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Monthly conference (PhD seminar) – Carl Petersen

3 May 2024 / 11:30

Venue : Centre Broca

Carl Petersen
EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland

Invited by Théo Gauvrit (Frick lab, Neurocentre Magendie)


Neuronal circuits for context-dependent sensory processing


Sensory information is actively processed in a context-dependent manner by complex neuronal circuits in the mammalian brain that remain poorly understood. Here, I will discuss context-dependent processing of a brief single whisker stimulus in thirsty head-restrained mice. In a Go-tone auditory context, mice receive a water reward for licking a spout after the whisker stimulus, but not in a NoGo-tone auditory context. We currently focus on a short-term memory context task where a brief auditory Go or NoGo tone is presented 1 s before the whisker stimulus and needs to be stored to correctly interpret the whisker stimulus. We quantitatively track orofacial movements of expert mice through high-speed videography, while measuring and manipulating cortical neurons involved in determining task rules, sensory processing, decision-making and motor control. Our analyses currently focus on addressing two key questions: a) How and where is the auditory contextual information stored during the delay period? We find that persistent activity in frontal cortex might play a prominent role. b) How and where is the whisker stimulus processed differentially according to the auditory context? We find that context-dependent processing can already be observed in the first responses in whisker sensory cortex, as well as all downstream cortical regions. These experiments begin to advance our understanding of the cortical mechanisms contributing to context-dependent sensory processing in the mammalian brain.


Matteucci G, Guyoton M, Mayrhofer JM, Auffret M, Foustoukos G, Petersen CCH, El-Boustani S (2022) Cortical sensory processing across motivational states during goal-directed behavior. Neuron 110: 4176-4193. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.09.032

Esmaeili V, Tamura K, Muscinelli SP, Modirshanechi A, Boscaglia M, Lee AB, Oryshchuk A, Foustoukos G, Liu Y, Crochet S, Gerstner W, Petersen CCH (2021) Rapid suppression and sustained activation of distinct cortical regions for a delayed sensory-triggered motor response. Neuron 109: 2183-2201. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.05.005

Gasselin C, Hohl B, Vernet A, Crochet S, Petersen CCH (2021) Cell-type-specific nicotinic input disinhibits mouse barrel cortex during active sensing. Neuron 109: 778-787. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.12.018

Esmaeili V, Tamura K, Foustoukos G, Oryshchuk A, Crochet S, Petersen CCH (2020) Cortical circuits for transforming whisker sensation into goal-directed licking. Curr Opin Neurobiol 65: 38-48. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2020.08.003 – Open Access

Petersen CCH (2019) Sensorimotor processing in the rodent barrel cortex. Nat Rev Neurosci 20: 533-546. doi: 10.1038/s41583-019-0200-y

PhD seminars are organized by the NBA, Bordeaux Neurocampus, and the Bordeaux Neurocampus Graduate Program

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3 May 2024
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