College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

David Rector, Ph.D.



Adjunct Professor
Office Phone: (509) 335-1587
Laboratory Phone: (509) 335-8735
Office: McCoy South, Room S113
Laboratory: McCoy South 109

Kids Judge Results A & B
Kids Judge Results C
Mom's Weekend 2003
2003 SFN Posters
Neuro 430

Oscillatory behavior is apparent in just about everything we can observe in the Universe. Planets revolve around the Sun and seasons occur in yearly cycles, moons orbit their planets and planets spin on their axis in monthly and daily cycles, plants and animals exhibit different types of behavioral activity in hourly cycles, and every minute you breath about 15 times and your heart beats about 70 times. In fact, each and every molecule is vibrating at some frequency depending on it's temperature. On the other end of the spectrum, electromagnetic waves of many types oscillate from many billions of cycles per second down to once per second or slower. Oscillatory behavior is so profound in biology that everything an organism does and how it is developed is dependent on some form of oscillatory mechanism. For example, the vertebrae in your spinal cord are formed by an oscillatory pattern of chemical factors across space that set up the distance between each bone. Long before human kind had any concept of electricity, neural systems used pulse coded modulation to transmit signal strength to other parts of the body. This is where my research interests begin. Our brain interprets signal strength from the rate that a particular neuron fires. Recent discoveries have shown that neural circuits also exhibit oscillatory activity that encodes more complex information about sensory stimulation from a collection of different inputs. The principle focus of work in my laboratory is to understand how the brain could use complex interactions of these oscillatory patterns to perform high levels of sensory processing. For example, a harbor seal can follow the trail of a fish for 100 meters or more only by using hydrodynamic cues and persistent vortices left behind by its swimming. The harbor seal uses oscillatory whisking of its whiskers to probe the environment, and could transpose the oscillatory information sent to its sensory cortex for high level processing to locate the fish, much in the same way that we can use the mathematical Fourier transform to extract information from oscillating systems in the frequency domain. Incorporation of standing wave theory also provides a mechanism by which long term memory in the brain could be explained.

The study of complex oscillatory patterns within intact neural tissue defies most existing techniques in neurobiology. Thus, the second major aim in my laboratory is to develop new neurophysiological procedures for imaging the electrical and chemical correlates of activity from large numbers of cells in the brain simultaneously. Since nerve cells swell during activation, and change their light scattering properties very quickly. We are developing high speed electronic systems to make movies of neural activity non-invasively using light and detecting changes in the back-scattered light from neural tissue. We are also developing high density electrode arrays to record the electrical potentials generated by the brain from 256 or more locations simultaneously. In collaboration with Dr. James Krueger, we are studying the plasticity of local neural group within the brain and their oscillatory activity during different behavioral states such as sleep. This work is generously supported by a grant from the NIMH, and the Sleep Research Society J. Christian Gillin Junior Faculty Award for 2002.

Biographical Information

David M. Rector, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in IPN at WSU, received his Bachelor's degree in Biology with a strong emphasis on Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California at Davis in 1988. He subsequently spent one year developing a complete pulmonary function testing system for research and diagnostic use in premature infants at the Stanford University Medical Center. He went on to work on his doctorate in Neuroscience with Ronald M. Harper at the University of California at Los Angeles where he developed an implantable video system for imaging scattered light changes in neural tissue from freely behaving animals and studied mechanisms behind Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He completed his Ph.D. degree in 1995 with honors and started a Directors funded postdoctoral fellowship and eventually became a technical staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he continued to develop high speed electronic equipment for imaging scattered light changes from neural tissue.


Recent Publications

Foust AJ, Rector DM. Optically teasing apart neural swelling and depolarization. Neuroscience 145(3): 8870899, 2007.

Krueger JM, Rector DM, Churchill L. Sleep and cytokines. Sleep Medicine Clinics 2(2): 161-169, 2007.

Sable JJ, Rector DM, Gratton G. Optical neurophysiology based on animal models. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine 26(4): 17-24, 2007.

Schei JL, McCluskey MD, Foust AJ, Yao XC, Rector DM. Action potential propagation imagined with high temporal resolution near-infrared video microscopy and polarized light. NeuoImage. 40(3): 1034-1043, 2008.

Churchill L, Rector DM, Yasuda K, Fix C,  Rojas MJ, Yasuda T, Krueger JM. Tumor necrosis factor alpha: activity dependent expression and promotion of cortical column sleep in rats. Neuroscience 156: 71-80, 2008.

Roy S, Krueger JM, Rector DM, Wan Y. A network model for activity-dependent sleep regulation. Journal of Theoretical Biology 253: 462-468, 2008.

Yeager JD, Phillips DJ, Rector DM, Bahr DF. Characterization of flexible ECoG electrode arrays for chronic recording in awake rats. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 173(2): 279-285, 2008.

Rojas MJ, Navas JA, Greene SA, Rector DM. Discrimination of auditory stimuli during isoflurane anesthesia. Comparative Medicine 53(5): 454-457, 2008.

Krueger JM, Rector DM, Roy S, Van Dongen HPA, Belenky G, Janksepp J. Sleep as a fundamental property of neuronal assemblies. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9(12): 910-919, 2008.

Topchiy IA, Wood RM, Peterson B, Navas JA, Rojas MJ, Rector DM. Conditioned lick behavior and evoked responses using whisker twitches in head restrained rats. Behavioural Brain Research 197(1): 16-23, 2009.

Rector DM, Schei JL, Rojas MJ. Mechanisms underlying state dependent surface evoked response patterns. Neuroscience 195: 115-126, 2009.

Wininger FA, Schei JL, Rector DM.  Complete optical neurophysiology: toward optical stimulation and recording of neural tissue. Applied Optics 48(10): D218-24, 2009.

Schei JL, Foust AJ, Rojas MJ, Navas JA, Rector DM. State dependent auditory evoked hemodynamic responses recorded optically with indwelling photodiodes. Applied Optics 48(10): D121-129, 2009.

Rector DM, Schei JL, Van Dongen HPA, Belenky G, Krueger JM.  Physiological markers of local sleep. European Journal of Neuroscience 29(9): 1771-1778, 2009.

Walker JL, Walker BM, Monjaraz Fuentes F, Rector DM. Rat psychomotor vigilance task with fast response times using a conditioned lick behavior. Behavioural Brain Research 216: 229-237, 2011.

Phillips DJ, Schei JL, Meighan PS, Rector DM. Cortical evoked responses associated with arousal from sleep. Sleep 34(1): 65-72, 2011.

PubMed Publications (Note: PubMed Search may produce additional "Rector" authors.)
Last Edited: Apr 09, 2013 10:21 AM   

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