Malcolm M. Slaughter
Professor of Physiology and Biophysics

Director, Program in Neuroscience

Director of Graduate Studies, Biophysics Program

University at Buffalo School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Department of Physiology and Biophysical Sciences
124 Sherman Hall
Buffalo , New York 14214 USA

Phone: (716) 829-3240

Fax: (716) 829-2344



Laboratory located in 560 Biomedical Research Building.

Mailing address is 124 Sherman Hall, Buffalo, NY 14214.


    The laboratory seeks to understand information processing in the retina, a model for neural network analysis. Studies focus on the events that occur at synapses, with a particular emphasis on neurotransmitter-receptor interactions. Not only the  neurotransmitter type but also the properties of receptor subtypes determines how neurons communicate. Our experiments investigate this linkage using electrophysiological, molecular and cell-imaging techniques. Subjects of current interest are:

1) regulation of transmitter release by metabotropic receptors

2) properties of glycine receptors in retina and in expression systems;

3) glutamate receptor function in development and neuronal cell death;

4) image-based analysis of retinal function.

    There is also a clinical application to the electroretinogram, a tool used by ophthalmologists to evaluate the health of the retina. We are able to use our knowledge of complex retinal circuits to improve the analytical potential of the electroretinogram. Transmitter-receptor interactions also form the basis for many pharmaceutical agents used to treat neurological problems. Therefore our retinal studies apply to the broad area of medicinal pharmacology.


Grant Support:

2005-2010   “UB Vision” National Eye Institute

2005-2010   “Synaptic Mechanisms in Retina” National Eye Institute

2003-2009   “Retinal Inhibitory Glycine Receptors” National Eye Institute


Publications since 2000:

             1. Awatramani, G and M. M. Slaughter (2000) Origin of transient and sustained responses in ganglion cells of the retina. Journal of Neuroscience 20: 7087-7095.

            2. Awatramani, G, Wang, J. and M. M. Slaughter (2001) Amacrine and ganglion cell contributions to the electroretinogram in amphibian retina.  Visual Neuroscience 18, 147-156.

             3. Shen, W. and M. M. Slaughter (2001) Multireceptor GABAergic regulation of synaptic communication in the amphibian retina. Journal of Physiology 530: 55-67.

            4. Basic Concepts in Neuroscience, M. M. Slaughter ed. (2001), McGraw-Hill, 277p.

            5. Awatramani, G.B. and M. M. Slaughter (2001) Intensity-dependent, rapid activation of presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors at a central synapse. Journal of. Neuroscience 21: 741-749.

             6. Shen, W. and M. M. Slaughter (
2002) A non-excitatory paradigm of glutamate toxicity. Journal of Neurophysiology 87: 1629-1634.

             7. Mitra, P. and M. M. Slaughter (2002)Mechanism of generation of spontaneous miniature outward currents (SMOCS) in retinal amacrine cells. Journal of General Physiology 119: 355-372.

             8. Mitra, P. and M. M. Slaughter (2002)Calcium-induced transitions between the spontaneous miniature outward and the transient oOutward currents in retinal amacrine cells. Journal of General Physiology 119: 373-388.

            9. Tian, N. and Slaughter, M.M. (2003) Structure of glutamate analogs that activate the ON bipolar cell metabotropic glutamate receptor in vertebrate retina. Visual Neuroscience 20: 231-240.

            10. Han, Y Li, P. and Slaughter M.M. (2004) Selective antagonism of rat inhibitory glycine receptor subunits. Journal of Physiology 554: 649-658.

            11. Shen, W. Finnegan, S.G. and Slaughter, M.M. (2004) Glutamate receptor subtypes in human retinal horizontal cells. Visual Neuroscience 21: 89-95.

            12. Wang, P and Slaughter, M.M. (2005) Effects of GABA receptor antagonists on retinal glycine receptors and on homomeric glycine receptor alpha subunits. Neurophysiology 93: 3120 - 3126.

            13.Xu, J. W., Hou, M. and Slaughter, M.M. (2005) Photoreceptor encoding of supersaturating light stimuli in salamander retina. Journal of Physiology 569:575-85.

            14. Xu, J.W. and Slaughter, M.M. (2005) Large-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels facilitate transmitter release in salamander rod synapse. Journal of Neuroscience 25:7660-7668.

            15. Suryanarayanan, A. and Slaughter M.M. (2005) Synaptic transmission mediated by internal calcium stores in rod photoreceptors. Journal of Neuroscience 26: 1759-1766.

            16. . Li, P and Slaughter, M.M. (2007) Glycine receptor subunit composition alters the action of GABA antagonists. Visual Neurosciences 24: 513-521.