New Optical strategies to dissect the neural basis of perception
University of California, Berkeley
Molecular and Cell Biology
The cerebral cortex is a computational machine. Despite intense investigation, many of its basic operating principles remain unknown, and its language – patterns of action potentials in space and time – is still largely uninterpretable. Existing approaches, however, are not sufficient to adequately address this problem. Therefore we have developed a new experimental paradigm to reveal the fundamental logic by which cortical circuits generate perceptions. We will use holographic multiphoton optogenetics to allow us to control the spatiotemporal activity of ensembles of cortical neurons in the intact brain at single cell resolution and with millisecond precision. We will use this new approach to assess mechanistically how a cortical circuit in the mouse somatosensory cortex generates specific perceptions through precise spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity.