S. Murray Sherman, PhD

  • Chairman (Department) of Neurobiology
    Maurice Goldblatt Professor of Neurobiology
    Professor of Grossman Institute for Neuroscience
  • Research and Scholarly Interests: Cortex, Cerebral, Lateral Geniculate Body, Pulvinar, Somatosensory Cortex, Thalamus, Ventral Posteromedial Thalamic Nucleus, Vision, Visual Cortex
  • Websites: Sherman Lab, Research Network Profile
  • Contact: msherman@bsd.uchicago.edu

The research in the laboratory is directed at issues of thalamic functional organization and thalamocortical relationships, mainly using the visual and somatosensory pathways in the mouse as experimental models. We use a broad interdisciplinary approach, attempting to answer the same or closely related questions with several different techniques. More specifically, we use neuroanatomical techniques to explore various circuits; we use in vitro recordings from brain slices to study cell and synaptic properties; and we record from in vivo preparations to evaluate these circuits in whole animals using an awake, behaving preparation to determine the relationship between behavioral and cognitive parameters and thalamocortical functioning.



Stimulation techniques in slices include electrical activation and laser photostimulation involving both uncaging of glutamate (or GABA) and optogenetics; recording involves mainly patching of single neurons and imaging via flavoprotein autofluorescence. For in vivo recording, we use conventional single cell electrophysiology, current source density analysis, and have recently imported the technique of 2-photon calcium imaging, which enables us to follow responses of hundreds of cortical cells simultaneously. To activate or inhibit specific pathways we use optogenetics and DREAD (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) techniques often involving specific mouse genetic lines (e.g., involving Cre expression in transgenic mouse lines)

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
B.S. - Biology
05/1965

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Ph.D. - Neuroanatomy
09/1969

Australian National University
Canberra, Australia
NA - Postdoctoral training in neurophysiology
03/1972

Oxford University
Oxford, England
M.A. (Honorary) - Neuroscience
10/1985

In vitro imaging using laser photostimulation with flavoprotein autofluorescence.
Theyel BB, Llano DA, Issa NP, Mallik AK, Sherman SM. In vitro imaging using laser photostimulation with flavoprotein autofluorescence. Nat Protoc. 2011 Apr; 6(4):502-8.
PMID: 21455186

Rapid and sensitive mapping of long-range connections in vitro using flavoprotein autofluorescence imaging combined with laser photostimulation.
Llano DA, Theyel BB, Mallik AK, Sherman SM, Issa NP. Rapid and sensitive mapping of long-range connections in vitro using flavoprotein autofluorescence imaging combined with laser photostimulation. J Neurophysiol. 2009 Jun; 101(6):3325-40.
PMID: 19321634

Corticofugal circuits: Communication lines from the cortex to the rest of the brain.
Usrey WM, Sherman SM. Corticofugal circuits: Communication lines from the cortex to the rest of the brain. J Comp Neurol. 2019 Feb 15; 527(3):640-650.
PMID: 29524229

Rainer (Ray) W. Guillery 28 August 1929-7 April 2017.
Sherman SM, Mason CA, Atabay KD, Kaas JH, LaMantia AS, Mitchell A, Walsh C. Rainer (Ray) W. Guillery 28 August 1929-7 April 2017. Eur J Neurosci. 2017 08; 46(3):1933-1936.
PMID: 28782225

Thalamus plays a central role in ongoing cortical functioning.
Sherman SM. Thalamus plays a central role in ongoing cortical functioning. Nat Neurosci. 2016 Apr; 19(4):533-41.
PMID: 27021938

Functional topographic organization of the motor reticulothalamic pathway.
Lam YW, Sherman SM. Functional topographic organization of the motor reticulothalamic pathway. J Neurophysiol. 2015 May 01; 113(9):3090-7.
PMID: 25717161

Modulatory effects of activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors on GABAergic circuits in the mouse thalamus.
Liu T, Petrof I, Sherman SM. Modulatory effects of activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors on GABAergic circuits in the mouse thalamus. J Neurophysiol. 2015 Apr 01; 113(7):2646-52.
PMID: 25652932

Properties of the primary somatosensory cortex projection to the primary motor cortex in the mouse.
Petrof I, Viaene AN, Sherman SM. Properties of the primary somatosensory cortex projection to the primary motor cortex in the mouse. J Neurophysiol. 2015 Apr 01; 113(7):2400-7.
PMID: 25632081

Advances in understanding mechanisms of thalamic relays in cognition and behavior.
Mitchell AS, Sherman SM, Sommer MA, Mair RG, Vertes RP, Chudasama Y. Advances in understanding mechanisms of thalamic relays in cognition and behavior. J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 12; 34(46):15340-6.
PMID: 25392501

Modulatory effects of activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors on GABAergic circuits in the mouse cortex.
Liu T, Petrof I, Sherman SM. Modulatory effects of activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors on GABAergic circuits in the mouse cortex. J Neurophysiol. 2014 Jun 01; 111(11):2287-97.
PMID: 24623509

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Professorial Fellow
St. John’s College of Oxford University
2010 - 2010

Guggenheim Fellow
Guggenheim Foundation
2000 - 2001

Dr. Lee Visiting Research Fellow
of Christ Church College of University of Oxford
2000 - 2001

Guest Professor
University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei
1998 - 2000

Newton Abraham Visiting Professor
Lincoln College of Oxford University
1985 - 1986

Honorary M.A. degree
Oxford University
1985 - 1985