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Christmas Seminar: Prof Fritjof Helmchen

November 26, 2015 @ 16:00 - 17:30

Neural imaging neocortical dynamics during a tactile discrimination task
Thursday 26 November @ 4:00 pm5:30 pm (Sherrington Library, DPAG)

Professor Fritjof HelmchenFritjof Helmchen from the Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich will be speaking at the first of our three Christmas Seminars on directly observing neuronal population dynamics in mice during specific behaviours. His research group has built a novel multi-area microscope to measure local population activity in two distant areas simultaneously and has recently published results suggesting that learning-related changes in the mouse whisker primary somatosensory cortex enhance sensory representations in a pathway-specific manner, providing downstream areas with task-relevant information for behaviour.

Through the combination of in vivo optical imaging and chronic expression of genetically encoded calcium indicators it has recently become feasible to directly ‘watch’ neuronal population dynamics in the neocortex of awake, head-restrained mice during specific behaviors. Here, I will exemplify the use of in vivo two-photon calcium imaging as well as other optical methods to elucidate neocortical dynamics in behaving mice trained in a texture discrimination task. We are especially interested in analyzing the activation patterns of identified cortico-cortically projecting neurons – linking local circuit dynamics to the mesoscale – and in revealing the changes in network dynamics that occur during task learning. To this end, we have built a novel multi-area microscope that is capable of measuring local population activity in two distant areas simultaneously. Using simultaneous imaging in primary and secondary whisker cortex, we find distinct features of identified mutually projecting neurons, which will help understand the coordination of activity between these two areas.

Further reading
Chen et al. (2015). Pathway-specific reorganization of projection neurons in somatosensory cortex during learning. Nature Neuroscience 18, 1101–1108.


November 26, 2015
16:00 - 17:30
Event Category:


Sherrington Library, Level 2
Sherrington Building
Oxford, OX1 3PT
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