ScottCruikshankAssistant Professor

Research Areas
Synaptic and cellular organization and processing in the neocortex and thalamus, with an emphasis on sensory systems


Two dynamically distinct circuits drive inhibition in the sensory thalamus, RI Martinez-Garcia, B Voelcker, JB Zaltsman, SL Patrick, TR Stevens, BW Connors, SJ Cruikshank, Nature 583 (7818), 813-818; 2020

A corticothalamic switch: controlling the thalamus with dynamic synapses, SR Crandall, SJ Cruikshank, BW Connors, Neuron 86 (3), 768-782; 2015 

Thalamic control of layer 1 circuits in prefrontal cortex, SJ Cruikshank, OJ Ahmed, TR Stevens, SL Patrick, AN Gonzalez, ..., Journal of Neuroscience 32 (49), 17813-17823; 2012

Pathway-specific feedforward circuits between thalamus and neocortex revealed by selective optical stimulation of axons, SJ Cruikshank, H Urabe, AV Nurmikko, BW Connors, Neuron 65 (2), 230-245; 2010

Synaptic basis for intense thalamocortical activation of feedforward inhibitory cells in neocortex, SJ Cruikshank, TJ Lewis, BW Connors, Nature neuroscience 10 (4), 462-468; 2007

Auditory thalamocortical synaptic transmission in vitro, SJ Cruikshank, HJ Rose, R Metherate, Journal of neurophysiology 87 (1), 361-384; 2002 

For a full list of publications:


Dr. Cruikshank received his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training from the University of California, Irvine. Before coming to UAB in 2019, he was a research track professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University.


Dr. Cruikshank studies synaptic and sensory processing in neural circuits of the neocortex and thalamus.  Clarifying how these structures bidirectionally control one another will be an important part of understanding mammalian information processing.   His work involves neurophysiology in intact animals and in vitro, pharmacology, anatomy, behavior and optogenetics.   He often combines whole-cell recordings from genetically-identified neurons with optical control.  An overarching goal is to identify basic principles of cortical-thalamic processing, including interactions with brain state.