optical imaging reveals functional domains in primate sensorimotor cortex. J Neuroimage. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117188. PMID: 32711067
  • Friedman RM, *Morone KA, *Gharbawie OA, Roe AW (2020) Mapping mesoscale cortical connectivity in monkey sensorimotor cortex with optical imaging and microstimulation. J Comp Neurol. doi: 10.1002/cne.24918. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 32255200.
  • Zaraza D, Chernov MM, Friedman RM, Yang Y, Rogers JA, Roe AW (2020) Going wireless: an optical imaging and optogenetics system for use in awake behaving primates. Proc. SPIE 11227, Optogenetics and Optical Manipulation, 1122705 (20 February 2020); SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, CA.
  • Chernov, MM, Friedman RM, Chen G, Stoner GR, Roe AW (2018) Functionally specific optogenetic modulation in primate visual cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115:10505-10510. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1802018115. Epub 2018 Sep 26. PubMed PMID: 30257948; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6187135.
  • Roe AW, Winberry JE, Friedman RM (2017) Study of single and multidigit activation in monkey somatosensory cortex using voltage-sensitive dye imaging. Neurophotonics. 4(3):031219. doi: 10.1117/1.NPh.4.3.031219. Epub 2017 May 27. PubMed PMID: 28573156; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5446783.
  • Chernov MM, Chen G, Torre-Healy LA, Friedman RM, Roe AW (2016) Microelectrode array stimulation combined with intrinsic optical imaging: A novel tool for functional brain mapping. J Neurosci Methods. 263:7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2016.01.018. Epub 2016 Jan 25. PubMed PMID: 26820903; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4801717.
  • Friedman RM, Hester KD, Green BG, LaMotte RH (2008) Magnitude estimation of softness. Exp Brain Res. 191(2):133-42. doi: 10.1007/s00221-008-1507-5. Epub 2008 Aug 5. PubMed PMID: 18679665; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2574806.
  • Friedman RM, Chen LM, Roe AW (2004) Modality maps within primate somatosensory cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:12724-12729. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0404884101. Epub 2004 Aug 12. PubMed PMID: 15308779; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC514661
  • Chen LM, Friedman RM, Roe AW (2003) Optical imaging of a tactile illusion in area 3b of the primary somatosensory cortex. Science 302:881-885. doi: 10.1126/science.1087846. Epub 2003 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 14500850.
  • Friedman RM, Khalsa PS, Greenquist KW, LaMotte RH (2002) Neural coding of the location and direction of a moving object by a spatially distributed population of mechanoreceptors. J Neurosci. 22(21):9556-66. PubMed PMID: 12417680; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6758035.