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Multi-modal integration in the neocortex in the face of adversity
Dr. Gyorgy Lur
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
Date: Friday, October 28, 2022
** This is a hybrid event**
Complex behaviors rely on the combination of sensory clues and internal factors like goals, expectations, memories, and attention. In the neocortex, sensory information is carried by feedforward (or bottom-up) pathways while internal factors are conveyed via feedback (or top-down) afferents. A breakdown of the interaction between these pathways is thought to be at the core of many neuropsychiatric disorders. Yet, the mechanistic underpinnings of how sensory and cognitive information streams interact in the neocortex has been virtually unknown. Our data indicates that sensory and cognitive type inputs converge onto individual neurons of the posterior parietal cortex. Here, distinct neuronal classes engage in temporally specific non-linear computations, supported by cell-type-specific circuit architecture and ion channel composition.
Stress profoundly impacts cognitive functioning and increases the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. Central to the mechanism of stress-induced cognitive impairment is disrupted connectivity of key brain areas. Despite the well-known role for the parietal cortex in cognition, little is known about the effect of stress on this brain region. Our data indicates that both local and long-range synaptic connectivity in the parietal cortex is disrupted by adolescent stress exposure leading to deficits in learning and working memory performance.
Overall, our laboratory aims to understand the mechanistic link between the capacity of the parietal circuit to integrate sensory and cognitive information streams and stress-induced cognitive deficits.