Baker, James, PhD



Baker, James, PhD




Office Phone





Tarry 5-767

Areas of Research

Motor Control

NU Scholar Profile

Recent Publications on PubMed

Current Research

Current Research

We study the vestibular and visual sensory systems and the reflex motor outputs to the eyes, neck, and limbs. Our basic question is "How does the brain process sensory signals to produce appropriate coordinated motor behavior?", and our animal models range from mice and rats to primates.

Much of our research explores the vestibulo-ocular reflex, which responds to head rotations by rotating the eyes in an equal and opposite way so that the line of sight remains constant during head movement, maintaining fixation on an object. We have documented the pattern of vestibular sensory nerve fiber convergence that controls the direction of vestibulo-ocular responses, and we have studied the role of the cerebellum in processing visual signals that correct or adjust this pattern.

Our recent work examines the contribution of gravity sense to vestibular reflexes. Gravity sense both supplements and controls the vestibular reflexes elicited when the vestibular canals are stimulated by head rotation.

Another important and more complex reflex we study is the vestibular-neck reflex or vestibulocollic reflex, which serves to stabilize the head against forces that would move it. We have recorded the patterns of neck muscle electromyographic activity as this reflex coordinates the contraction of many neck muscles to produce an accurate muscular reaction that counters the forces against the head.