Harvey J. Karten is an experimental comparative neurobiologist, recognized for his work on the organization of the forebrain in birds, and its relationship to the origins of the neocortex of mammals. He provided detailed information about the various input and output pathways of the avian forebrain, defining the presence of auditory, visual, sensorymotor pathways and associated microcircuits, revealing their startling similarities to those of the mammalian cortex. A graduate of Yeshiva College (1955) and Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1959), he completed a medical internship at the University of Utah, and a year of residency in Psychiatry at the University of Colorado. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Walle J.H. Nauta at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and was a Research Scientist at MIT. He joined the faculty at SUNY Stony Brook in 1974, and moved to UCSD in 1986. He is presently active as a Distinguished Emeritus Professor, with a lab in the Dept. of Physics at UCSD.

Research Interests

What are the evolutionary origins of the cells and circuits of the vertebrate brain? My lab uses morphological histochemical, developmental and physiological tools to explore the organization of the avian visual and auditory pathways. Despite seeming differences between nonmammalia and mammals in the macroarchitecture of the brain, the essential circuitry of the forebrain is very highly conserved across all vertebrates. Current strategies rely heavily on wide field imaging at mesoscopic magnification (0.5 micrometers/pixel), and methods for sharing "big data" over the internet. I am involved in developing large datasets of avian and mammalian brains, and designing suitable software for utilizing and sharing this information.

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Primary Section

Section 28: Systems Neuroscience

Secondary Section

Section 24: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience