Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Physiology

Gordon MG Shepherd, MD, PhD

Gordon MG Shepherd, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Physiology



Ward Building Room 5-654
303 E Chicago Avenue
Chicago IL 60611

Education/Research Website

Education and Certification

MD, PhD: Harvard University, Neurobiology (1995)


Description of Interests

Local synaptic circuits in motor-frontal cortex engage in neural operations underlying many aspects of cognition and behavior – motor control, executive functions, working memory, and more – yet circuit organization at the synaptic, cellular, and molecular levels remains poorly understood in this agranular cortex. What is the functional organization of these synaptic pathways? What cellular and circuit-level operations do neurons in these perform? How do these local circuits communicate with each other and how do they interact with subcortical systems in the basal ganglia and thalamus? The focus of our laboratory is to apply multiple tools of quantitative synaptic circuit analysis to elucidate the functional ‘wiring diagrams’ of neocortical neurons in motor-frontal cortex. We use laser scanning photostimulation (LSPS) microscopy, based on glutamate uncaging and channelrhodopsin-2 excitation, for rapid functional mapping of synaptic pathways onto single neurons in brain slices of motor-frontal cortex. We are also applying a variety of circuit analysis tools in efforts to identify circuit-level mechanisms in mouse models of disease, including autism, Rett syndrome, epilepsy, and motor neuron diseases. Our lab is also involved in the development and maintenance of software tools for imaging and electrophysiology applications:,

Interests (Keywords)

Cellular Electrophysiology; Developmental Neurobiology; Ion Channels; Microscopy; Movement Control; Nervous System Diseases; Neurology; Neuroscience

Research and Publications

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