Anushree Shirish Gupte

Understanding the necessity of visual cortex task learning

We have seen that acute inactivation or intermittent optogenetic silencing of the visual cortex of the brain results in behavioral deficits. On the other hand, permanent lesioning or chronic silencing results in mice recovering their ability to perform the detection task. In this paradigm, the mice have been habituated to the task over a certain period of time and thus have learnt it. To put it simply, in spite of deactivating the visual cortex required for task performance, mice are capable of recovering and using other processes to conduct the task. My question is whether this chronic deactivation would allow the mice to learn the task in the first place, i.e. during habituation. If the mice are able to learn the detection task without the visual cortex, it would suggest that there is some other pathway that comes to play upon the deactivation of the visual cortex. By comparing the psychometric curves produced by mice learning under chronic silencing versus those being habituated under control conditions, we can analyze the learning deficit and necessity of the visual cortex.

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  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Neurobiology
  • Sponsor: Pergo Fund
  • Mentor: Hillel Adesnik