My laboratory is focused on the problem of how the nervous system controls its own sensory input in different behavioral states, and how this control can be disrupted in diseases of the central nervous system. The thalamus supports normal sensory perception as well as complex brain rhythms that can become disordered in CNS diseases. We are a translational neuroscience laboratory, examining complex questions using approaches ranging from studying the molecular biology of ion channels to studying epilepsy using human imaging methods.
Dwayne Godwin, PhD
- Cortical Feedback in Vision. A significant portion of our effort has been directed at the basic balance between bottom-up and top-down processing in the brain. The function of the top-down, corticothalamic pathway remains one of the enduring mysteries of vision, because in terms of synaptic contacts it far outweighs ascending input from the retina. We have published a series of studies over the last decade that revealed several unique functions of this brain circuit.
- Physiology and Function of T-type Calcium Channels. My lab has a longstanding interest in T-type calcium channels. These ion channels are fundamental in the generation of normal sleep rhythms as well as abnormal rhythms associated with a range of neurological disorders, including epilepsy, chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease. Under a R01 from NIAAA, we are showing how alcohol effects on brain rhythms center on a particular T-type calcium channel isoform.
- Optogenetics and Seizure Disorders. Optogenetics relies on the activation of special light sensitive proteins with light. Our lab is using this method to understand network processing during seizures in awake, behaving animals.
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG). MEG is a unique imaging method that measures brain activity with higher time resolution, and with similar spatial resolution possible with other imaging methods. We have undertaken translational studies in the context of mapping the spike and wave discharges of childhood epilepsy, and have recently turned this method toward a greater understanding of brain networks involved in alcohol intoxication, including studies of nonhuman primates. Our studies of cognition include collaborations with the VA to understand alterations in brain networks resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Graef JD, Huitt TW, Nordskog BK, Hammarback JH, Godwin DW. (2010) Disrupted Thalamic T-type Ca2+ Channel Expression and Function during Ethanol Exposure and Withdrawal. J Neurophysiol.(ePub).
- Graef JD, Godwin DW. (2010) Intrinsic plasticity in acquired epilepsy: too much of a good thing? Neuroscientist. 2010 Oct;16(5):487-95.
- Dong C, Godwin DW, Brennan PA, Hegde AN. (2009) Protein kinase Calpha mediates a novel form of plasticity in the accessory olfactory bulb. Neuroscience. 2009 Oct 20;163(3):811-24.
- McCauley AK, Frank ST, Godwin DW. (2009) Brainstem nitrergic innervation of the mouse visual thalamus.Brain Res. 1278:34-49.
- Graef JD, Nordskog BK, Wiggins WF, Godwin DW. (2009) An acquired channelopathy involving thalamic T-type Ca2+ channels after status epilepticus. J Neurosci. 29:4430-41.
- Wilson TW, Godwin DW, Czoty PW, Nader MA, Kraft RA, Buchheimer NC, Daunais JB. (2009) A MEG investigation of somatosensory processing in the rhesus monkey. Neuroimage.46:998-1003.
- Alexander GM, Godwin DW. (2006) Metabotropic glutamate receptors as a strategic target for the treatment of epilepsy. Epilepsy Res. 71:1-22.
- Alexander GM, Godwin DW. (2006) Unique presynaptic and postsynaptic roles of Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors in the modulation of thalamic network activity. Neuroscience. 141:501-13.
- Alexander GM, Fisher TL, Godwin DW. (2006) Differential response dynamics of corticothalamic glutamatergic synapses in the lateral geniculate nucleus and thalamic reticular nucleus. Neuroscience. 137:367-72.
- Alexander GM, Godwin DW. (2005) Presynaptic inhibition of corticothalamic feedback by metabotropic glutamate receptors. J Neurophysiol. 94:163-75.
- View Dr. Godwin’s scientific publications on PubMed.
- McKnight Foundation “Technological Innovations in Neuroscience” Award
- WFU “New Investigator” Award
- WFU Student Government Association “Graduate Faculty Excellence” Award
- “Outstanding Alumni Award”, University of Alabama Birmingham
- NSF/Science Magazine “International Science and Engineer Visualization Challenge”
- Western North Carolina Chapter, Society for Neuroscience “Synapse Award”
I’m very proud of the many awards won by my trainees:
- 2000, Nuwan Kurukulasuriya, Society for Neuroscience Graduate Travel Award, SFN
- 2000, Nuwan Kurukulasuriya, Western North Carolina SFN Poster contest, 1st place
- 2000, Nuwan Kurukulasuriya, Society for Neurochemistry Travel Award
- 2000, Anita McCauley, Assoc. Neurosci. Depts. & Programs. graduate fellow
- 2000, Anita McCauley, Western North Carolina SFN Poster contest, 1st place
- 2001, Nuwan Kurukulasuriya, Norman Sulkin Award, Dept. Neurobiology and Anatomy
- 2002, Georgia Alexander, Western North Carolina SFN Poster contest, 1st place
- 2002, Anita McCauley, Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, Wake Forest University
- 2003, Georgia Alexander, International travel award – 6th annual IBRO meeting – Prague
- 2003, Tiffany Fisher, NEURON summer course
- 2004, Georgia Alexander, Travel Award to Society for Neuroscience meeting, Fine Science Tools
- 2004, Tiffany Fisher, 1st place summer tutorial, interdisciplinary program
- 2004, Tiffany Fisher, Ion Channel Summer Course, Cold Spring Harbor Labs (competitive admission)
- 2005, Georgia Alexander, Norman Sulkin Award, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
- 2006, Georgia Alexander, Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, Wake Forest University
- 2006, John Graef, Travel Award to Society for Neuroscience meeting, Fine Science Tools
- 2006, Georgia Alexander PhD, Committee for Women in Neuroscience Travel Awardee
- 2006, Brian K. Nordskog PhD, SFN travel awardee, WNCSFN chapter and national awardee
- 2008, John Graef, Western North Carolina SFN Poster Contest, 1st Place (student)
- 2008, Tiffany Huitt, Western North Carolina SFN Poster Contest, 1st Place (postdoc)
- 2009, John Graef, Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates
- 2009, John Graef, Western North Carolina SFN Poster Contest, 1st Place (student)
- 2010, Melissa Riegle/Erin Caulder, Western North Carolina Chapter SFN Poster Contest, 1st Place (student)
Trainee independent funding:
- 2004-2006, Georgia Alexander (renewed) Sigma Xi: Grant-in-aid
- 2006-2007, Tiffany Fisher Sigma Xi: Grant-in-aid
Trainee independent NIH support:
- Anita McCauley, Individual National Research Service Award, predoctoral, NIMH
- Georgia Alexander, Individual National Research Award, predoctoral, NINDS, (.4 percentile)
- Tiffany Fisher, Society for Neuroscience/NIH Individual National Research Service Award, predoctoral
- Dr. W. Breckinridge Carden, Individual National Research Award, postdoctoral, NIAAA
- Dr. Brian K. Nordskog, Individual National Research Service Award, postdoctoral, NIAAA
- Dr. Tiffany Huitt, Individual National Research Service Award, Postdoctoral, NIAAA
- John Graef, Individual National Research Service Award, predoctoral, NIAAA
- Walter Wiggins, Individual National Research Service Award, predoctoral, NIAAA
- Melissa Riegle, Individual National Research Service Award, predoctoral, NIAAA
I feel a personal responsibility to engage the public and communicate the importance of what we do as scientists. I do this in several ways:
- I have an active Twitter account, @BrainyActs.
- I co-author a series of neuroscience comics as a regular feature in Scientific American: Mind. I co-author the series with Jorge Cham (author of “PhD Comics“). Topics in the past have included: Time and the Brain, Food for Thought, Secret Thoughts, Brain Development, and Love!
- I blog for the Society for Neuroscience on the BrainFacts.org community site.
- Our comic on Brain Development won the NSF/Science Magazine International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge in 2009: First Place, Informational Graphics. See the video presentation.
- I’m also a faculty advisor for our outstanding group of young scholars engaged in Brain Awareness activities.
The Ascent: A Brief History of the Brain
Story of the memory patient H.M. on the Science Channel