Peter Sterling, Ph.D

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Professor of Neuroscience
Department: Neuroscience

Contact information
Finca Tangara, Palmira Abajo, Chiriqui Province, Panamá (November-April)

24 High Point Drive (May-October)
Amherst, MA 00102
. (Biology)
Cornell University, 1961.
. (Medicine)
New York University School of Medicine, 1962.
Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
Western Reserve University , 1966.
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Description of Research Expertise

My broad goal has been to learn how the brain is designed – to understand its functional architecture. My research has spanned the full range of scales, from nanoscopic (synaptic vesicles), to microscopic (neural circuits), to macroscopic (regional neuroanatomy and behavior). My laboratory focused on retinal structure and function (Sterling, 2013), but my theoretical interests extended to basic issues of physiological regulation and behavior, leading to the concept of allostasis (Sterling, 2004, 2011). The two lines are now integrated in a book written with Prof. Simon Laughlin, Principles of Neural Design (2015). Investigations continue in a Massachusetts garden and on a farm in western Panamá.

Selected Publications

Sterling P: What is health? allostasis and the evolution of human design. MIT Press 2020.

Schulkin J, Sterling P.: Allostasis: a brain-centered, predictive mode of physiological regulation. Trends in Neuroscience October 2019.

Sterling P: Predictive regulation and human design. eLife 7, Jun 2018.

Sterling P: Why we abandon a life of small pleasures. Great Transition Initiative Website 2016.

Sterling P: Why We Consume: Neural Design and Sustainability. Great Transition Initiative. Great Transition Initiative Website 2016.

Sterling P, Laughlin, Simon. : Principles of Neural Design. MIT Press. May 2015.

Sterling P: Homeostasis vs. Allostasis: Implications for brain function and mental disorders. JAMA Psychiatry 71(10): 1192-3, 2014.

Sterling P: Some Principles of Retinal Design: The Proctor Lecture. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 54(3): 2267-2275, 2013.

Sterling P: Allostasis: A model of predictive regulation. Physiol. Behav. 106(1): 5-15, 2012.

Perge J, Niven J, Mugnaini E, Balasubramanian V, Sterling P: Why do axons vary in caliber? J. Neurosci. 32(2): 626-38, 2012.

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Last updated: 10/30/2019
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