Professor Kevin Fox

Professor

School of Biosciences

Email:
foxkd@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 4632
Fax:
+44 (0)29 2087 4744
Location:
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Research overview

Mechanisms Underlying Neuronal Plasticity in the Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex is most highly developed in humans. It is that part of the brain which gives us our distinctively human qualities. How does the cortex process information and how does it store new information, in other words, how does it remember? We are studying these questions in an area of the brain that processes tactile information. We record neuronal activity and measure the way sensory processing is modified by experience (experience-dependent plasticity). We can test whether particular proteins are necessary for plasticity and recent results show that a major post-synaptic protein known as CAMKII is crucial for plasticity in this area of the cortex. Studies on synaptic plasticity implicate the GluR1 subunit of the AMPA channel and neuronal Nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that makes nitric oxide are responsible for post- and pres-synaptic components of potentiation respectively.

Mechanisms Underlying Neuronal Plasticity in the Cerebral Cortex

The cerebral cortex is most highly developed in humans. It is that part of the brain which gives us our distinctively human qualities. How does the cortex process information and how does it store new information, in other words, how does it remember? We are studying these questions in an area of the brain that processes tactile information. We record neuronal activity and measure the way sensory processing is modified by experience (experience-dependent plasticity). We can test whether particular proteins are necessary for plasticity and recent results show that a major post-synaptic protein known as CAMKII is crucial for plasticity in this area of the cortex. Studies on synaptic plasticity implicate the GluR1 subunit of the AMPA channel and neuronal Nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that makes nitric oxide are responsible for post- and pres-synaptic components of potentiation respectively. We are studying all these questions in an area of the somatosensory cortex known as the Barrel cortex. This area of the brain has been intensively studied over recent years in an effort to understand sensory processing, cortical development and cortical plasticity. More information on barrel cortex can be found in this newly published book.

We are also using forward genetic approaches to discover novel molecules involved in plasticity in collaboration with the NIMH funded Conte Centre for Plasticity and Memory, linking Cardiff University, UCLA and UCSF in a three-way collaboration.

Active grants

  • MRC Program grant "Anatomical and molecular pathways for cortical plasticity"
  • NIH Conte Centre Grant "Forward genetic approaches to mechanisms of cortical plasticity"
  • MRC co-operative grant "Plasticity learning and memory"

Collaborations

  • Karel Svoboda, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA
  • Alcino Silva, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Michael Stryker, UCSF, San Fransisco, CA
  • Joshua Trachtenberg, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Mark Good, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  • Frank Sengpiel, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Affiliated staff

  • Neil Hardingham
  • Nick Wright
  • James Dachtler
  • Adam Ransom
  • Phil Blanning
  • Vincent Jacob
  • Stuart Greenhill
  • John Anderson
  • Tim Gould
  • Claire Cheetham

External profiles

Images

Research links