Sarah Pallas

Associate Professor

Research areas include:


Development and plasticity of sensory encoding circuits in the brain

Localized and prolonged delivery of drugs to the brain

Current Research

Understanding and promoting recovery from brain injury (rodent models).Role of spontaneous and visually-driven activity in shaping neural circuits in the visual pathway. Influence of ecological niche and phylogeny on the role of neural activity in development and plasticity of receptive field properties.

Academic Background

  • 1988-92  MIT, Postdoc in Neural and Cog. Sci with Mriganka Sur

  • 1987 Cornell University, Ph.D. in Neurobiology with Barbara Finlay

  • 1981 Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, Neural Systems and Behavior summer course

  • 1980  Iowa State University, M.S. magna cum laude in Zoology with Charles Drewes
  • 1977  University of Minnesota, B.S. summa cum laude in Biology with William Schmid
Mudd, D.B., T.S. Balmer, S.Y. Kim, N. Machhour, S.L. Pallas (2019) TrkB activation during a critical period mimics the protective effects of early visual experience on the stability of receptive fields in adult superior colliculus. J. Neurosci.39: 4475-4488.
Cheng, Q., M.D. Graves, S.L. Pallas (2019) Dynamic alterations of retinal EphA5 expression in retinocollicular map plasticity. Devel. Neurobiol. 79:252-267.
Balmer, TS, SL Pallas (2015) Visual experience prevents dysregulation of GABAB receptor-dependent short-term depression in adult superior colliculus. J. Neurophysiol. 113: 2049-2061.
Balmer, T.S., S.L. Pallas (2015; epub 2013) Refinement but not maintenance of receptive fields in both superior colliculus and visual cortex is independent of visual experience. Cerebral Cortex 25: 904-917.
Mao, Y.-T, S.L. Pallas (2013) Cross-modal plasticity results in increased inhibition in primary auditory cortical areas. Neural Plasticity 2013: article ID 530651
Tadesse, T., Q. Cheng, M. Xu, D.J. Baro, L.J. Young, S.L. Pallas (2013) Regulation of ephrin-A expression in compressed retinocollicular maps. Devel. Neurobiol. 73: 274-296.
Mao, Y.-T, S.L. Pallas (2012) Compromise of auditory cortical tuning and topography after cross-modal invasion by visual inputs. J. Neurosci. 32: 10338-10351.
Mao, Y.-T, T.-M. Hua, S.L. Pallas (2011) Competition and convergence between auditory and cross-modal visual inputs to primary auditory cortical areas. J. Neurophysiol. 105: 1558-1573.
Carrasco, M.M., Y.-T. Mao, T. Balmer, S.L. Pallas (2011) Inhibitory plasticity underlies visual deprivation-induced loss of receptive field refinement in adulthood. Eur. J. Neurosci. 33: 58-68.
Razak, K.A., S.L. Pallas (2007) Inhibitory plasticity facilitates recovery of stimulus velocity tuning in the superior colliculus after chronic NMDA receptor blockade. J. Neurosci. 27: 7275-7283.
Contact Info

Department of Biology
418 A Morill II
Morill Science Center
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

Office: (413)-577-2254