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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interactions between barrel cortex and primary somatosensory thalamus in the mouse

  • Author(s): Ryapolova-Webb, Elena S.
  • Advisor(s): Adesnik, Hillel
  • et al.

In order to fully understand how thalamus and cortex work together to process sensory information, we need to examine not only the well-known feedforward connections between them but also the numerous feedback projections that originate in cortex and terminate in the thalamus. Specifically, we are interested in the thalamic contribution to the construction and processing of spatial representation in a sensory space, as well as the somewhat more basic question of the effect of cortical activity on thalamic activity that underlies any kind of representation. In this dissertation, I detail my foray into these questions using the whisker system in an awake mouse model.

In Chapter 1, I will provide a broad overview and introduction to the questions at hand, giving a framework in which to understand both the motivation and results of the following studies. Chapter 2 focuses on examining how representation of space emerges in cortex and how that is different from thalamus. This is presented via a reproduction of a co-authored manuscript. Chapter 3 focuses on presenting a set of experiments utilizing cortical modulation and electrophysiology to probe the function of corticothalamic feedback in the awake animal. To this point, I include a first-author manuscript in preparation. Finally, Chapter 4 provides closing thoughts.

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