Determining the Cell-autonomous Role of GABAergic Inhibition in Visual Processing

2015 Seed Grant
Michael Higley, M.D., PhD.
Yale University

The activity of neurons in the brain is determined by the interplay of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs to each cell. Alterations in neuronal inhibition are thought to play key roles in several neuropsychiatric disorders. However, it has been difficult to study the normal function of inhibition in the intact animal, because large-scale changes in inhibitory signaling lead to gross perturbation of brain activity. Here, we use a recently developed approach to disrupt inhibition in only a few neurons of the mouse brain and monitor the activity of these cells using a powerful form of microscopy. Thus, we will investigate how disruption of inhibition leads to changes in cell function without the confounding changes in overall brain activity. These experiments will give us important new insights into how neuronal activity in the healthy brain is generated and how it may be altered in disease.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…