Dendritic mechanisms of context dependent cortical computation
Mark Harnett, Ph.D., Matthew Wilson, Ph.D.
After Jakob’s undergraduate studies in pure math, he worked on quantifying the information processing in tactile decision making in mice at the Max Planck Institute Heidelberg. For his thesis work at MIT, Jakob worked on how laminar neocortical circuits contribute to the processing of changing sensory stimuli. In his Post-doc work with Mark Harnett he is examining the contributions of active dendritic processes to the computations carried out in higher-level associative regions of mouse cortex.
In my Post-doc work with Mark Harnett at MIT I am examining the question of how the function of individual neurons at the synaptic and dendritic level translates to the function of complex networks of neurons. A key component for linking these levels is the integration of different synaptic inputs by active processes in the elaborate dendrites of individual neurons. By using novel virtual reality methods, my experiments will relate active dendritic mechanisms at the single cell level to a tractable associative computation in mice, providing fundamental new insights into how cellular-level effects of genetic changes in autism spectrum disorders can lead to network level and behavioural phenotypes.