Monday, April 25, 201612:00– 1:30 pm, in 489 Minor Hall

Actions of acetylcholine in local circuits of macaque visual cortex

presented by

Anita Disney, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept of Psychology
Vanderbilt University


Host: Michael Silver

After decades of effort, a great deal is known about the connectivity within and between neural circuits. The connectivity (or wiring) diagrams that arise from this work have, in turn, been powerful drivers of theory and experiment. However, neuromodulatory processes place strong limits on the explanatory power of wiring diagrams. Viewed in the context of the existence of neuromodulation, wiring diagrams become valuable static pictures of the possible connectivity within a dynamic system. To fully understand the dynamic and flexible capabilities of such circuits, we must understand the neuromodulatory influences to which they are subject. Acetylcholine acts as a neuromodulator in the neocortex of mammals, is a candidate mechanism for arousal and attention, and has a demonstrated role in cortical plasticity. The work I will present approaches the problem of understanding acetylcholine’s action in the neocortex from a number of angles (anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, electrochemistry); the goal of this work being to elucidate both the structure and function cortical cholinergic modulation. I also explore how cholinergic structures and functions may vary across cortical model systems.


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