B2 Imaging neuronal population coding during perception in awake, behaving animals

Somatosensory neurons do not act in isolation but are embedded in complex interconnected networks. Understanding how these neuronal populations encode sensory information that is then used for decision making requires the monitoring of spatio-temporal patterns of spiking activity - ideally from the complete set of neurons participating in a local network. This study aims at elucidating the relationship between a sensory stimulus, the resulting neuronal population activity in primary somatosensory cortex and finally, the decision made (population choice probability) by the awake, trained mouse.
To this end, the present project will combine three complementary approaches: an awake, head-fixed mouse preparation that allows precise psychophysical testing, monitoring neuronal population activity using two-photon imaging in vivo, and statistical modelling of the population response.

Project leaders: Jason Kerr, Cornelius Schwarz, Matthias Bethge
Coworkers: Alia Benali, Tatiana Senkova*, Damian Wallace
* funded by BMBF

Key publications:

  • Gerdjikov, T. V., Bergner, C. G., Stüttgen, M. C., Waiblinger C., & Schwarz, C. (2010). Discrimination of Vibrotactile Stimuli in the Rat Whisker System: Behavior and Neurometrics. Neuron 65, 530-540.
  • Gerwinn, S., J. Macke and M. Bethge. (2010). Bayesian inference for generalized linear models for spiking neurons. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 4(12). 1-42.
  • Kerr, J.N. & Denk, W. (2008). Imaging in vivo: watching the brain in action. Nat Rev Neurosci 9, 195-205.

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Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research