Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN Sonderseminar

Tuesday, 13.03.2012 17 c.t.
Seminar canceled!

Addressing cortical processing by perturbing the activity of individual layers

by Prof. Dr. Massimo Scanziani
from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Diego, USA

Contact person: Ahmed El Hady


Ludwig Prandtl lecture hall


The cortex of the brain is responsible for sensations, thoughts, and other cognitive functions. It is composed of six layers of microcircuits stacked on top of each other but we know little about the function of these layers in the processing of sensory information. Using a combination of optogenetic approaches and transgenic mouse-lines my lab is systematically addressing how each of these layers contributes to the response of the cortex to sensory stimuli. I will present data showing that layer 6 in visual cortex performs a fundamental computation known as gain control. Through gain control layer 6 can act as a volume knob to increase or decrease sensory evoked neuronal activity in all other layers. Because layer 6 receives convergent inputs from several brain areas, it may represent a node through which these various areas regulate the earliest steps of cortical visual processing.

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