Frontothalamic interactions in cognitive control and flexibility

Summary

Date: 
May 14, 2019 - 12:00pm
Location: 
BioLabs Building, Room 1080
About the Speaker
Name: 
Mike Halassa
Speaker Title: 
Assistant Professor
Speaker Affiliation: 
MIT

Interactions between the cortex and thalamus are critical for sensation, action and cognition. However, most of our understanding of these interactions is in the context of sensory processing. My lab has focused on cortico-thalamic loops that are non-sensory, allowing us to discover new principles of cortico-thalamic interactions beyond sensory processing. In my talk, I will show how the thalamus plays previously unrecognized roles in implementing cognitive control and flexibility, which involve rapid reconfiguration of task-relevant prefrontal representations. I will give a few examples of this process, showing its generality across multiple species, and if time allows, discuss its relevance to disease processes.