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Joseph Zak

Physiology Graduate Student in Nathan Schoppa's lab

University of Michigan B.S. Neuroscience

Research assistant at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine

My research interests involve understanding neural processing, including the mechanisms by which internal representations are made of external stimuli. Specifically, I am interested in the balance between neural excitation and inhibition within the mammalian olfactory bulb as it pertains to signal filtering and discrimination. To address these questions I use electrophysiological, pharmacological and imaging techniques to conduct my research.


Zhang Z-W, Zak JD, Liu H (2010). MeCP2 is required for normal development of GABAergic circuits in the thalamus. J Neurophysiol. 103:2470-81

Gire DH, Franks KM, Zak JD, Tanaka KF, Whitesell JD, Mulligan AA, Hen R, Schoppa NE (2012) Mitral cells of the olfactory bulb are mainly excited through a multi-step signaling path. J Neurosci. 32:2964-75

Zak JD, Whitesell JD, Schoppa NE (2014) Metabotropic glutamate receptors promote disinhibition of olfactory bulb glomeruli that scales with input strength. J Neuropysiol. Under Revision. Submitted 03/2014

Conference Abstracts:

Zak JD, Gire DH, Schoppa NE (2012) Balancing excitation and inhibition within olfactory bulb glomeruli. Society for Neuroscience, Annual Meeting 2012, New Orleans, LA

Zak JD, Schoppa NE (2013) Control of glomerular output by metabotropic glutamate receptors in the olfactory bulb. Society for Neuroscience, Annual Meeting 2013, San Diego, CA

Bourne JN, Zak JD, Dulla CG, Schoppa NE (2013) Optical detection of glutamate transients within olfactory bulb glomeruli. Society for Neuroscience, Annual Meeting 2013, San Diego, CA

Zak JD, Schoppa NE (2014) Cellular Mechanisms Underlying Olfactory Signal-Filtering at Olfactory Bulb Glomeruli. Association for Chemoreception Sciences, Annual Meeting 2014, Bonita Springs, FL

Zak JD, Schoppa NE (2014) Cellular and population analyses of signal filtering at olfactory bulb glomeruli. Society for Neuroscience, Annual Meeting 2014,    Washington DC

Honors and awards:

​Dec. 2012 ​Front Range Neuroscience Group (SfN Chapter) Top Student Poster Presentation
​2013-2016 ​National Institute of Health Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award   
​Dec. 2013 ​Front Range Neuroscience Group (SfN Chapter) Invited Student Presentation
​Dec. 2013 ​28th Annual University of Colorado Student Research Forum Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation
​April 2014 Association for Chemoreception Sciences Annual Meeting 2014Travel Award