Lindsey Glickfeld, PhD, PI
Functional organization of visual cortical circuits
Our everyday activities require that we process and react to a rich mixture of sensory stimuli. In vision, these stimuli are spatial, temporal and spectral patterns of light that the retina transmits to the cortex. Neural circuits in the cortex must then achieve two seemingly disparate goals: 1) assemble an accurate and unified representation of the visual world, and 2) flexibly meet the demands of each situation by selecting relevant information and discarding distractors. To understand how cortical circuits achieve these vital tasks, our goal is to determine how neuronal connectivity and synaptic dynamics combine to encode sensory input and support perception.
Our research is focused on the synaptic organization of the mouse visual cortex. This is an ideal system for studying the conjunction of anatomy and physiology in sensory processing because 1) the stimuli that physiologically drive these neurons are well characterized, 2) the visual cortex is easily accessible for monitoring and manipulating neuronal activity, and 3) there are good behavioral readouts for determining the effect of these manipulations on perception.
Using this as our model system, we are addressing the following two broad questions:
What are the cellular and circuit mechanisms for processing diverse sensory input?
How do these circuits shape perception?