Marshall G. Hussain Shuler, Ph.D.

Headshot of Marshall G. Hussain Shuler
  • Associate Professor of Neuroscience

Research Interests

Neural mechanisms of reward-dependent learning


Dr. Marshall G. Hussain Shuler is an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research examines the neural mechanisms of reward-dependent learning.

He received a B.A. with distinction in neuroscience from the University of Virginia, where he was a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Apprentice. He completed his Ph.D. in Neurobiology at Duke University and received a National Research Service fellowship there. He joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins as an associate professor in 2008 after completing his post-doctoral research at MIT as a Howard Hughes fellow.

Dr. Hussain Shuler has received several awards and distinctions, and has presented his work at several national and international conferences and seminars. He has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and one book chapter. He is a member of the Society of Neuroscience. more


  • Associate Professor of Neuroscience

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • Ph.D.; Duke University (North Carolina) (2001)

Additional Training

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2007

Research & Publications


One of the fundamental tasks of the brain is the formation of adaptive behaviors in response to environmental stimuli. Brain reward systems are thought to mediate changes in synaptic efficacy underlying learning of appropriate behaviors by relating the outcome of behavior with preceding neural activity. The Hussain Shuler lab seeks to understand the means by which such systems come to convey reward value, expectancy, quality, probability and utility, and the rules by which such activity is used to effect synaptic weight within brain networks to encode stimulus-action associations.

While it is commonly held that “higher-order” brain regions are engaged to elaborate on the behavioral significance of sensory input, Dr. Hussain Shuler has demonstrated reward-timing activity within the primary visual cortex. Specifically, Dr. Hussain Shuler provided evidence that pairing visual stimuli with subsequent reward leads to the emergence of reward-timing activity in the primary visual cortex (V1). The properties of this activity suggest that it may be generated within V1 itself, motivating a research program to investigate the neural mechanisms of reward-based interval learning in V1. To investigate this central question, the Hussain Shuler lab uses an interdisciplinary approach combining multi-site recordings of neural activity and brain chemistry with viral-mediated gene transfer and behavior.

Lab Website: Marshall Shuler Laboratory

Selected Publications

Chubykin AA, Roach EB, Bear MF, Shuler MG. “A cholinergic mechanism for reward timing within primary visual cortex.” Neuron. 2013 77(4):723-35. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.12.039.

Gavornik JP, Shuler MG, Loewenstein Y, Bear MF, Shouval HZ. “Learning reward timing in cortex through reward dependent expression of synaptic plasticity.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106, 6826-31 (2009).

Liu CH, Heynen AJ, Shuler MG, Bear MF. “Cannabinoid receptor blockade reveals parallel plasticity mechanisms in different layers of mouse visual cortex” Neuron 58, 340-5 (2008).

Shuler MG, Bear M. “Reward timing in the primary visual cortex.” Science 2006 311:1606-1609.

Whitlock JR, Heynen AJ, Shuler MG, Bear M (2006) Learning induces long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Science 313:1093-1097.

Krupa DJ, Wiest MC, Shuler M, Laubach M, Nicolelis MAL (2004) Layer Distinct Somatosensory Cortical Activation During Active Tactile Discrimination. Science. 304(5679).

Shuler MG, Krimm R, Hill D (2004) Neuron/Target Plasticity in the Peripheral Gustatory System. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 472(2):183-92.

Shuler MG, Krupa DJ, Nicolelis MAL (2002) Integration of bilateral whisker stimuli in rats: role of the whisker barrel cortices. Cerebral Cortex 12:86-97.

Shuler MG, Krupa, DJ, Nicolelis MAL (2001) Bilateral integration of whisker information in the primary somatosensory cortex of rats. Journal of Neuroscience 21: 5251-5261.

Nicolelis MAL, Shuler M (2001) Thalamocortical and corticocortical interactions in the somatosensory system. In: Progress in Brain Research (Nicolelis MAL, ed), Vol. 130, pp. 89-110. New York: Elsevier.

Laubach M, Shuler MG, Nicolelis MAL (1999) Independent component analyses for quantifying neuronal ensemble interactions. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 94:141-154.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Neuroscience Graduate Program

Activities & Honors


  • Travel Award, Duke University, 2000
  • Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Scholarship, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 1994 - 1995
  • National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health, 2000 - 2002
  • International Travel Award, National Science Foundation, 1999
  • Research Fellowship, Neurobiology Department, 1996 - 1998
  • Viele Academic Scholarship, Sigma Phi Society, 1996 - 1997


  • Child Neurology Society
  • International Neuropsychological Society
  • Organization for Human Brain Mapping
  • Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology
  • Society for Cognitive Neuroscience

Professional Activities

  • Admissions Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2009
  • BSi Junior Faculty Advisory Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2010
  • BSi Search Committee, Johns Hopkins University, 2010 - 2011
  • Director of Minority Affairs, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2009
  • Organizer, COSYNE Workshop, 2008
  • Program Committee, COSYNE, 2011
  • Representative for SFN/Capitol Hill Day, Johns Hopkins University, 2009 - 2011
  • Reviewer, COSYNE, 2010
  • Senate Faculty, Johns Hopkins University, 2011
  • Steering Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2009
  • Vivarium Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2009
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