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Kanold, Patrick

Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University of Maryland
1116 Bioscience Research Building
Function, assembly, and plasticity of neuronal circuits
The major focus of the research in the lab is to understand how information about the world is represented/encoded in the brain, how this representation develops, and how altered experience changes this process. We focus on cortical circuits and try to elucidate how these circuit work and how they wire up during development. One focus is on probing and manipulating the large-scale responses of cortical circuits to sensory stimuli in vivo using 2-photon imaging and the other is to use in vitro circuit mapping approaches to study the functional wiring of sub-circuits in great detail.
General Research Interests: 
  • Brain maturation, plasticity and development

Early brain development, especially how transient and other early circuits shape the functional organization of the brain and how these circuits control the critical period.

The mammalian brain contains billions of neurons that in primary sensory areas provide an exquisite representation of the external world. These primary sensory areas contain topographic maps of sensory stimulus features (i.e. ocular dominance and orientation in visual cortex or tonotopy in auditory cortex). This functional architecture is not hard-wired, but its development depends on neuronal activity and sensory experience. Our research focuses on answering the critical questions of how this architecture emerges and how experience shapes this process.

To answer these questions, we investigate the circuits of the developing and adult brain from a single cell level to large assemblies of neurons by using advanced imaging and electrophysiological methods such as in vivo and in vitro 2-photon Ca2+-imaging and patch clamp recordings. We combine these techniques with optogenetic methods to selectively activate and silence specific microcircuits. We integrate this information in large-scale computational models of the developing brain in order to understand what role every circuit plays in development. 

Our work to date has identified subplate neurons as a crucial component of the developing thalamocortical system. Without these neurons cortical development does not proceed normally. We thus investigate how these neurons promote normal development and plasticity of the cerebral cortex and if there are other circuits present at other ages that play similar functions.

Research examples

Cortical Information Processing: Crowd Coding and Circuits

Crossmodal plasticity of sensory cortical processing

Transient circuits in development


Dipl.Ing. (MSE), Electrical Engineering, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, 1994
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 2000  Mentors: Eric Young, Paul Manis
Post-Doctoral, Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 2000-2005  Mentor: Carla Shatz
Instructor, Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, 2005-2007
Assistant Professor, Biology, UMd, College Park, 2007-2012
Associate Professor, Biology, UMd, College Park, 2012-