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Charles "Lee" Cox, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair*
Biomedical Physical Sciences Building
567 Wilson Rd Rm 2201E
Cox Lab

Research Interests
 The underlying theme of our research is an interest in the cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity. Our research is concentrated on the neurophysiology and pharmacology of neocortical and thalamic neurons in the mammalian central nervous system. These studies focus on thalamocortical circuits, because of the critical relationship of the neocortex and thalamus in sensory processing, behavioral arousal, attention and certain pathophysiological conditions such as epilepsy. While both the thalamus and neocortex are complicated structures individually, they also form an intricate, reciprocal relationship that is critical for understanding sensory/motor/associative processing at both the cellular and systems level. The importance of this works lies in the fact that the majority of behavioral activities including arousal, attention, sensory perception, learning and memory result from a concerted effort by multiple neuronal systems. Thus, information integration at the single cell level is very critical, as well as the role of these individual cells in circuit based activities. Long-lasting modifications in neuronal excitability (i.e., neuromodulation, synaptic plasticity) have also been hypothesized to be the cellular correlates underlying these behavioral activities.

The work in our lab addresses four basic issues:

1. Functional organization of sensory neocortex and thalamus 
2. Thalamocortical interaction and modulation 
3. Brainstem regulation of thalamic/cortical neuron excitability 
4. Integration of thalamocortical and intracortical information in the neocortex 


Selected Publications

Cox, C.L. (2014) Complex regulation of dendritic transmitter release from thalamic interneurons, Current Opinions in Neurobiology, 29: 126-132.

Kang, S., Paul, K., Hankosky, E.R., Cox, C.L., and Gulley J.M. (2016) D1 receptor-mediated inhibition of medial prefrontal cortex neurons is disrupted in adult rats exposed to amphetamine in adolescence. Neuroscience 324:40-49.

Paul, K., Kang, S., Cox, C.L., and Gulley, J.M. (2016) Repeated exposure to amphetamine during adolescence alters inhibitory tone in the medical prefrontal cortex following drug re-exposure in adulthood. Behav. Brain Res. 309:9-13.

Cox, C.L. and Beatty, J.A. (2017) The multifaceted role of inhibitory interneurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus, Visual Neuroscience, 34: e107.

Crandall, S.R., Govindaiah, G., and Cox, C.L., (2010) Low-threshold Ca2+ current amplifies distal dendritic activity in thalamus, Journal of Neuroscience, 30: 15419-15429. PMC3075467.

Yang, S. and Cox, C.L. (2011) Attenuation of inhibitory synaptic transmission by glia dysfunction in rat thalamus, Synapse, 65: 1298-1308. PMC3181281.

Govindaiah, G., Venkitaramani, D.V., Chaki, S, and Cox, C.L., (2012) Spatially distinct actions of metabotropic glutamate receptor activation in dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus, Journal of Neurophysiology, 107: 1157-1163. PMC3289457.

Yang, S., Yang, S., Cox, C.L., Llano, D.A., and Feng, A.S. (2012) Cell’s intrinsic biophysical properties play a role in the systematic decrease in time-locking ability of central auditory neurons, Neuroscience, 208: 49-57. PMC3320085.

Crandall, S.R. and Cox, C.L., (2012) Local dendrodendritic inhibition regulates fast synaptic transmission in visual thalamus, Journal of Neuroscience, 32:2513-2522. PMC Journal-in process.

Wang, T.A., Yu, Y.V., Govindaiah, G., Ye, X., Artinian, L., Coleman, T.P., Sweedler, J.V., Cox, C.L. and Gillette, M.U., (2012) Circadian rhythm of redox state regulates excitability in suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons, Science, 337: 839-842. PMC3490628.

Govindaiah, G., Wang, T., Gillette, M.U., and Cox, C.L., (2012) Activity-dependent regulation of retinogeniculate signaling by metabotropic glutamate receptors, Journal of Neuroscience, 32: 12820-12831.PMC3462222.

Paul, K, Venkitaramani, D.V., and Cox, C.L., (2013) Dampened dopamine-mediated neuromodulation in prefrontal cortex of Fragile X mice, Journal of Physiology, 591:1133-1143. PMC3591719.

Paul, K, and Cox, C.L., (2013) Age-dependent actions of dopamine on inhibitory synaptic transmission in superficial layers of mouse prefrontal cortex, Journal of Neurophysiology, 109:1323-1332. PMC3602829.

Crandall, S.R. and Cox, C.L., (2013) Thalamic microcircuits: presynaptic dendrites form two distinct feedforward inhibitory pathways in thalamus, Journal of Neurophysiology, 110: 470-480. PMC3727071.

Main Office

Department of Physiology
 Biomedical Physical Sciences (BPS) Building
567 Wilson Rd Rm 2201

Main Phone: 517-884-5000
Office Fax: 517-432-1967

Department Chair

C. Lee Cox
Dr. C. Lee Cox

BPS Building Rm 2201E

Phone: 517-884-5050
Fax: 517-432-1967

Graduate Office

Department of Physiology
BPS Building Rm 2205

Phone: 517-884-5075
Fax: 517-432-1967