Department of Biological Sciences
Understanding how inhibitory circuits in the thalamus contribute to vision
The thalamus is often viewed as a gatekeeper, relaying sensory signals to the cortex during waking and halting their flow during sleep. While true, this is an impoverished description. Our work explores how circuits in the visual thalamus contribute to sensory processing per se. Although thalamocortical cells make few local connections, they are embedded in two dense inhibitory networks. First, local interneurons supply feedforward inhibition; second, neurons in the visual sector of the thalamic reticular nucleus (a thin sheet of gabaergic cells that cloak the thalamus) provide feedback inhibition. We use anatomical, physiological and computational tools to understand how each inhibitory network operates and we compare results across species to resolve evolutionarily conserved aspects of thalamic structure and function.
A pizza lunch will be served.