Synaptic and neuronal determinants of network function: Application of new optical and computational tools. (360G-Wellcome-095667_Z_11_Z)
Developing a mechanistic understanding of brain function is a central aim of neuroscience. I will investigate how synaptic and neuronal properties, together with network structure, control network synchrony and perform rapid information processing in the cerebellar cortex. To do this I will take advantage of powerful new optical and computational methods that I have developed, together with anatomical, electrophysiological and genetic approaches. The initial focus will be on properties of synap tic signaling in inhibitory interneurons, because they are poorly understood and my recent work suggests that electrical synapses between interneurons play a key role in desynchronizing network activity. I will build on this by examining why electrical signalling is excitatory in some cells and inhibitory in others. High-speed 3D 2-photon imaging will be used to measure network synchrony and investigate how it is controlled. By characterizing the input-output properties of synapses and neurons I will also determine the computations performed on sensory information. Biologically detailed network models will then be used to link neuronal computations and network structure to information processing at the network level. Key predictions from these network models, about the way information is represented and processed, will be tested by imaging the cerebellar cortex of intact animals.
£2,755,846 02 Jun 2011