BA with honors in Neuroscience, Oberlin College
PhD in Neuroscience, The Florida State University
Data from our lab suggests cortical regions are connected by both direct (cortico-cortical) and transthalamic (cortico-thalamo-cortical) pathways. My current project posits that these two pathways are not merely redundant, but instead interact in their higher-order cortical targets.
In a slice preparation, I stimulate direct and transthalamic inputs, using electrical and photo-stimulation, and record the response of single cortical neurons on which they converge. I expect concurrent stimulation will reveal some nonlinear summation of these inputs. For example, iGluR-mediated PSPs resulting from cortical and thalamic stimulation may summate to reach threshold. Where mGluRs are also present, they may alter post-synaptic response over a longer time course.
While this project is still in beginning stages, I expect it will provide insight into 1) how complex receptive fields emerge in higher-order cortex, and 2) how thalamus coordinates activity of connected cortical regions, and will provide a framework to subsequently address these questions in vivo.