Previous Research Work and Interests

The central nervous system exhibits a remarkable ability to reorganize following peripheral denervation in both neonatal and adult animals.One research goal in Dr. Waters’ laboratory is to study the mechanisms underlying cortical reorganization in adult animals with particular emphasis on understanding the rapid unmasking process which takes place immediately following peripheral manipulation. Cortical organization and reorganization are examined using a variety of research techniques, including extracellural recording, reversible deafferentation, microstimulation, and immunocytochemisty.

Another important research interest in this lab centers on the study of the organization and development of the forepaw representation in rodent barrel field cortex. They reported that evoked responses can be elicited from the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) cortex on the day of birth and have related these findings to the time of arrival of thalamic afferents. They have also reported sensitive periods in the development of the forepaw representation in the FBS in newborn rats. Current interest is on the effects of differential sensory experience on the organization of the FBS. The FBS of rats, trained on a behavioral task requiring controlled amounts of forepaw stimulation, can be significantly altered following behavioral training. FBS development and reorganization are examined using a variety of techniques including behavioral training, lectin binding, extracellular and intracellular lular recording, and immunocytochemistry.

The Waters Lab
University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
855 Monroe Avenue, Suite 515
Memphis, TN 38163
Lab Tel: 901-448-7193
Office Tel: 901-448-5796
Lab: 224 Wittenborg Anatomy Building


Robert S. Waters, Ph.D.
Cheng X. Li, M.D.
Eldridge F. Johnson, Ph.D.
Taha A. Jan
David J. Reiner