W. Michael King

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Professor of Otolaryngology / Director, Vestibular Testing Center
734 936 9418
Short bio: 

Ph. D. Physiology. 1976.

M.S. Electrical Engineering. 1970.

A.B. Physics. 1966.

Research summary: 

My research is focused on the roles of the vestibular and oculomotor systems in coordinating gaze (eye and head movements) and in human postural control mechanisms. Particular interests include studies of how age related changes in the vestibular system impact falling and spatial location in elderly humans and in a mouse model that associates aging and vestibular decline. In the clinical laboratory, we study of effects of ototoxic antibiotics on the inner ear vestibular system (e.g. its impact in cystic fibrosis patients), and vestibular insults produced by head trauma or intense noise exposure (e.g., during military service). A goal of these studies is to correlate basic science research in mouse and guinea pig animal models with relevant human clinical and behavioral studies. 

In the laboratory we employ state of the art vestibular stimulators (e.g., rotary chair), sensitive eye movement monitors (high speed video in humans, search coil studies in animals), and newly developed inertial motion sensors to measure head and body movement and orientation in 3-dimensional space. We have also developed miniature sensors for use in small animals such as mice. The animal lab is also equipped to perform single cell electrophysiological studies of central nervous neurons in behaving animals. 

Projects currently underway include an electrophysiological study of how vestibular neurons in the guinea pig process efference copy and afferent vestibular signals related to voluntary and passively induced head turns, a study of vestibular function in genetically modified mice with inner ear developmental defects, and a study of eye/head coordination in human patients with bilateral vestibular loss. 

Recent publications: 

Takemuri, K and King W.M. Vestibulocollic reflex in mice. Experimental Brain Research 166: 1-5, 2005.

Shanidze, N. Kim, AH, Raphael, Y. and King, WM. Eye-Head Coordination in the Guinea Pig I: Responses to Passive Whole Body Rotations. Experimental Brain Research 205:395-404, 2010

Shanidze, N. Kim, AH, Loewenstein, S, Raphael, Y. and King, WM. Eye-Head Coordination in the Guinea Pig II: Responses to Self-generated (Active) Head Movements. Experimental Brain Research:205:445-454, 2010

"King, W.M. Binocular coordination of eye movements: Hering’s law of equal innervation or uniocular control? Eur. J. Neurosci. 33: 2139-2146, 2011

Shanidze, N, Lim, K, Dye, J, King, WM. Galvanic stimulation of the vestibular periphery in guinea pigs during passive whole-body rotation and self-generated head movement. J. Neurophysiol. 107:2260-2270, 2012

eye movements,
vestibular function,
balance function,
clinical vestibular testing,
eye-head coordination,
inertial motion sensors,
adaptive behaviors,
postural control,
and motor control systems.