Eric Recktenwald

Assistant Professor of Biology


Professional Education

  • BS in Biology from Temple University
  • Ph.D. in Biology from Temple University

Courses Taught

  • Vertebrate Physiology
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology Laboratory

Research Interests

Neuroscience and Animal Behavior

I am interested in understanding how animals sense cues in the environment, how these cues are represented in the brain, and how this information is processed to create behavior. As a vertebrate model, I study the visual system of the frog. Frogs rely on vision to recognize moving objects such as prey and looming predators. Frogs also recognize stationary objects in their environment such as obstacles and hiding places. My lab discovered that moving and stationary stimuli are processed by separate and independent modules in the frog's brain. We have identified an area in the thalamus that seems to be responsible for recognizing stationary objects. To understand how this part of the brain is able to recognize and mediate responses to stationary stimuli we use three experimental techniques:

  • Electrophysiology - inserting microelectrodes into the frog's brain to record electrical activity in response to visual stimuli. Electrical activity is analyzed to understand how infromation is represented and processed in the brain.
  • Behavior - testing frogs' responses to different types of visual stimuli to see what aspects of the visual environment frogs are capable of recognizing and to understand how they normally respond to them.
  • Anatomy - identifying areas in the brain resonsible for processing visual information pertaining to stationary stimuli and using neuronal tracerst to see what other areas of the brain they are in communication with.

Professional Organizations

  • Society for Neuroscience

Selected Presentations and Publications

Skorina, L.; Recktenwald, E.; Dudkin, El.; Saidel, W.; Gruberg, E. (2016) Representation of the visual field in the anterior thalamus of the leopard frog, Rana pipiens. Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 621, 34-38.

Recktenwald, E.; Skorina, L.; Neeb, C.; Dudkin, E.; Gruberg, E. (2014) "Light and shadow; Visual recognition of the stationary environment by leopard frogs." Behavioural Processes, Vol. 107, 127-132.

Keita, H.; Recktenwald, E. (2014) "Disruption of Specific Diencephalic Brain Areas Selectively Affects Frogs' Ability to Recognize Stationary Objects." Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, San Antonio, TX.

Recktenwald, E.; Skorina, L.; Dudkin, E.; Gruberg, E.R.; Saidel, W. (2014) "The neural substrate of stationary object recognition in the leaopard frog." Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington DC.

Dudkin,E.; Recktenwald, E.; Skorina, L.; Gruberg, E.R. (2014) "Neuronal connections of lateral anterior thalamus in leopard frogs." Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.

Keita, H.; Recktenwald, E. (2013) "The effect of thalamic lesions on the leopard frog's (Rana pipiens) responses to the stationary visual environment." Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minorty Students, Nashville, TN.

Recktenwald, E.; Skorina, L.; Dudkin, E.; Neeb, C.; Gruberg, E.R. (2013) "Representation of the visual field in the anterior thalamus and associated visually guided behaviors in leopard frogs." Society for Neuroscience Annual Meetiing, San Diego, CA.

Skorina, L.; Recktenwald, E.; Masterson, TA.; Gruberg, E.R. (2010) "Behavioral and electrophysiological responses to visually perceived stationary objects in leopard frogs and the role of the anterior thalamus.: Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.


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