Meet the Scientist: Dr. Jonathan S. Bakin

Last updated Apr 5, 2016


Welcome to A-M Systems’ “Meet the Scientist” blog series. The purpose of this series is to introduce you to the wide variety of scientists who over the years have selected A-M Systems products for use in their laboratory research endeavors.

A-M Systems makes a concerted effort to develop long-lasting relationships with our customers, and we do so by offering well-performing instruments and accessories at fair and equitable pricing, in addition to offering support and research guidance when possible.

We want to be a partner in your research endeavors. To ensure that we are offering the best products we can, we also go out and visit our customers at their labs, to learn a bit more about their research endeavors, what they like about our gear, and what they don’t. This blog series will feature many of the scientists we have met during these trips, in addition to those we look forward to visiting!


The one time a neuroscientist has to wear a tie. (Dr. Jonathan Bakin/A-M Systems)


But the first two installments of this series will feature A-M Systems’ own scientists, the persons directly responsible for guiding neuroscience product development at A-M Systems. This month, we will introduce you to Dr. Jonathan S. Bakin, A-M Systems Neuroscience and Physiology Product Manager. Dr. David Mittmann, A-M Systems Chief Engineer, will be profiled next month.

Dr. Jonathan Bakin’s first exposure to neuroscience was as an undergrad at University of California Irvine, where he began as an assistant in the laboratory of Dr. James McGaugh. While in Dr. McGaugh’s lab, Dr. Bakin developed a deep interest in the neurophysiology of learning and memory, with his first experiments being performed under the guidance of Dr. Paul Gold, using kindling as a model of learning.

While working in UCI’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Dr. Bakin was exposed to other laboratories, including those of Dr. Norman Weinberger and Dr. Gary Lynch. Dr. Bakin’s interests in electrophysiology led him to joining Dr. Weinberger’s laboratory, where he stayed to complete his doctorate investigating and learning-induced plasticity in the receptive field properties of auditory cortex neurons of rats and guinea pigs.

During this period, Dr. Bakin learned a variety of techniques, but the mainstay of his work was single- and multiple-unit recording in awake behaving animals with extensive classical conditioning and behavioral analysis. Following his time at Irvine, Dr. Bakin continued his interest in the mechanisms underlying behavior when he pursued a Post-Doctoral appointment at Rockefeller University with Dr. Charles Gilbert. Paired with Dr. Ken Nakayama, Dr. Bakin investigated the responses of V1 and V2 neurons to illusory contours in behaving primates.

One of the lessons Dr. Bakin learned under Dr. Weinberger is how every instrument has built-in biases and assumptions, and if you don’t understand what they are, and how they impact the performance of that instrument, then you weaken your ability to properly interpret your data. Contemporary instruments are far beyond the simple op-amp buffer circuits of 30 years ago, making this lesson even more applicable today.

During grad school, Dr. Bakin continually developed new instrumentation for use in his experiments, including designing and building his own portable, automated, calibrated, auditory stimulus delivery system; an automated whisker stimulator for use in barrel cortex research; and timing control circuitry to control stimulus and reward delivery in both operant and classical condition experiments.

This exposure to laboratory instrumentation, combined with his extensive exposure to neuropharmacological, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and behavioral techniques made him a highly qualified candidate during A-M Systems search for a new Neuroscience Product Manager. Dr. Bakin joined A-M Systems in the summer of 2000, bringing nearly 20 years of lab experience with him in his role as “Defender of the Customer”. His current job responsibilities include guiding the design of new instruments, the selection of new products to offer, assisting customers in system design, and general technical support.

So, if you have any questions about any of A-M Systems instruments or products, or you would like to suggest new instruments or accessories for A-M Systems to manufacture, please feel free to contact Dr. Bakin at

Selected Publications:

Bakin JS, Nakayama K, and Gilbert CD (2000) Visual Responses in Monkey Areas V1 and V2 to Three-Dimensional Surface Configurations, Journal of Neuroscience, 20, 8188-8198

Weinberger NM, and Bakin JS (1998) Learning-Induced Physiological Memory in Adult Primary Auditory Cortex: Receptive Field Plasticity, Model, and Mechanisms. Audiol Neurooto, 3:145–167

Bakin JS, and Weinberger NM (1996) Induction of a physiological memory in the cerebral cortex by stimulation of the nucleus basalis. PNAS 93, 11219-24

Bakin JS, South DA, and Weinberger NM (1996) Induction of receptive field plasticity in the auditory cortex of the guinea pig during instrumental avoidance conditioning. Behavioral Neuroscience, 110, 905-913

Bakin JS, Kwon MC, Masino SA, Weinberger NM, and Frostig, RD (1996) Functional organization of auditory cortex demonstrated by intrinsic signal optical imaging. Cerebral Cortex, 6, 120-130.

Bakin JS, Lepan B, and Weinberger NM (1992) Sensitization induced receptive field plasticity in the auditory cortex is independent of CS-modality. Brain Research 577, 226-235.

Bakin JS, and Weinberger NM. Classical conditioning induces CS-specific receptive field plasticity in the auditory cortex of the guinea pig (1990) Brain Research 536, 271-286.

Weinberger JS, Ashe JH, Metherate R, McKenna TM, Diamond DM, and Bakin JS (1990) Retuning auditory cortex by learning: A preliminary model of receptive field plasticity. Concepts in Neuroscience, 1, 91-131.

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