Alev Erisir


  • MD, Istanbul University
  • PhD, SUNY at Stony Brook
  • Postdoc, New York University
  • Postdoc, New York Medical College

Primary Appointment

  • Associate Professor, Psychology


Research Interest(s)

Developmental plasticity; Glutamate and acetylcholine receptors in visual cortex development

Research Description

We are interested in the development and plasticity of visual system. Our present research is concentrated on an early neonatal period in life, before the visual cortex attains its mature structure and function, that is, before lifelong connections among neurons are formed, and adult-type molecular signatures of different circuitries are established. During this period, the brain maintains a remarkable malleability to changes in the environment, such as lack of light, or lack of balanced stimulation through both eyes. By studying the molecules that are in function during this period, we aim to understand plasticity, that is what allows the brain to change, adapt, learn or resist to change in response to alterations in our environment. In particular, we are interested in the changing patterns of glutamate and GABA receptor localization in cells that receive monosynaptic input from developing thalamocortical cells, during, before and after the critical period for ocular dominance formation. We use the techniques, including tract-tracing and immunocytochemisty, to examine temporal sequence of neurotransmitter receptor localization at light and electron microscope resolutions.

Selected Publications

  • Li J, Erisir A, Cline H. In vivo time-lapse imaging and serial section electron microscopy reveal developmental synaptic rearrangements. Neuron. 2011;69(2): 273-86. PMID: 21262466 | PMCID: PMC3052740
  • Coleman J, Nahmani M, Gavornik J, Haslinger R, Heynen A, Erisir A, Bear M. Rapid structural remodeling of thalamocortical synapses parallels experience-dependent functional plasticity in mouse primary visual cortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2010;30(29): 9670-82. PMID: 20660250 | PMCID: PMC3065324
  • Corson J, Nahmani M, Lubarsky K, Badr N, Wright C, Erisir A. Sensory activity differentially modulates N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunits 2A and 2B in cortical layers. Neuroscience. 2009;163(3): 920-32. PMID: 19596055 | PMCID: PMC2746878
  • Lunardi N, Ori C, Erisir A, Jevtovic-Todorovic V. General anesthesia causes long-lasting disturbances in the ultrastructural properties of developing synapses in young rats. Neurotoxicity research. 2009;17(2): 179-88. PMID: 19626389
  • Corlew R, Wang Y, Ghermazien H, Erisir A, Philpot B. Developmental switch in the contribution of presynaptic and postsynaptic NMDA receptors to long-term depression. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2007;27(37): 9835-45. PMID: 17855598 | PMCID: PMC2905826
  • May O, Erisir A, Hill D. Ultrastructure of primary afferent terminals and synapses in the rat nucleus of the solitary tract: comparison among the greater superficial petrosal, chorda tympani, and glossopharyngeal nerves. The Journal of comparative neurology. 2007;502(6): 1066-78. PMID: 17444498 | PMCID: PMC2798003