The modulation of sensory perception by the prefrontal cortex

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Lucy Palmer
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Marius Rosier

Summary The Neural Networks group uses various techniques to record from neurons in vivo including two photon calcium imaging, somatic and dendritic patch-clamp electrophysiology and optogenetics. Through this work, we investigate how sensory information is received, transformed and modulated in neurons, but also how this processing of synaptic input contributes to the overall neural network activity underlying learning and behaviour.

Project Details

This project will combine multiple state-of-the-art techniques including two-photon microscopy, patch-clamp electrophysiology and optogenetics (light to control neurons) in vivo to probe the influence of the prefrontal cortex on sensory perception. Specifically, the influence of prefrontal cortex communication on the activity of pyramidal neurons within the somatosensory cortex will be investigated during non-noxious sensory stimulation. The distal dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons generate large NMDA-dependent voltage events, termed NMDA spikes, in response to sensory stimulation. The generation of these NMDA spikes are extremely important in neuronal response to sensory input and therefore whether prefrontal cortical activity modulates their generation and leads to changes in sensory perception will be investigated. The results of this study will reveal the cellular mechanisms underlying prefrontal cortex control of other brain regions and will therefore shed light on diseases involving prefrontal cortical dysfunction.

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

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