Scientific focus :
While the cortex has long been thought as the ‘cognitive’ headquarter of the brain, the crucial role of its functional interactions with subcortical structures and especially thalamic nuclei are now increasingly acknowledged. Today, two speakers will show how our knowledge of the physiology and role of thalamocortical circuits in sensory perception may be valuable to understand their role in cognitive processes. A combination of electrophysiology, optogenetics and behavioral approaches will showcase how these circuits may act as a bridge from sensory perception to cognition.
CGFB 10h30 / Dr Mehdi Adibi, School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney
Sensory processing and decision making in dynamic environments Abstract: A fundamental question in systems neuroscience is how the sensory information about the surrounding environment is encoded in the activity of neurons, how this activity is read out by downstream neurons and ultimately how it gives rise to perception and behaviour. We chose to investigate this question in the whisker-mediated touch system of rodents because of its well-established anatomy and exquisite functionality. The whisker system is one of the major channels through which rodents acquire sensory information about their surrounding environment. The response properties of neurons dynamically adjust to the dynamics of the environment and prevailing diet of sensory stimulation. Here, we investigate what are the neuronal computations and underlying mechanisms governing this adaptive information processing, and how in turn how dynamic changes in the environment affects the behaviour. We combine a variety of techniques ranging from in vivo extracellular array recording, loose-cell patch clamp recording/labelling, optogenetics, behavioural and computational approaches to address this question in rodent model system.
Heidelberg university, Germany / Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology Im Neuenheimer
The cerebral cortex is the ‘cognitive’ headquarter of the brain and is instrumental for transforming sensory signals into action.
Titre: Synaptic interactions in the thalamocortical system during sensory processing and behavior
Abstract: But how does the cortex communicate with the rest of the brain to fulfil this function and how are impairments to this communication expressed in brain diseases? Our lab investigates the structure and the functional mechanisms underlying the interplay between the cortex and subcortical networks that give rise to cognitive functions, including sensori-motor transformations, salience encoding and pathological pain. We are leveraging a combination of in vivo deep-brain electrophysiology, optogenetics, synaptic physiology and behavioural approaches in the mouse model system.