Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US


BS from University of Wisconsin, Madison
Physics, Mathematics, Music
MS from University of Wisconsin, Madison
Biomedical Engineering
PhD from Oregon Health & Science University
Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University


Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine

Professional Interests

  • Neural mechanisms of auditory perception
  • Influence of brain state on perception and behavior
  • Neural mechanisms of perceptual cuing in decision making
  • Pupillometric measures, and neural correlates, of brain states and decisions
  • Neural mechanisms of perceptual enhancement with peripheral nerve stimulation

Professional Statement

Each moment, our senses are bombarded with information from many sources. How do networks of neurons in the brain rapidly process this information in order to make sense out of the world and choose appropriate actions? The McGinley lab approaches this question by studying neural mechanisms of auditory perceptual decision making behaviors, in mice. We primarily use whole-cell recording and two-photon imaging in head-fixed mice while they perform auditory perceptual decision-making tasks. The lab also utilizes computational and engineering approaches, optogenetics, multi-channel extracellular recording, pupillometry, and histological methods. We are currently focused on three related projects regarding the cellular, synaptic, and neuromodulatory mechanisms of auditory perceptual decision making: 1) Neuromodulatory mechanisms of attentional effort; 2) Improved perceptual learning with peripheral nerve stimulation; and 3) Brain circuits for navigation in acoustic virtual reality.

Selected Publications

  • McGinley MJ, David SV, and McCormick DA. "Cortical membrane potential signature of optimal states for sensory signal detection.." Neuron. 2015;87:179-192.
  • Wen H, Linhoff MW, McGinley MJ, Li GL, Corson GM, Mandel G, and Brehm P. "Distinct roles for two synaptotagmin isoforms in synchronous and asynchronous transmitter release at zebrafish neuromuscular junction.." PNAS. 2010;107(31):13906-11.
  • McGinley MJ, Liberman MC, Bal R, and Oertel D. "Generating synchrony from the asynchronous: compensation for cochlear traveling wave delays by the dendrites of individual brainstem neurons.." J Neurosci. 2012;32(27):9301-11.
  • McGinley MJ, and Westbrook GL. "Hierarchical excitatory synaptic connectivity in mouse olfactory cortex.." PNAS. 2013;110(40):16193-8.
  • Zagha E, Casale, AE, Sachdev RNS, McGinley MJ, and McCormick DA. "Motor cortex feedback influences sensory processing by modulating network state.." Neuron. 2013;79(3):567-78.
  • Hadzipasic M, Ni W, Nagy M, Steenrod N, McGinley MJ, Kaushal A, Thomas E, McCormick DA, and Horwitz AL. "Reduced high frequency motor neuron firing, EMG fractionation, and gait variability in awake walking ALS mice.." 2016
  • Reimer J*, McGinley MJ*, Liu Y, Rodenkirch C, Wang Q, McCormick DA, and Tolias A. "Pupil fluctuations track rapid changes in adrenergic and cholinergic activity in cortex.." Nature Commun. 2016
  • Tovar KR, McGinley MJ, and Westbrook GL. "Triheteromeric NMDA receptors at hippocampal synapses.." J Neurosci. 2013;33(21):9150-60.
  • McGinley MJ*, Vinck M*, Reimer J*, Batista-Brito R, Zagha E, Cadwell CR, Tolias AS, Cardin JA, McCormick DA. "Waking State: rapid variations modulate neural and behavioral responses.." Neuron. 2015;87(6):1143-61.


Society for Neuroscience
Association for Research in Otolaryngology


Neuromodulatory Mechanisms of Listening Effort
- #R03DC015618
Grant funding from National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders
Targeted Neuroplasticity Training
Grant funding from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Cain Foundation Laboratories
Gift funding from Cain Foundation