Lab Alumni > Wesley Clapp, Ph.D.
Wesley Clapp, Ph.D.

Wesley Clapp, Ph.D.Wes.jpg

UCSF MC 2240
Mission Bay – Genentech Hall Room N474
600 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94158-2330

email: wesleyclapp [at] gmail [dot] com
lab: 415-476-2164
fax: 415-514-4451

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)


Wes is originally from the Boston area, but did his undergraduate work at Oberlin College in Ohio.  During his junior year he spent time in Scotland studying at the University of Edinburgh. After attaining his degree in Neuroscience at Oberlin College he pursued his PhD in New Zealand and around the world under the broad supervision of Professor Tim Teyler.  Wesley’s thesis project aimed at inducing and recording long-term potentiation (LTP) in human cortex non-invasively.  LTP is a cellular mechanism thought to underlie learning and memory.  He performed EEG and behavioral work at the University of Auckland in New Zealand under the supervision of Prof. Michael Corballis, Dr. Ian Kirk and Dr. Jeff Hamm.  He then tested this newly created paradigm in the animal model (rat) at the University of Dunedin in the south island of New Zealand under the supervision of Prof. Cliff Abraham. He did fMRI work at the University of Zurich in Switzerland under the supervision of Professor Lutz Jancke.  After completing his PhD he started his postdoc under his current mentor Dr. Adam Gazzaley.  In this lab Wesley has been focusing on mutli-modal recording techniques, using EEG, fMRI and TMS to attempt to elucidate the impact of distraction (irrelevant information) on working memory as well as trying to tease out differences between short-term and long-term memory processes. Additionally, he has a major emphasis on seeing how these neural markers change with normal aging.

Research Description:  

The aim of Wesley’s research is to characterize the networks of brain regions that mediate the maintenance of visual memories in the face of distraction and to investigate how these networks change with age. Top-down modulation, a neural process that allows us to enhance relevant information and suppress irrelevant information, is a critical foundation for successful memory storage. Since both memory and attention are disrupted during normal aging, Wesley hypothesizes that alterations of the networks involved in top-down modulation may be involved. Recently, he has also stemmed a new line of research focused on trying to tease out differences between short-term and long-term memory processes.

The aging aspect of Wes’ research is of utmost importance to him as well. Understanding how the neural mechanisms underlying memory and attention change in the aging brain is an essential step towards addressing more severe functional decline, such as that seen in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. The results of his current studies will hopefully help lay the empirical groundwork for establishing physiological biomarkers that can aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of age-related cognitive decline.


Clapp WC, Rubens MT, Gazzaley, A. (2009). Mechanisms of Working Memory Disruption by External Interference. Cerebral Cortex. (pdf)

Gazzaley A, Clapp W, Kelley J, McEvoy K, Knight RT, D’Esposito (2008).Age-related top-down suppression deficit in the early stages of cortical visual memory processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 105(35): 13122-6.

Ross RM, McNair NA, Fairhall SL, Clapp WC, Hamm JP, Teyler TJ, Kirk IJ. (2008)  Induction of orientation-specific LTP-like changes in human visual evoked potentials by rapid sensory stimulation.  Brain Research Bulletin. 76(1-2): 97-101

Gazzaley A, Rissman J, Cooney J, Rutman A, Siebert T, Clapp WC, D’Esposito M. (2007) Functional interactions between prefrontal and visual association cortex contribute to top-down modulation of visual processing. Cerebral Cortex. 17: 125-35.

Zaehle T*, Clapp WC*, Hamm JP, Meyer M, Kirk IJ (2007). Induction of LTP-like changes in human auditory cortex by rapid auditory stimulation: An FMRI study. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 25(3-4):251-9. (Shared First Author)

Johnson BW, Hautus MJ, Duff DJ, Clapp WC (2007) Sequential processing of interaural timing differences for sound source segregation and spatial localization: Evidence from event-related cortical potentials. Psychophysiology. 44(4): 541-51

Clapp WC, Johnson BW, Hautus MJ. (2007) Graded cue information in dichotic pitch: effects on event related potentials.  NeuroReport Mar 5;18(4):365-8

Clapp WC, Kirk IJ, Hausmann M. (2007)  Verbal strategies affect hemispheric asymmetries of colour memory.  Laterality. 12: 139-153

Clapp WC, Eckert MJ, Teyler TJ, Abraham WC. (2006) Induction of NMDA receptor-dependent sensory long-term potentiation in rat cortex by rapid visual stimulation.  NeuroReport. 17(5):511-5

McNair NA, Clapp WC, Hamm JP, Teyler TJ, Corballis MC, Kirk IJ. (2006) Spatial frequency specific potentiation of human visual evoked potentials. Neuroreport. 17(7):739-741

Clapp WC, Muthukumaraswamy SD, Hamm JP, Teyler TJ, Kirk IJ. (2006) Long-term enhanced desynchronization of the alpha rhythm following
tetanic stimulation of human visual cortex.  Neuroscience Letters. 398(3):220-3

Clapp WC, Zaehle T, Lutz K, Marcar VL, Kirk IJ, Hamm JP, Teyler TJ, Corballis MC, Jancke L. (2005)  Effects of long term potentiation in the human visual cortex: an fMRI study. Neuroreport. 16 (18), 1977-1980

Clapp WC, Kirk IJ, Hamm JP, Shepherd D, Teyler TJ. (2005) Induction of Human Auditory Cortex Long-Term Potentiation by Sensory Stimulation. European Journal of Neuroscience. 22, 1135-1140

Teyler TJ, Hamm JP, Clapp WC, Johnson BW, Corballis MC, Kirk IJ. (2005) Long-Term Potentiation of Human Visual Evoked Responses. European Journal of Neuroscience. 21 (7), 2045-50

Johnson BW, Hautus M, Clapp WC. (2003) Neural activity associated with binaural processes for the perceptual segregation of pitch.  Clinical Neurophysiology 114, 2245-2250

Milivojevic B, Clapp WC, Johnson BW, Corballis MC. (2003) Turn that frown upside down: ERP effects of thatcherisation of misorientated
faces. Psychophysiology 40, 967-78



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