< Back to previous page


Impact of vision loss on cellular processing in the visual cortex and its relation to multisensory processing and behavior

The loss of senses such as seeing and hearing is one of the major sources of disability and is associated with high economic costs. With an aging population, there is an acute need for low-cost and effective therapies to help patients cope with and to compensate for sensory losses, as well as for new devices that can restore function. Key to these developments is an understanding of the physiological changes that occur in the brain upon loss of sensory inputs. In this research project, I will team up with two laboratories with extensive expertise in systems neuroscience and brain plasticity, combining the latest genetic, imaging and computational techniques, to address this question at the cellular level. I will use a mouse model to examine how the brain’s visual center, the visual cortex, responds to loss of eye inputs. I will examine how neurons in the visual cortex of mice adapt their processing to take on a new function, namely the ability to sense tactile stimuli. First, I will compare activity measured in sighted and blind animals at different locations in the cortex. Second, I will use a rodent behavioral assay to study the functional consequences of the physiological changes I have observed. It will provide all the critical data needed to validate an emerging animal model of adult plasticity. Finally, it will lead to valuable information to constrain the design of cortical prostheses and inspire new therapeutic approaches to facilitate recovery and regain function.

Date:23 Dec 2016 →  31 Dec 2017
Keywords:Neuroplasticity, Monocular enucleation, Adult mice
Disciplines:Animal biology, Genetics
Project type:PhD project