“It’s a great honor for many reasons, but for me in particular, it’s being able to do research under the name of Barbara Horwitz and John Horowitz,” said Usrey.
Usrey studies the physiological mechanisms responsible for vision, exploring the relationships between cell physiology, circuit activity, behavior and perception. Usrey’s research concerns the electrical signals that travel through the optic nerve to the thalamus and on to the primary visual cortex. Once there, these signals are further processed and sent to other visual cortical areas, which include hubs responsible for the processing of color and movement, among other aspects. “An individual neuron in the visual cortex receives input from many sources, so there’s a lot of convergence and integration that’s taking place,” Usrey said. “What distinguishes our group is that to understand things, we often record from neurons at multiple stations in the brain simultaneously, so that we can watch the transfer of information occur from cell to cell to cell in real time.”