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Eli

Eli is a seafood addict, stuck in landlocked Munich.

Self generated sounds and the DCN

Let me introduce the protagonist: the DCN

DCN is the abbreviated form of dorsal cochlear nucleus. The DCN is a brainstem nucleus. DCN receives direct auditory input from the cochlea via the auditory nerve. The DCN also receives somatosensory input about the head, ear and jaw. Why do we have multisensory input at the first point at which auditory information is processed in the brain? This recent paper looks into the DCN, a multisensory hub.

Blog 8a

Blog 8b

blog8c

We looked at how movement suppresses sensory information earlier. Seems like the DCN is the place where something similar happens in the auditory system.

 

Source:

Singla S, Dempsey C, Warren R, Enikolopov AG, Sawtell NB. A cerebellum-like circuit in the auditory system cancels responses to self-generated sounds.Nat Neurosci. 2017 Jul;20(7):943-950. doi: 10.1038/nn.4567. Epub 2017 May 22.

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Nicotine avoidance and GLP-1 neurons

After stuffing your face with < enter favourite food >, you invariably feel full. You simply can’t eat anymore. This satiety is not an aversive experience, but rather an avoidance response.  Apparently, smokers also feel this satiety when it comes to their nicotine intake. They can titrate their nicotine intake to avoid the noxious effects of high levels of nicotine.

How does this come about?

The following paper from Tuesta et al., looks at the circuitry behind the phenomenon.

Continue reading “Nicotine avoidance and GLP-1 neurons”

Top 20 alternative career paths

What comes after your PhD ? You might be wrapping up your PhD, set for a post-doc and suddenly having doubts about your career choice. Or, you might be just starting your PhD. It’s never too late, or too early, to give some thought to your career.

You can read about GSN student Sara’s  approach here.

Below is a list of top 20 alternative career paths, compiled by Cheekyscientist (from their free ebook).  Cheekyscientist is a platform that helps PhDs transfer from academia to the industry.

Continue reading “Top 20 alternative career paths”

Movement related activity suppresses certain sensory signals

When you want to judge the texture of an object, you actively use your fingers to touch and feel the given surface. The very act of moving your fingers already provides sensory stimulation (e.g.: the skin in between your fingers stretches). How does the brain make sure this sensory stimulus does not drown the information from the salient touch ?

Continue reading “Movement related activity suppresses certain sensory signals”

Internal representation of space influences visual processing

Say you are walking down the same street you have walked every day for a decade. Before you realize what you are looking at, you notice something is different. Maybe the McDonald’s has been replaced by Burger King. What’s going on ?

Our internal representation of space has come under the spotlight with the discovery of spatial maps in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. But how does this internal model affect our sensory processing ? This recent paper looks at the activity of visual cortex neurons and how they are influenced by the internal representation of an environment.  Continue reading “Internal representation of space influences visual processing”

Orientation selectivity and functional clustering of synaptic inputs

Moving away from our theme of memory consolidation, looking at Parvalbumin and Somatostatin interneurons, in this blog post we focus on the visual system.

In 1958, David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel discovered that cells in the visual cortex of cats respond to bars of light moving in a specific direction. Their discovery of these cells, termed as ‘orientation selective cells’, has revolutionized the whole field of neuroscience.

This recent paper peers into the origin of diversity of orientation selectivity in the visual cortex.

Continue reading “Orientation selectivity and functional clustering of synaptic inputs”

Somatostatin interneurons control size of memory ensembles

Following up on our previous post about parvalbumin interneurons, this time we look at memory consolidation and somatostatin interneurons. Another type of interneuron that express a peptide- somatostatin.

This recent paper shows how somatostatin interneurons (SST) of the hippocampus control the size of neuronal ensembles that are important for memory. Continue reading “Somatostatin interneurons control size of memory ensembles”

Plasticity in Parvalbumin neurons

Since we claim to be neuroscientists, we thought we should allocate a few blog posts to the nitty gritty details of neuroscience research. To start things off, we have a post on Parvalbumin interneurons. They are a subset of interneurons that express parvalbumin, a calcium binding protein.

In 2013, Donato et al. reported that there are two different types of  Parvalbumin neurons in our cortex and hippocampus. One type expresses low levels of Parvalbumin (PV), low levels of GAD67 (enzyme that makes GABA neurotransmitter) and receive higher inhibitory inputs- referred to here as Low PV plasticity cellsand the other expresses high levels of PV and GAD67  and receive higher excitatory input- referred to as High PV plasticity cells.

Continue reading “Plasticity in Parvalbumin neurons”

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