Research

Neural circuits and synaptic mechanisms underlying sensory perception and reward-based sensorimotor learning

Research in the Laboratory of Sensory Processing aims to define the neuronal circuits and synaptic mechanisms underlying sensory perception and reward-based sensorimotor learning in mice. To understand sensorimotor processing at the level of individual neurons and their synaptic interactions within complex networks, we use electrophysiological and optical methods combined with molecular and genetic interventions both in vitro and in vivo. We want to know how specific neuronal networks contribute to the processing of sensory information in a learning- and context-dependent manner ultimately leading to behavioural decisions and goal-directed motor output.

We are currently working on several complementary areas of research:
1. Measurement and perturbation of neuronal activity correlated with quantified behavior in mice, focusing on the analysis of sensory percepts informed by the C2 whisker and reported through the execution of licking motor output motivated by sweet water reward.
2. Basic operating principles and wiring diagrams of neocortical microcircuits, focusing on the mouse C2 barrel column.
3. Genetic analysis of the determinants of sensory perception and associative learning, through combination of viral manipulations and gene-targeted mice.