Peter Borden wins GeorgiaBio Emerging Leader of the Year

2016-01-28The Emerging Leader of the Year awards honor young professionals for outstanding contributions to the success of the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) and/or the growth of Georgia’s life sciences community. The award winners are selected by a panel of seasoned industry leaders acting as advisors to the ELN.

Mr. Borden is being honored for his dedication to the GaBio ELN while conducting scientific research at Georgia Tech. He enthusiastically spreads awareness of Georgia Bio and provides critical insight into one of Atlanta’s major universities. Lastly, Mr. Borden is always available to volunteer for GaBio functions including the GaBio Summit, Awards Dinner, Investor Network, and general member events.

 

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Audrey Sederberg joins the Stanley Lab

AHeadshots-Sederberg-18udrey has her PhD from Princeton University in theoretical biophysics, where she analyzed the structure of correlated variability in developing visual cortical circuits and constructed models that explored the role of inhibition in these circuits. Since then, She has worked in the MacLean and Palmer labs at the University of Chicago, where she used two-photon imaging in thalamocortical slices to analyze the representation and decodability of specific thalamic stimuli across populations of neurons that spanned multiple layers and columns.

We are very excited to have her join the Stanley lab!

Post-Doc Chris Waiblinger receives German Research Fellowship

Research Fellowships from the DFG (German Research Foundation) are intended to enable researchers at an early stage of their scientific career to carry out a clearly defined research project at a place of their choice abroad or to acquaint themselves with new scientific research methods.

The duration of funding is up to 2 years

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New publication – Information Coding through Adaptive Gating of Synchronized Thalamic Bursting

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It has been posited that the regulation of burst/tonic firing in the thalamus could function as a mechanism for controlling not only how much but what kind of information is conveyed to downstream cortical targets. Yet how this gating mechanism is adaptively modulated on fast timescales by ongoing sensory inputs in rich sensory environments remains unknown. Using single-unit recordings in the rat vibrissa thalamus (VPm), we found that the degree of bottom-up adaptation modulated thalamic burst/tonic firing as well as the synchronization of bursting across the thalamic population along a continuum for which the extremes facilitate detection or discrimination of sensory inputs. Optogenetic control of baseline membrane potential in thalamus further suggests that this regulation may result from an interplay between adaptive changes in thalamic membrane potential and synaptic drive from inputs to thalamus, setting the stage for an intricate control strategy upon which cortical computation is built.

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C.J. Whitmire, C. Waiblinger, C. Schwarz, G.B. Stanley, Information Coding through Adaptive Gating of Synchronized Thalamic Bursting, Cell Reports 14, 1-13, 2016 PDF

New Publication – Support for the slip hypothesis from whisker-related tactile perception of rats in a noisy environment

Rodents use active whisker movements to explore their environment. The “slip hypothesis” of whisker-related tactile perception entails that short-lived kinematic events (abrupt whisker movements, called “slips”, due to bioelastic whisker properties that occur during active touch of textures) carry the decisive texture information. Supporting this hypothesis, previous studies have shown that slip amplitude and frequency occur in a texture-dependent way. Further, experiments employing passive pulsatile whisker deflections revealed that perceptual performance based on pulse kinematics (i.e., signatures that resemble slips) is far superior to the one based on time-integrated variables like frequency and intensity. So far, pulsatile stimuli were employed in a noise free environment. However, the realistic scenario involves background noise (e.g., evoked by rubbing across the texture). Therefore, if slips are used for tactile perception, the tactile neuronal system would need to differentiate slip-evoked spikes from those evoked by noise. To test the animals under these more realistic conditions, we presented passive whisker-deflections to head-fixed trained rats, consisting of “slip-like” events (waveforms mimicking slips occurring with touch of real textures) embedded into background noise. Varying the (i) shapes (ramp or pulse); (ii) kinematics (amplitude, velocity, etc.); and (iii) the probabilities of occurrence of slip-like events, we observed that rats could readily detect slip-like events of different shapes against noisy background. Psychophysical curves revealed that the difference of slip event and noise amplitude determined perception, while increased probability of occurrence (frequency) had barely any effect. These results strongly support the notion that encoding of kinematics dominantly determines whisker-related tactile perception while the computation of frequency or intensity plays a minor role.

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C. Waiblinger, D. Brugger, C. J. Whitmire, G. B. Stanley, C. Schwarz, Support for the slip hypothesis from whisker-related tactile Perception of rats in a noisy environment, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 9:53, 2015. PDF