University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Big Question: High density optical neural recording in motor cortex of the behaving marmoset

University of Chicago Big Questions

Principal Investigator: Nicho Hatsopoulos, Organismal Biology & Anatomy

Funding Type: Vision

Focus Area: Cognition

Big Idea: One of the fundamental problems in neuroscience is to understand how populations of neurons give rise to perception, cognition, and action.  Calcium fluorescence imaging (CFI) provides the opportunity to densely sample the spiking activity of thousands of neurons at the scale of a single cortical column, which is considered to be the basic computational module of the cortex.  To date, CFI methods have relied on rodents who are head-restrained because the microscope is large and rigidly attached to the room.  We are proposing to use a novel, miniature fluorescence microscope that can be attached to the skull, allowing for head-free, unconstrained movements of the arm of a marmoset monkey performing a natural, foraging task.  By imaging and characterizing the encoding properties and functional connectivity of these neurons, we will be able to better understand large-scale, spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity in cortex code information about behavior.

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