Professor John Pettigrew FRS
John Pettigrew is outstanding for the number of new directions of research he has initiated in the comparative and developmental physiology of the senses in vertebrates. He was the first to demonstrate that neurons in the striate cortex are selective for binocular disparity. He has shown that the binocular visual system of the owl, though very different anatomically, shares many functional and developmental properties with cats and monkeys. He showed that nonvisual (nor-adrenergic) pathways influence the ‘critical period’ for development of binocular neurons in the striate cortex. He demonstrated that owls have an auditory map of sound source location in their midbrains. He is quick to appreciate the ecological and evolutionary significance of these discoveries, each of which has opened up a fertile new area of investigation, and he continues to elucidate new problems in the visual, auditory and somatosensory systems of a wide range of vertebrates.
Interests and expertise