Richard Born, M.D.

Professor of Neurobiology
  • Born Lab
  • 617/432-1307

Goal: We seek to understand the circuitry of the mammalian cerebral cortex and how it endows us with the ability to see . . . and hear and think and talk. Approach: We study visual cortex of alert monkeys trained to report specific aspects of their visual experience. This allows us to define the neural correlates of specific percepts and then study their underlying mechanisms by activating or inactivating components of the circuit.

Techniques: Our primary tools are extracellular electrophysiology—both with single electrodes and multi-electrode arrays—and psychophysics. They are complemented by techniques that allow us to dissect and probe cortical circuitry:

  • circuit tracing with genetically modified rabies viruses
  • microstimulation to insert specific signals into cortical circuits
  • cortical cooling (cryoloops) to reversibly inactivate circuit elements
  • multi-electrode arrays to record simultaneously from dozens of neurons

Current Projects:

  • Dissecting parallel pathways. We have used reversible inactivation to show that MT neurons inherit tuning for direction and depth (binocular disparity) via independent, parallel pathways (Ponce et al. 2008). We are currently exploring the perceptual ramifications of this processing strategy (Smolyanskaya). We are also examining how these pathways interact in the context of multi-sensory integration and feature attention (Ruff).
  • Probing cortico-cortical feedback. Two projects in the lab are aimed at deciphering this ubiquitous, but poorly understood, aspect of cortical connectivity. We are studying the detailed morphology of neurons that comprise the feedforward and feedback pathways (Berezovskii and Nassi). This will give us important clues as to what information the neurons integrate and how it is distributed to target areas. In order to understand the functional role of cortico-cortical feedback, we are reversibly inactivating feedback from areas V2 and V3 to V1 and then recording from V1 with multi-electrode arrays in alert monkeys (Hartmann, Trott). In collaboration with Dr. Gabriel Kreiman, we are developing computational models to account for our experimental findings and to guide future experiments (Gómez-Laberge).

The gray-level image at the top center is an autoradiograph of a section through MT cut parallel to the cortical surface. The patterns of 2dg uptake were produced by showing the animal a wide-field pattern of random dots (covering ~60 degrees of the visual field) that moved coherently at systematically varied directions and speeds while 2dg was infused intravenously. Regions of high 2dg uptake appear dark (wide-field motion columns), while regions of 2dg uptake equal to that of unstimulated cortex are lighter (local-contrast motion columns). The graphs immediately below the 2dg image depict the responses of two representative neurons to patches of random dots moving in the cellÍs preferred direction and speed as a function of the size of the random dot patch (area response test). Neurons in the dark regions respond more vigorously as the area of the random dot patch increases; neurons in the light regions respond well to small patches of motion but are indifferent to wide-field motion due to the presence of opponent surrounds.

We study visual cortex of alert monkeys trained to report specific aspects of their visual experience. This allows us to define the neural correlates of specific percepts and then study their underlying mechanisms by activating or inactivating components of the circuit.

 Correlation of 2-deoxyglucose (2dg) labeling and neuronal receptive field properties in the middle temporal visual area (MT). Correlation of 2-deoxyglucose (2dg) labeling and neuronal receptive field properties in the middle temporal visual area (MT).

  1. Nassi JJ, Gómez-Laberge C, Kreiman G, Born RT. Corticocortical feedback increases the spatial extent of normalization. May 30, 2014. Frontiers in systems neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  2. Ehrlich H, Rigby JK, Botting JP, Tsurkan MV, Werner C, Schwille P, Petrášek Z, Pisera A, Simon P, Sivkov VN, Vyalikh DV, Molodtsov SL, Kurek D, Kammer M, Hunoldt S, Born R, Stawski D, Steinhof A, Bazhenov VV, Geisler T. Discovery of 505-million-year old chitin in the basal demosponge Vauxia gracilenta. December 13, 2013. Scientific reports.

    Link to Abstract
  3. Smolyanskaya A, Ruff DA, Born RT. Joint tuning for direction of motion and binocular disparity in macaque MT is largely separable. October 2, 2013. Journal of neurophysiology.

    Link to Abstract
  4. Nassi JJ, Lomber SG, Born RT. Corticocortical feedback contributes to surround suppression in V1 of the alert primate. May 8, 2013. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  5. Price NS, Born RT. Adaptation to speed in macaque middle temporal and medial superior temporal areas. March 6, 2013. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  6. Smolyanskaya A, Born RT. Neuroscience: Attention is more than meets the eye. September 20, 2012. Nature.

    Link to Abstract
  7. Berezovskii VK, Nassi JJ, Born RT. Segregation of feedforward and feedback projections in mouse visual cortex. December 15, 2011. The Journal of comparative neurology.

    Link to Abstract
  8. Ponce CR, Hunter JN, Pack CC, Lomber SG, Born RT. Contributions of indirect pathways to visual response properties in macaque middle temporal area MT. March 9, 2011. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  9. Hunter JN, Born RT. Stimulus-dependent modulation of suppressive influences in MT. January 12, 2011. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  10. Price NS, Born RT. Timescales of sensory- and decision-related activity in the middle temporal and medial superior temporal areas. October 20, 2010. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  11. Ehrlich H, Steck E, Ilan M, Maldonado M, Muricy G, Bavestrello G, Kljajic Z, Carballo JL, Schiaparelli S, Ereskovsky A, Schupp P, Born R, Worch H, Bazhenov VV, Kurek D, Varlamov V, Vyalikh D, Kummer K, Sivkov VV, Molodtsov SL, Meissner H, Richter G, Hunoldt S, Kammer M, Paasch S, Krasokhin V, Patzke G, Brunner E, Richter W. Three-dimensional chitin-based scaffolds from Verongida sponges (Demospongiae: Porifera). Part II: Biomimetic potential and applications. May 15, 2010. International journal of biological macromolecules.

    Link to Abstract
  12. Ehrlich H, Ilan M, Maldonado M, Muricy G, Bavestrello G, Kljajic Z, Carballo JL, Schiaparelli S, Ereskovsky A, Schupp P, Born R, Worch H, Bazhenov VV, Kurek D, Varlamov V, Vyalikh D, Kummer K, Sivkov VV, Molodtsov SL, Meissner H, Richter G, Steck E, Richter W, Hunoldt S, Kammer M, Paasch S, Krasokhin V, Patzke G, Brunner E. Three-dimensional chitin-based scaffolds from Verongida sponges (Demospongiae: Porifera). Part I. Isolation and identification of chitin. May 13, 2010. International journal of biological macromolecules.

    Link to Abstract
  13. Tsui JM, Hunter JN, Born RT, Pack CC. The role of V1 surround suppression in MT motion integration. March 24, 2010. Journal of neurophysiology.

    Link to Abstract
  14. Brunner E, Ehrlich H, Schupp P, Hedrich R, Hunoldt S, Kammer M, Machill S, Paasch S, Bazhenov VV, Kurek DV, Arnold T, Brockmann S, Ruhnow M, Born R. Chitin-based scaffolds are an integral part of the skeleton of the marine demosponge Ianthella basta. June 28, 2009. Journal of structural biology.

    Link to Abstract
  15. Ponce CR, Born RT. Stereopsis. September 23, 2008. Current biology : CB.

    Link to Abstract
  16. Ponce CR, Lomber SG, Born RT. Integrating motion and depth via parallel pathways. January 13, 2008. Nature neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  17. Roe AW, Parker AJ, Born RT, DeAngelis GC. Disparity channels in early vision. October 31, 2007. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  18. Dauguet J, Peled S, Berezovskii V, Delzescaux T, Warfield SK, Born R, Westin CF. Comparison of fiber tracts derived from in-vivo DTI tractography with 3D histological neural tract tracer reconstruction on a macaque brain. May 24, 2007. NeuroImage.

    Link to Abstract
  19. Scharnweber D, Flössel M, Born R, Worch H. Adjusting the chlorhexidine content of calcium phosphate coatings by electrochemically assisted co-deposition from aqueous solutions. February 1, 2007. Journal of materials science. Materials in medicine.

    Link to Abstract
  20. Pack CC, Conway BR, Born RT, Livingstone MS. Spatiotemporal structure of nonlinear subunits in macaque visual cortex. January 18, 2006. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  21. Born RT, Pack CC, Ponce CR, Yi S. Temporal evolution of 2-dimensional direction signals used to guide eye movements. January 1, 2006. Journal of neurophysiology.

    Link to Abstract
  22. Dauguet J, Peled S, Berezovskii V, Delzescaux T, Warfield SK, Born R, Westin CF. 3D histological reconstruction of fiber tracts and direct comparison with diffusion tensor MRI tractography. January 1, 2006. Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention.

    Link to Abstract
  23. Born RT, Bradley DC. Structure and function of visual area MT. January 1, 2005. Annual review of neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  24. Pack CC, Hunter JN, Born RT. Contrast dependence of suppressive influences in cortical area MT of alert macaque. October 13, 2004. Journal of neurophysiology.

    Link to Abstract
  25. Born RT. Taking strategies to task. April 22, 2004. Neuron.

    Link to Abstract
  26. Pack CC, Gartland AJ, Born RT. Integration of Contour and Terminator Signals in Visual Area MT of Alert Macaque. March 31, 2004. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  27. Pack CC, Livingstone MS, Duffy KR, Born RT. End-stopping and the aperture problem: two-dimensional motion signals in macaque V1. August 14, 2003. Neuron.

    Link to Abstract
  28. Rössler S, Sewing A, Stölzel M, Born R, Scharnweber D, Dard M, Worch H. Electrochemically assisted deposition of thin calcium phosphate coatings at near-physiological pH and temperature. March 15, 2003. Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A.

    Link to Abstract
  29. Pack CC, Born RT, Livingstone MS. Two-dimensional substructure of stereo and motion interactions in macaque visual cortex. February 6, 2003. Neuron.

    Link to Abstract
  30. Born RT, Pack CC. Integration of motion signals for smooth pursuit eye movements. April 1, 2002. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

    Link to Abstract
  31. Born RT, Pack CC, Zhao R. Integration of motion cues for the initiation of smooth pursuit eye movements. January 1, 2002. Progress in brain research.

    Link to Abstract
  32. Pack CC, Berezovskii VK, Born RT. Dynamic properties of neurons in cortical area MT in alert and anaesthetized macaque monkeys. December 1, 2001. Nature.

    Link to Abstract
  33. Born RT. Visual processing: parallel-er and parallel-er. July 24, 2001. Current biology : CB.

    Link to Abstract
  34. Livingstone MS, Pack CC, Born RT. Two-dimensional substructure of MT receptive fields. June 1, 2001. Neuron.

    Link to Abstract
  35. Pack CC, Born RT. Temporal dynamics of a neural solution to the aperture problem in visual area MT of macaque brain. February 22, 2001. Nature.

    Link to Abstract
  36. Born RT. Center-surround interactions in the middle temporal visual area of the owl monkey. November 1, 2000. Journal of neurophysiology.

    Link to Abstract
  37. Born RT, Groh JM, Zhao R, Lukasewycz SJ. Segregation of object and background motion in visual area MT: effects of microstimulation on eye movements. June 1, 2000. Neuron.

    Link to Abstract
  38. Berezovskii VK, Born RT. Specificity of projections from wide-field and local motion-processing regions within the middle temporal visual area of the owl monkey. February 1, 2000. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  39. Fung SH, Burstein D, Born RT. In vivo microelectrode track reconstruction using magnetic resonance imaging. April 30, 1998. Journal of neuroscience methods.

    Link to Abstract
  40. Geesaman BJ, Born RT, Andersen RA, Tootell RB. Maps of complex motion selectivity in the superior temporal cortex of the alert macaque monkey: a double-label 2-deoxyglucose study. December 1, 1997. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991).

    Link to Abstract
  41. Groh JM, Born RT, Newsome WT. How is a sensory map read Out? Effects of microstimulation in visual area MT on saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements. June 1, 1997. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  42. Tootell RB, Reppas JB, Kwong KK, Malach R, Born RT, Brady TJ, Rosen BR, Belliveau JW. Functional analysis of human MT and related visual cortical areas using magnetic resonance imaging. April 1, 1995. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Link to Abstract
  43. Born RT, Tootell RB. Segregation of global and local motion processing in primate middle temporal visual area. June 11, 1992. Nature.

    Link to Abstract
  44. Born RT, Tootell RB. Single-unit and 2-deoxyglucose studies of side inhibition in macaque striate cortex. August 15, 1991. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

    Link to Abstract
  45. Born RT, Tootell RB. Spatial frequency tuning of single units in macaque supragranular striate cortex. August 15, 1991. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

    Link to Abstract

Harvard Medical School
Dept Neurobiology, WAB 215A
220 Longwood Ave
Boston MA 02115