WP 2: Lippert
Dr. Michael Lippert (LIN, Department Systems physiology of learning)
Optogenetic analysis of dopamine impact on learning-relevant pattern formation in cortical dynamics
During learning, neurons change their individual synaptic weights, and these changes are often directly reflected in observable spatial activity patterns within larger neuronal populations. We will investigate how monoamines, which are important neuromodulators in the context of learning, shape those patterns. We hypothesize that dopamine contributes to new motifs arising in cortical neural interactions. To test this hypothesis, we use optogenetics, multi-electrode surface recordings, and calcium imaging. In the process, we also aim to refine these techniques themselves to better answer our research questions.
Auditory cortex of the Mongolian gerbil and its subcortical projections transduced with an optogenetic vector. The optrode on the right can be used to selectively control activity within auditory cortex and measure changes resulting from local dopamine release.