Functional implications of tactile projection patterns to the lateral hemispheres of the cerebellum of the albino rat: The legacy of Wally Welker

James M. Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


In the late 1970s, Wally Welker and his colleagues published a series of papers describing the first high-resolution physiological maps of tactile mossy fiber projections to the granule cell layer of the rat. Over the subsequent decade, his laboratory continued to explore the implications of these results for cerebellar connectivity and function while also extending the basic mapping results to a number of additional mammalian species. In each case, the maps revealed several surprising features, including a dominance of tactile (cutaneous inputs), robust short latency responses from the sensory periphery, and a fractured patchy somatotopic organization of receptive fields. This paper summarizes the major results of these micromapping experiments and reconsiders their implications for cerebellar function in light of more recent experimental data. The paper also explores the relationship between these fundamental discoveries and Wally Welker's theory-neutral approach to experimental science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-141
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011



  • Fractured somatotopy
  • Granule cell layer
  • Mapping
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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