Prakash Kara


Prakash Kara

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-9558

Lab Phone 612-624-7706

Lab Address:
1-166D Center for Magnetic Resonance Research
2021 6th Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455



Prakash Kara received his PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. His previous faculty positions were at the Medical University of South Carolina, as Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor. He came to the University of Minnesota as a Full Professor in 2018 as the first hire in a new initiative, the Medical Discovery Team (MDT) in Optical Imaging and Brain Science.


Research Summary/Interests

The Kara lab solves puzzles in sensory perception and neurovascular coupling in the mammalian brain.

Our long-term goal is to obtain a comprehensive view of how the brain adapts to change in adulthood, development, and disease. The short-term goals of our current projects are to (1) resolve aspects of neural coding of binocular signals in the visual cortex, (2) build microcircuits for neurovascular coupling and (3) determine the underpinnings of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

We use two-photon and three-photon imaging, optogenetics, and electrophysiological techniques. More specifically, we assay synaptic and spiking activity along with the responses of individual blood vessels to sensory stimuli and optogenetic activation.


1. O'Herron P, Chhatbar, PY, Levy M, Shen Z, Schramm AE, Lu Z, Kara P. Neural correlates of single-vessel hemodynamic responses in vivo. Nature (2016) 534, 378-382

2. Levy M, Lu Z, Dion G, Kara P. The shape of dendritic arbors in different functional domains of the cortical orientation map. Journal of Neuroscience (2014) 34, 3231-3236

3. Levy M, Schramm AE, Kara P. Strategies for mapping synaptic inputs on dendrites in vivo by combining two-photon microscopy, sharp intracellular recording, and pharmacology. Frontiers in Neural Circuits (2012) 6, 101

4. Shen Z, Lu Z, Chhatbar PY, O'Herron P, Kara P. An artery-specific fluorescent dye for studying neurovascular coupling. Nature Methods (2012) 9, 273-276

5. Kara P, Boyd JD. A micro-architecture for binocular disparity and ocular dominance in visual cortex. Nature (2009) 458, 627-631

6. Ohki K, Chung S, Ch'ng YH, Kara P, Reid RC. Functional imaging with cellular resolution reveals precise microarchitecture in visual cortex. Nature (2005) 433, 597-603

7. Kanold PO, Kara P, Reid RC, Shatz CJ. Role of subplate neurons in functional maturation of visual cortical columns. Science (2003) 301, 521-525

8. Kara P, Reinagel P, Reid RC. Low response variability in simultaneously recorded retinal, thalamic, and cortical neurons. Neuron (2000) 27, 635-646



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