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We use 2-photon imaging and in vivo patch clamp physiology methods to study visual microcircuit function and the network mechanisms of visual perception.

1. Identifying and characterizing functional sub-networks in area V1

We use network analysis methods to identify sub-networks (i.e. neuronal “cliques”) in mouse area V1 and study their implications for visual encoding and information processing. We have particular interest in understanding how such sub-networks emerge during postnatal development, how they relate to local interneurons, and how they are modified during learning. 

2. Principles of visual stimulus encoding within the cortical column.

Our aim is to understand the nature of the computations that a cortical column performs. For example: How is visual information represented in different cortical layers within the cortical column? What representation is appropriate for feedforward versus feedback transmission of information? How does the representation of visual information remain invariant in the face of significant internal fluctuations?

3. Mechanisms that Underlie Changes of Visual Perception  

We adapted a visual stimulation paradigm that induces bi-stable perception in the mouse to dissect network mechanisms that underlie changes of visual perception.

4. Using dendritic micro-dissection to study how dendritic inputs shape neuronal properties 

Pyramidal neurons integrate synaptic inputs from basal and apical dendrites to generate stimulus-specific responses. However, how different dendritic domains determine neuronal functional selectivity has yet to be demonstrated causally. We use 2-photon laser ablation to micro-dissect dendritic branches of layer-2/3 pyramidal neurons, in vivo, in mouse primary visual cortex. Neurons survive post ablation, allowing us to study how controlled dendritic pruning modifies their properties.

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