The Cortex Club connects researchers at the University of Oxford with world-leading neuroscientists through a unique educational forum dealing with cutting-edge topics and significant challenges in neuroscience. Our events range from small intense debates with up-and-coming scientists to large discussion sessions led by internationally prominent speakers, followed by the opportunity to ask them questions over drinks.

Seminar: Prof Elizabeth Hillman

High-speed optical imaging and microscopy of whole-brain activity

Tuesday 16 July, 4pm at the Sherrington Room, DPAG Sherrington Building, Oxford

 

The Cortex Club is delighted to present Prof Elizabeth Hillman from Columbia University, New York, who will be talking to us about her work on developing high-speed 3D microscopy techniques. Please join us on July 16th at the Sherrington Room in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.

Prof Elizabeth Hillman has kindly agreed to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai Ying Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.

This seminar will be followed by our summer social to which everybody is warmly invited. Please also join us in the OCGF Seminar room, DPAG, from 5pm! Food and drinks will be provided.

 

Abstract

The past decade has seen dramatic improvements in genetically-encoded reporters of neural activity. However, capturing this activity at high speeds, over large volumes of the in intact brain and nervous system has remained a significant challenge. One technology that we have developed to address this problem is swept confocally aligned planar excitation (SCAPE) microscopy for high-speed 3D microscopy. SCAPE is a type of light sheet microscopy, but utilizes a novel scanning-descanning strategy to enable very high-speed volumetric cellular imaging with a versatile single, stationary objective at the sample. We are applying SCAPE to imaging awake, behaving organisms such as freely crawling Drosophila larvae, the whole brain of behaving adult Drosophila, zebrafish brain and the awake mouse cortex. We have also developed wide-field optical mapping (WFOM) methods for imaging both neural activity and hemodynamics over the entire dorsal cortex in awake, behaving mice. This simple, yet powerful method enables longitudinal imaging of mice for a wide range of studies. We are using WFOM to study the mechanistic basis of neurovascular coupling, and the origins of signals detected in resting state fMRI in a range of conditions, including exploring the effects of drugs and disease on both behaviors and the neural and hemodynamic representations of those behaviors.
Both of these techniques are providing new high-speed, real time views of brain-wide activity in awake, behaving animals, providing fundamentally new observations of spontaneous activity and behavior. I will present our latest progress on high-speed imaging technique development, and showcase our work applying these techniques to understand whole-brain activity in the context of awake behavior and resting state networks.

Seminar: A/ Prof Andrew Hires

The emergence of time, place, and shape across layer of primary somatosensory cortex.

Monday 17 June, 4pm at the Small Lecture Theatre, DPAG Sherrington Building, Oxford

 

The Cortex Club is excited to host Assistant Prof Samual Andrew Hires from the University of Southern California, who will be talking to us about his work on tactile representations in S1 cells. Please join us on June 17th, at the Small Lecture Theatre in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.

A/ Prof Andrew Hires welcomes the opportunity to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Raffaele Sarnataro at raffaele.sarnataro [at ] cncb.ox.ac.uk.

Please also join us at the pub after the talk, to which everybody is welcome. Register at: https://forms.gle/R6qnLt2YzHczPEdx8.

 

Abstract

Primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is involved in extracting and interpreting information gathered through our sense of touch, but its precise functions and how they are accomplished remain poorly understood. One clue is that, like all areas of cortex, S1 is organized in layers of interconnected microcircuits. Using single unit electrophysiology and volumetric calcium imaging during quantitative behavior in head-fixed mice, we have mapped how tactile representations of timing, place, and shape are distributed across layers and cell-types of S1. We have also identified which aspects of these representations reorganize during learning of skilled tactile behaviors. Our work suggests circuit implementations of how sensory and motor information are combined across layers of S1 to generate tactile perception of our surroundings.

Seminar: A/ Prof Kristine Krug

Seeing and Deciding

Thursday 13 June, 4pm at the Sherrington Library, DPAG Sherrington Building, Oxford

 

The Cortex Club is delighted to host Assistant Prof Kristine Krug from the University of Oxford, who will be talking to us about her work on neural basis of visual perception and decision-making. Please join us on June 13th, at the Sherrington Library in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.

A/ Prof Kristine Krug welcomes the opportunity to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.

Please also join us at the pub after the talk, to which everybody is welcome. Register at https://forms.gle/wZnXEsihhyBsagGb8

 

Abstract

to be announced

Seminar: Dr Naoya Takahashi

Dendritic mechanisms for somatosensory perception

Monday 10 June, 4pm at the Small Lecture Theatre, DPAG Sherrington Building, Oxford

 

The Cortex Club is excited to host Dr Naoya Takahashi from the Humbold University Berlin, who will be talking to us about his work on the role of cortical and subcortical pathways in perception. Please join us on June 10th, at the Small Lecture Theatre in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.

Dr Naoya Takahashi is happy to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai-Ying Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.

Please also join us at the pub after the talk, to which everybody is welcome. Register at https://forms.gle/UmRftpmXEE414vrm8

 

Abstract

The result of cortical processing is routed to different downstream targets via distinct pathways – broadly, cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical. It is as yet unclear what roles these pathways play in perception, and what cellular and circuit mechanisms regulate their gating. I recently showed that activation of the apical dendrites of layer 5 (L5) pyramidal neurons correlates to the threshold for perception (Takahashi et al., 2016). Two distinct classes of L5 neurons target either other cortical areas or subcortical areas. I took advantage of two transgenic mouse lines to determine the relative contribution of these L5 subclasses to the perceptual process. I found that the activation of apical dendrites in neurons of the somatosensory cortex that project to subcortical regions almost exclusively determined the detection of whisker deflections in mice. Moreover, dendritic activation was strongly modulated by behavioral context. These results suggest that dendritic activation drives context-dependent interactions between cortex and subcortical regions that are crucial for perception. During the seminar, I will further discuss my long-term goal to develop a mechanistic understanding of how internal brain states, such as attention and expectation, modulate sensory processing to control perceptual behaviors.

Seminar: A/ Professor Denise Cai

Linking Memories Across Time

Friday 7 June, 4pm at the Sherrington Library, DPAG Sherrington Building, Oxford

 

The Cortex Club is delighted to host Assistant Professor Denise Cai from the Mount Sinai, New York,  who will be talking to us about her work on hippocampal networks link memories. Please join us on June 7th, at the Sherrington Library, located in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.

 

A/ Prof. Denise Cai has kindly agreed to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai-Ying Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.

Please also join us at the pub after the talk, to which everybody is welcome. Register at https://forms.gle/dx8aScGdEjHo25rb7

 

Abstract

The compilation of memories, collected and aggregated across a lifetime defines our human experience. My lab is interested in dissecting how memories are stored, updated, integrated and retrieved across a lifetime. Recent studies suggest that a shared neural ensemble may link distinct memories encoded close in time. Using in vivo calcium imaging (with open-source Miniscopes in freely behaving mice), TetTag transgenic system, chemogenetics, electrophysiology and novel behavioral designs, we tested how hippocampal networks temporally link memories. Multiple convergent findings suggest that contextual memories encoded close in time are linked by directing storage into overlapping hippocampal ensembles, such that the recall of one memory can trigger the recall of another temporally-related memory. Alteration of this process (e.g. during aging, PTSD, etc) affect the temporal structure of memories, thus impairing efficient recall of related information.