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Robert S. Waters, PhD

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
855 Monroe Avenue, Suite 515
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901.448.5796
Fax: 901.448.7193
Lab: 224 Wittenborg Anatomy Building
Email: Robert S. Waters


  • PhD Institution: University of Connecticut, Department of Biobehavioral Science
  • Postdoctoral: The Rockefeller University, Laboratory of Neurophysiology

Research Interests

Research carried out in our laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity in neonatal and adult animals. Our previous work focused on understanding the development, organization, and reorganization of the forepaw barrel subfield (FBS) in layer IV of rat somatosensory cortex and we continue to use the FBS as our model system. Currently, our ongoing studies include: in-vitro whole cell patch recordings in rat to examine the role of GABAergic inhibition on corticocortical connections between neurons in neighboring FBS barrels, 2) in-vivo intracellular recording and immunohistochemistry to examine the role of GABAerigic inhibition on rapid and delayed cortical reorganization, 3) in-vivo intracellular recording to examine the role of thalamocortical neurons in delayed cortical reorganization, 4) in-vivo and in-vitro recordings and immunohistochemistry to examine the consequences of fetal alcohol exposure in FBS neurons in juvenile and adult rats.

More recently, we have begun to use quantitative techniques to characterize genes that underlie cortical organization and neuron number in the somatosensory cortex of inbred mice. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) will be mapped using BXD inbred strains.

We continue to study the effects of chronic endurance exercise on aging using the rodent animal model.

Representative Publications

  • Favorov OV, Pellicer-Morata V, DeJongh Curry AL, Ramshur JT, Brna A, Challener TD, Waters RS. A newly identified nociresponsive region in the transitional zone (TZ) in rat sensorimotor cortex. Brain Res. 2019 Aug 15;1717:228-234. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2019.04.028. Epub 2019 Apr 24. PubMed PMID: 31028729.
  • Whitsel BL, Vierck CJ, Waters RS, Tommerdahl M, Favorov OV. Contributions of Nociresponsive Area 3a to Normal and Abnormal Somatosensory Perception. J Pain. 2019 Apr;20(4):405-419. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2018.08.009. Epub 2018 Sep 15. Review. PubMed PMID: 30227224; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6420406.
  • Collins KL, Russell HG, Schumacher PJ, Robinson-Freeman KE, O'Conor EC, Gibney KD, Yambem O, Dykes RW, Waters RS, Tsao JW. A review of current theories and treatments for phantom limb pain. J Clin Invest. 2018 Jun 1;128(6):2168-2176. doi: 10.1172/JCI94003. Epub 2018 Jun 1. Review. PubMed PMID: 29856366; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5983333.
  • Collins KL, McKean DL, Huff K, Tommerdahl M, Favorov OV, Waters RS, Tsao JW. Hand-to-Face Remapping But No Differences in Temporal Discrimination Observed on the Intact Hand Following Unilateral Upper Limb Amputation. Front Neurol. 2017 Jan 20;8:8. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00008. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28163694; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5247470.
  • Decosta-Fortune TM, Li CX, de Jongh Curry AL, Waters RS. Differential Pattern of Interhemispheric Connections Between Homotopic Layer V Regions in the Forelimb Representation in Rat Barrel Field Cortex. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2015 Nov;298(11):1885-902. doi: 10.1002/ar.23262. Epub 2015 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 26332205; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6519936.
  • Li CX, Chappell TD, Ramshur JT, Waters RS. Forelimb amputation-induced reorganization in the ventral posterior lateral nucleus (VPL) provides a substrate for large-scale cortical reorganization in rat forepaw barrel subfield (FBS). Brain Res. 2014 Oct 2;1583:89-108. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.07.022. Epub 2014 Jul 21. PubMed PMID: 25058605; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6519953.

View more references (pubmed link)

May 26, 2022