Robert S. Waters, Ph.D.

Robert S. Waters, Ph.D.

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
855 Monroe Avenue, Suite 515
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: (901) 448-5796
Fax: (901) 448-7193
Lab: 224 Wittenborg Anatomy Building
Email: Robert S. Waters


  • Ph.D. Institution: University of Connecticut, Department of Biobehavioral Science
  • Postdoctoral: The Rockefeller University, Laboratory of Neurophysiology


Research Interests

Research carried out in our laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity in neonatal and adult animals. Our previous work focused on understanding the development, organization, and reorganization of the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) in layer IV of rat somatosensory cortex and we continue to use the FBS as our model system. Currently, our ongoing studies include: in-vitro whole cell patch recordings in rat to examine the role of GABAergic inhibition on corticocortical connections between neurons in neighboring FBS barrels, 2) in-vivo intracellular recording and immunohistochemistry to examine the role of GABAerigic inhibition on rapid and delayed cortical reorganization, 3) in-vivo intracellular recording to examine the role of thalamocortical neurons in delayed cortical reorganization, 4) in-vivo and in-vitro recordings and immunohistochemistry to examine the consequences of fetal alcohol exposure in FBS neurons in juvenile and adult rats.

More recently, we have begun to use quantitative techniques to characterize genes that underlie cortical organization and neuron number in the somatosensory cortex of inbred mice. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) will be mapped using BXD inbred strains.

We continue to study the effects of chronic endurance exercise on aging using the rodent animal model.

Representative Publications

  • Decosta-Fortune TM, Li CX, de Jongh Curry AL, Waters RS. Differential Pattern of Interhemispheric Connections Between Homotopic Layer V Regions in the Forelimb Representation in Rat Barrel Field Cortex. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2015 Nov;298(11):1885-902. doi: 10.1002/ar.23262. PubMed PMID: 26332205.
  • Li CX, Chappell TD, Ramshur JT, Waters RS. Forelimb amputation-induced reorganization in the ventral posterior lateral nucleus (VPL) provides a substrate for large-scale cortical reorganization in rat forepaw barrel subfield (FBS). Brain Res. 2014 Oct 2;1583:89-108. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.07.022. PubMed PMID: 25058605.
  • Li CX, Yang Q, Vemulapalli S, Waters RS. Forelimb amputation-induced reorganization in the cuneate nucleus (CN) is not reflected in large-scale reorganization in rat forepaw barrel subfield cortex (FBS). Brain Res. 2013 Aug 14;1526:26-43. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.05.049. PubMed PMID: 23810455.
  • Li CX, Yang Q, Waters RS. Functional and structural organization of the forelimb representation in cuneate nucleus in rat. Brain Res. 2012 Aug 15;1468:11-28. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.03.048. PubMed PMID: 22800965.
  • Xie N, Yang Q, Chappell TD, Li CX, Waters RS. Prenatal alcohol exposure reduces the size of the forelimb representation in motor cortex in rat: an intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) mapping study. Alcohol. 2010 Mar;44(2):185-94. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2009.10.014. PubMed PMID: 20083368.
  • Reiner DJ, Jan TA, Boughter JD Jr, Li CX, Lu L, Williams RW, Waters RS. Genetic analysis of tongue size and taste papillae number and size in recombinant inbred strains of mice. Chem Senses. 2008 Oct;33(8):693-707. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjn025. PubMed PMID: 18653645; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2565774.

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