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Kathleen Cullen - Professor

Department of Physiology
McGill University
McIntyre Medical Sciences Building,
Room 1218
3655 Promenade Sir William Osler
Montréal, Québec H3G 1Y6

(514) 398-5709

kathleen [dot] cullen [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Laboratory web site:

Lab Position Available

Research Area:  Neurophysiology

Research Description:

We are continually in motion. This self-motion is sensed by the vestibular system, which contributes to an impressive range of brain functions, from the most automatic reflexes to spatial perception and motor coordination. The objective of Dr. Cullen’s labs research program is to understand the mechanisms by which self motion (vestibular) information is encoded and then integrated with signals from other modalities to ensure accurate perception and control of gaze and posture. Our studies investigate the sensorimotor transformations required for the control of movement, by tracing the coding of vestibular stimuli from peripheral afferents, to behaviorally-contingent responses in central pathways, to the readout of accurate perception and behavior. Our experimental approach is multidisciplinary and includes a combination of behavioral, neurophysiological and computational approaches in alert behaving non-human primates and mice. Funding for the laboratory is provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), FQRNT / FQRSC (Quebec), and McGill University.

Education:   B.Sc., Brown, Ph.D., Chicago

Recent Publications:
(last 5 years)

Brooks JX and Cullen, KE. (in press) The primate cerebellum selectively encodes unexpected self-motion.  Current Biology.

Van Horn MR, Waitzman, DM,  and Cullen, KE. Vergence neurons identified in the rostral superior colliculus code smooth eye movements in three-dimensional space. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013.

Sadeghi SG, Minor LB, Cullen KE. Neural correlates of sensory substitution in vestibular pathways following complete vestibular loss. The Journal of Neuroscience. 32(42):14685-95, 2012.

Massot C, Schneider AD, Chacron MJ, and Cullen, KE. The vestibular system implements a linear-nonlinear transformation in order to encode self-motion. PLoS Biology Jul;10(7),  2012.

Van Horn MR and Cullen KE. Coding of microsaccades in three-dimensional space by premotor saccadic neurons. The Journal of Neuroscience. 8;32(6):1974-80, 2012.

Cullen KE. The vestibular system: multimodal integration and encoding of self-motion for motor control. Trends in Neuroscience. 35(3):185-96, 2012.

Brooks JX and Cullen, KE. Multimodal integration in rostral fastigial nucleus provides an estimate of body movement. The Journal of Neuroscience 29(34):10499-511, 2009.

 Sadeghi SG, Chacron MJ, Taylor MC, and Cullen, KE Neural variability, detection thresholds, and information transmission in the vestibular system. The Journal of Neuroscience 27(4):771-81, 2007.

 Cullen KE Sensory signals during active versus passive movement. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 14(6):698-706, 2004.

 Roy JE and Cullen KE. A neural correlate for vestibulo-ocular reflex suppression during voluntary eye-head gaze shifts. Nature Neuroscience 5:404-410, 1998.