You are here:

John A. White


Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering
Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

White Faculty profile
Cellular Neuroscience
Brain and Behavior
Neurobiology of Disease



B.S. 1984, Louisiana Tech University; PhD. 1990, Johns Hopkins University


Hippocampal neurophysiology, computational neuroscience, real-time instrumentation

We use engineering approaches to understand how information is processed in the brain, with the goal of exploiting these findings to improve the human condition. Our specific methods include computational modeling of neuronal networks; the design and construction of customized instrumentation that interacts with human subjects and biological preparations in real time at high clock speeds; and electrophysiological and optical techniques for recording detailed information from single neurons and large neuronal networks.

Ongoing and future research questions in our laboratory include the following:

1. Why is coherent electrical activity of the cortex necessary for mental processes like learning and memory?
2. What factors control this coherent activity, and how can such knowledge be applied to help patients with memory disorders and epilepsy?
3. How can recent advances in computing technology be exploited to develop electronic devices that react to brain dysfunction in real time and react to restore normal function in neurological patients?
4. Can we take advantage of nonlinear optical techniques to improve methods of measuring and controlling neuronal activity in reduced preparations and the intact brain?
5. How can the principles of brain function be adapted to build novel "smart" devices?

Selected Publications:

Fernandez, F.R. and White, J.A. (2010) Gain control in CA1 pyramidal cells using changes in somatic conductance. Journal of Neuroscience, 30:230-241.

Economo, M.N., Fernandez, F.R., and White, J.A. (2010) Dynamic clamp: Alteration of response properties and creation of virtual realities in neurophysiology. Journal of Neuroscience, 30:2407-2413.

Smeal, R,M., Ermentrout, G.B., and White, J.A. (2010) Phase response curves and synchronized neural networks. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B., in press.

Keck, T., and White, J.A. (2009) Glycinergic inhibition in the hippocampus. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 20:13-22.

Fernandez, F.R., and White, J.A. (2009) Reduction of spike afterdepolarization by increased leak conductance alters interspike interval variability. Journal of Neuroscience, 29:973-986.

O'Gorman, D., White, J.A., and Shera, C. (2009) Dynamical instability determines the effect of ongoing noise on neural firing. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 10:251-267.

Burton, B.G., Economo, M.N., Lee, J., and White, J.A. (2008) Development of theta rhythmicity in entorhinal stellate cells of the juvenile rat. Journal of Neurophysiology, 100:3144-3157.

Keck, T., Lillis, K.P., Zhou, Y.D., and White, J.A. (2008) Frequency-dependent glycinergic inhibition modulates plasticity in hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience, 28:7359-7369.

Lillis, K.P., Eng, A., White, J.A., and Mertz, J. (2008) Two-photon imaging of spatially extended neuronal network dynamics with high temporal resolution. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 172:178-184.

Idoux, E., Eugene, D., Chambaz, A., Magnani, C., White, J.A., and Moore, L.E. (2008) Control of neuronal persistent activity by voltage-dependent dendritic properties. Journal of Neurophysiology, 100:1278-1286.

Fernandez, F.R., and White, J.A. (2008) Artificial synaptic conductances reduce subthreshold oscillations and periodic firing in stellate cells of the entorhinal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 28:3790-3803.

Acker, C.D., and White, J.A. (2007) Roles of IA and morphology in action potential propagation in CA1 pyramidal cell dendrites. J Comput Neurosci, Oct;23(2):201-216.

Verhagen, J.V., Wesson, D.W., Netoff, T.I., White, J.A., and Wachowiak, M. (2007) Sniffing controls an adaptive filter of sensory input to the olfactory bulb. Nat Neurosci, May;10(5):631-639.

Dasika, V.K., White, J.A., and Colburn, H.S. (2007) Simple models show the general advantages of dendrites in coincidence detection. J Neurophysiol, May;97(5):3449-3459.

Lipton, P.A., White, J.A., and Eichenbaum, H. (2007) Disambiguation of overlapping experiences by neurons in the medial entorhinal cortex. J Neurosci, May 23;27(21):5787-5795.

Haas, J.S., Dorval, A.D. 2nd, and White, J.A. (2007) Contributions of Ih to feature selectivity in layer II stellate cells of the entorhinal cortex. J Comput Neurosci, Apr;22(2):161-171.

Rotstein, H.G., Oppermann, T., White, J.A., and Kopell, N. (2006) The dynamic structure underlying subthreshold oscillatory activity and the onset of spikes in a model of medial entorhinal cortex stellate cells. J Comput Neurosci, Dec;21(3):271-292.

Pervouchine, D.D., Netoff, T.I., Rotstein, H.G., White, J.A., Cunningham, M.O., Whittington, M.A., and Kopell, N.J. (2006) Low-dimensional maps encoding dynamics in entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. Neural Comput, Nov;18(11):2617-2650.

Dorval, A.D., and White, J.A. (2006) Synaptic input statistics tune the variability and reproducibility of neuronal responses. Chaos, Jun;16(2):026105.

Zhou, Y.D., Acker, C.D., Netoff, T.I., Sen, K., and White, J.A. (2005) Increasing Ca2+ transients by broadening postsynaptic action potentials enhances timing-dependent synaptic depression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Dec 27;102(52):19121-19125.

Dorval, A.D. Jr, and White, J.A. (2005) Channel noise is essential for perithreshold oscillations in entorhinal stellate neurons. J Neurosci, Oct 26;25(43):10025-10028.

Rotstein, H.G., Pervouchine, D.D., Acker, C.D., Gillies, M.J., White, J.A., Buhl, E.H., Whittington, M.A., and Kopell, N. (2005) Slow and fast inhibition and an H-current interact to create a theta rhythm in a model of CA1 interneuron network. J Neurophysiol, Aug;94(2):1509-1518.

Dasika, V.K., White, J.A., Carney, L.H., and Colburn, H.S. (2005) Effects of inhibitory feedback in a network model of avian brain stem. J Neurophysiol, Jul;94(1):400-414.

Faisal, A.A., White, J.A., and Laughlin, S.B. (2005) Ion-channel noise places limits on the miniaturization of the brain's wiring.Curr Biol, Jun 21;15(12):1143-1149.

Netoff, T.I., Acker, C.D., Bettencourt, J.C., and White, J.A. (2005) Beyond two-cell networks: experimental measurement of neuronal responses to multiple synaptic inputs. J Comput Neurosci, Jun;18(3):287-295.

Netoff, T.I., Banks, M.I., Dorval, A.D., Acker, C.D., Haas, J.S., Kopell, N., and White, J.A. (2005) Synchronization in hybrid neuronal networks of the hippocampal formation. J Neurophysiol, Mar;93(3):1197-1208.

Netoff, T.I., Clewley, R., Arno, S., Keck, T., and White, J.A. (2004) Epilepsy in small-world networks. J Neurosci, Sep 15;24(37):8075-8083.

Bursac, N., Papadaki, M., White, J.A., Eisenberg, S.R., Vunjak-Novakovic, G., and Freed, L.E. (2003) Cultivation in rotating bioreactors promotes maintenance of cardiac myocyte electrophysiology and molecular properties. Tissue Eng, Dec;9(6):1243-1253.

Acker, C.D., Kopell, N., and White, J.A. (2003) Synchronization of strongly coupled excitatory neurons: relating network behavior to biophysics. J Comput Neurosci, Jul-Aug;15(1):71-90.

Haas, J.S., and White, J.A. (2002) Frequency selectivity of layer II stellate cells in the medial entorhinal cortex.J Neurophysiol, Nov;88(5):2422-2429.

Mino, H., Rubinstein, J.T., and White, J.A. (2002) Comparison of algorithms for the simulation of action potentials with stochastic sodium channels.Ann Biomed Eng, Apr;30(4):578-587.

Dorval, A.D., Christini, D.J., and White, J.A. (2001) Real-Time linux dynamic clamp: a fast and flexible way to construct virtual ion channels in living cells.Ann Biomed Eng, Oct;29(10):897-907.

White, J.A., Banks, M.I., Pearce, R.A., and Kopell, N.J. (2000) Networks of interneurons with fast and slow gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) kinetics provide substrate for mixed gamma-theta rhythm.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Jul 5;97(14):8128-8133.

White, J.A., Rubinstein, J.T., and Kay, A.R. (2000) Channel noise in neurons.Trends Neurosci, Mar;23(3):131-137.

Banks, M.I., White, J.A., and Pearce, R.A. (2000) Interactions between distinct GABA(A) circuits in hippocampus.Neuron, Feb;25(2):449-457.

Last Updated: 5/24/18