Research Interests:

  1. Bullet Origin of natural firing patterns in the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia

  2. Bullet Principles of synaptic integration by neurons

  3. Bullet Generation of autonomous activity in the nervous system

  4. Bullet Mathematical modeling of neurons and networks in the basal ganglia

    My research lab employs microscopy and intracellular recording (at the same time), and mathematical modeling to understand the basic mechanisms responsible for the electrical activity of neurons. Some of this activity is autonomous, that is, it does not depend upon the presence of an external influence from the environment, such as a synaptic input. Autonomous activity arises from the constellation of ion channels expressed on the cell membrane, and the interactions among channels via voltage, calcium, and other intracellular messengers.

    In my lab we study the contribution of specific ion channels using intracellular recording and ion imaging, to determine the ionic mechanism of autonomous activity in each neuron type in the the basal ganglia. Mathematical models of the interacting set of ion channels are used to build our understanding of the result of the interaction.  I think that mathematical methods are the only way to build understanding and intuition for the dynamics that arise in neurons with multiple ion channels.

    The computational properties of neurons under the influence of synaptic inputs depends critically upon the autonomous properties of the neurons. We study the neuronal responses to synaptic excitation and inhibition in the context of intrinsic nonlinear properties of the neuron, including those which can lead to autonomous activity patterns.


Charles J. Wilson, Ph.D

Ewing Halsell Chair

Department of Biology, UTSA

B.S University of Colorado

Ph.D. University of Colorado

Postdoctoral:  Michigan State University

Phone: (210) 458-5654

Fax: (210) 458-5658