Leo M. Chalupa

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Leo M. Chalupa is Vice President for Research and Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology[1] at George Washington University. He was previously a Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Neurobiology at the University of California, Davis and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior [2] where he also served as the Director of the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience and Interim Dean of the College of Biological Sciences.[3]


His research involves trying to understand how humans and other animals are able to perceive our surroundings and translate that into brain function which in turn leads to some action. For example, an animal identifying a predator and fleeing. Consequently, his research involves studying the retina, the visual system, and the development of visual perception. Using a combination of physiological, anatomical and molecular techniques his research has helped redefine the way we think about the visual system,[4] by demonstrating how genetic and environmental factors play complementary roles in shaping the proper wiring of the visual system. Specifically, his work has shown that neuronal activity does not instruct the formation of specific connections in the developing visual system, a view widely held in the field of developmental neurobiology.[5] This involved performing the first ever recordings from the primate fetal retina [6] and the manufacture of a novel neurotoxin [7] that selectively depletes cholinergic neurons from the developing retina. He is a co-editor of Development and Organization of the Retina: From Molecules to Function (1998)[8] , The Visual Neurosciences Vol. 1&2 (2004)[9] , Eye, Retina, and Visual System of the Mouse (2008)[10] , and Cerebral Plasticity: New Perspectives (2011)[11]

He is a Fellow of the AAAS and of the Association for Psychological Science, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fellowship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. He has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy) and the University of Pisa as well as Osaka University. He attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City, graduated from Queens College, City University of New York with a bachelor's degree in physiological psychology, earned his doctorate in neuropsychology at the City University of New York, and served a post-doctoral fellowship at the Brain Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received an honorary doctorate from Queens College in 2011.[12] He co-founded two companies, Immunotox Inc and SciVee.


  1. ^ http://www.gwu.edu/~research/ Office of the Vice President for Research
  2. ^ http://www.npb.ucdavis.edu/ Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
  3. ^ http://biosci3.ucdavis.edu/FacultyAndResearch/FacultyProfile.aspx?FacultyID=213 UC Davis College of Biological Sciences
  4. ^ Huberman, A. D.; Wang, G. Y.; Liets, L. C.; Collins, O. A.; Chapman, B.; Chalupa, L. M. (2003). "Eye-Specific Retinogeniculate Segregation Independent of Normal Neuronal Activity". Science. 300 (5621): 994–998. PMC 2647844Freely accessible. PMID 12738869. doi:10.1126/science.1080694. 
  5. ^ Chalupa, L. M. (2009). "Retinal waves are unlikely to instruct the formation of eye-specific retinogeniculate projections". Neural Development. 4: 25. PMC 2706240Freely accessible. PMID 19580684. doi:10.1186/1749-8104-4-25. 
  6. ^ Warland, D. K.; Huberman, A. D.; Chalupa, L. M. (2006). "Dynamics of spontaneous Activity in the Fetal Macaque Retina during Development of Retinogeniculate Pathways". Journal of Neuroscience. 26 (19): 5190–5197. PMID 16687510. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0328-06.2006. 
  7. ^ Gunhan, E.; Choudary, P. V.; Landerholm, T. E.; Chalupa, L. M. (2002). "Depletion of cholinergic amacrine cells by a novel immunotoxin does not perturb the formation of segregated on and off cone bipolar cell projections". The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 22 (6): 2265–2273. PMID 11896166. 
  8. ^ Chalupa, Leo M; Barbara Finlay (1998). Development and Organization of the Retina: From Molecules to Function. Springer. ISBN 0-306-45906-X. 
  9. ^ Chalupa, Leo M; John Werner (2003). The Visual Neurosciences Vol. 1&2. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03308-9. 
  10. ^ Chalupa, Leo M; Robert Williams (2008). Eye, Retina, and Visual System of the Mouse. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-03381-7. 
  11. ^ Chalupa, Leo M; Nicoletta Beradi; Matteo Caleo; Lucia Galli-Resta; Tommaso Pizzorusso (2011). Cerebral Plasticity: New Perspectives. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-01523-4. 
  12. ^ http://gwtoday.gwu.edu/learningresearch/anextraordinarycareer Honorary Doctorate Leo Chalupa