Bodian Seminar: Anita Disney, Ph.D.
“Circuit mechanisms underlying the dynamic control of cortical processing by subcortical neuromodulators”
Behavioral states such as arousal and attention can have profound effects on sensory processing, determining how – sometimes whether – a stimulus is processed. This state-dependence is believed to depend, at least in part, on inputs from subcortical structures that release neuromodulators such as acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and serotonin, often non-synaptically. The mechanisms that underlie the interaction between these “wireless” non-synaptic signals and the “wired” cortical circuit are not well understood. Furthermore, neuromodulatory signaling is traditionally considered broad in its impact across cortex (within a species) and consistent in its form and function across species (at least in mammals). The work I will present approaches the challenge of understanding neuromodulatory action in the cortex from a number of angles: anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and electrochemistry. The goal of this work is to elucidate both the structure and function of cortical neuromodulation in the visual cortex of non-human primates and to reveal differences in structure and function across cortical model systems.