Each cortical area contains a richly interconnected array of diverse cell types, whose patterns of connectivity underlie the cortex’s ability to extract sensory features or generate more complex representations of the external world.
Extensive long-range projections mediate the exchange of information between cortical areas specialised in different functions. Surprisingly little is known about the rules of connectivity and resulting computations in long-range circuits that link cortical areas. This knowledge may be crucial for developing a conceptual framework of what the cortex actually computes and how it computes it within hierarchically organised cortical networks.
The proposed research aims to understand the fundamental anatomical organizational principles of long-range neuronal circuits in the visual cortex, comprised of multiple distinct types of projection neurons, and how this organization relates to their molecular identity and the information they represent during visual processing. We focus on the visual cortex of the mouse using a combination of methods, including anatomical labelling and reconstructions of long-range projection neurons, two-photon calcium imaging of neuronal activity in awake or behaving mice, assessment of connectivity by in vitro whole-cell recordings and optogenetics, single-cell transcriptomics of anatomically and functionally characterised neurons, in vivo optogenetics, and visual behavioural tasks.