How to build a brain for learning: development and plasticity of cortical inhibition


April 8, 2014 - 1:00pm
NW 243
About the Speaker
Sandra Kuhlman (CMU)

The behavioral repertoire that an adult exhibits is dependent on early life experience.  To understand how early experience informs the construction of sensory circuits which are ultimately used to guide appropriate behavior and learning, we use 2-photon microscopy to perform targeted electrophysiological recording of identified cell types in living mice and assess the impact of altered experience and disrupted molecular signaling pathways on the development of visual response properties of these identified cell types.  We found that visual experience uniquely broadens the orientation tuning curves of inhibitory neurons at a time in development when excitatory neurons are sharpening their tuning curves.  We are currently examining the cellular basis for the broadening of inhibitory tuning and also examining how age-specific plasticity of inhibitory circuits and the ability to induce disinhibition impacts the acquisition of new sensorimotor skills.