Luis Populin

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Contact Information
(608) 265-6451 Phone
(608) 265-5512 Fax

Research Interests
Sensorimotor Integration

Luis Populin

My laboratory uses physiological recordings from single cells in animals whose heads are unrestrained to identify the mechanisms that integrate sensory information from different modalities, and serve to generate motor actions. Many current theories grounded on data from anesthetized preparations separate perception and action, with sensory information analyzed/extracted at different cortical (perceptual) stages before the decision-making and motor domains. This disregards direct connections to motor centers at all levels of sensory processing and creates a need for interfaces to transform sensory signals into motor commands.

In order to define structural and functional links between specific sensory inputs and motor outputs we are undertaking parallel series of experiments of the oculomotor system in humans, cats, and monkeys. Humans, which can be given precise instructions, provide a psychophysical benchmark. Animals, which are instructed with operant conditioning, are suitable for invasive anatomical, behavioral, physiological, and imaging studies. With this combination of approaches, we expect to define the mechanisms that link sensory inputs to motor outputs.

Selected Publications

  • Rajala AZ, Reininger KR, Lancaster KM, Populin LC (2010) Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) do recognize themselves in the mirror: implications for the evolution of self-recognition. PLoS 2 ONE. 5:e12865
  • Populin LC, Rajala AZ (2010) Time course of allocation of spatial attention by acoustic cues in non-human primates. Eur J Neurosci 32:1040-1048
  • Populin LC (2008) Human sound localization: measurements in untrained, head-unrestrained subjects using gaze as a pointer. Exp Brain Res 190:11-30.
  • Populin, L.C. (2006). Monkey sound localization: head-restrained vs. head unrestrained orienting. J. Neurosci. 26: 9820-9832
  • Populin, L.C. (2005). Anesthetics change the excitation/inhibition balance that governs sensory processing in the cat superior colliculus. J. Neurosci. 25: 5903-5914.
  • Tollin DJ, Populin LC, Moore JM, Ruhland JL, Yin TCT (2005) Sound localization performance in the cat: the effect of restraining the head. J Neurophysiol 93:1223--?1234
  • Populin, L.C., D.J. Tollin, and J.M. Weinstein. 2002. Human gaze shifts to acoustic and visual targets. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 956: 468-473
  • Populin, L.C. and T.C.T. Yin. 2002. Bimodal interactions in the superior colliculus of the behaving cat. J. Neurosci. 22: 2826-2834
  • Smith, P.H., and L.C. Populin. 2001. Fundamental differences between the thalamocortical recipient layers of the cat auditory and visual cortices. J. Comp. Neurol. 436: 508-519.
  • Populin, L.C., and T.C.T. Yin. 1999. Kinematics of eye movements of cats to broadband auditory targets. J. Neurophysiol. 82: 955-962
  • Populin, L.C. and T.C.T. Yin. 1998. Behavioral studies of sound localization in the cat. J. Neurosci. 18: 2147-2160.
  • Populin, L.C. and T.C.T. Yin. 1998. Pinna movements of the cat during sound localization. J. Neurosci. 18: 4233-4243

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