Esther Gardner

Esther GardnerProfessor, Department of Neuroscience & Physiology 

550 First Avenue
Room 470 Medical Science Building
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-263-5412
Fax: 212-263-6964

Research Summary

Neural Mechanisms of Cutaneous Spatial Integration

  • Neural control of skilled hand movements.
  • Somatosensory and motor function of the hand.
  • Cerebral cortex function in non-human primates.

Research in the Laboratory of Cerebral Cortex Functions, headed by Esther P. Gardner, Ph.D., analyzes the role of somatosensory neurons in the parietal and frontal lobes during performance of skilled manual tasks. We use multiple electrode arrays to record spike trains and local field potentials of neural populations in the cerebral cortex of monkeys as the animals perform a skilled task. Digital video measurements of hand kinematics are correlated with the neural responses to quantify how sensory cues and previous experience are used to plan and implement skilled hand movements. Current research in this laboratory is focused on the neural control of bilateral hand movements when the two hands interact synergistically to grasp and manipulate objects.

Selected Publications

  • Chen J, Reitzen SD, Kohlenstein JB, Gardner EP (2009). Neural representation of hand kinematics during prehension in posterior parietal cortex of the macaque monkey. J Neurophysiol 102: 3310–3328. PMID: 19793876. PMCID: PMC2804418

  • Gardner EP (2008). Dorsal and ventral streams in the sense of touch. In: The Senses: A Comprehensive Reference. Vol 6: Somatosensation, edited by Kaas JH, Gardner EP. Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 233-258.

  • Gardner EP, Babu KS, Reitzen SD, Ghosh S, Brown AM, Chen J, Hall AL, Herzlinger MD, Kohlenstein JB, Ro JY (2007a). Neurophysiology of prehension: I. Posterior parietal cortex and object-oriented hand behaviors. J Neurophysiol 97: 387-406. PMID: 16971679. PMCID: PMC2868366

  • Gardner EP, Babu KS, Ghosh S, Sherwood A, Chen J (2007c). Neurophysiology of prehension: III. Representation of object features in posterior parietal cortex of the macaque monkey. J Neurophysiol 98: 3708-3730. PMID: 17942625. PMCID: PMC2872198

  • Gardner EP, Johnson KO. (2012). 21. Sensory Coding. In: Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM, Siegelbaum SA, Hudspeth AJ (eds.) Principles of Neural Science. 5th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 449-474.