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Anatomical substrates for synchronization between the cingulate and retrosplenial cortices during goal-directed behavior – characterizing neurons with collateralizing axons
Portugal (PorMSIC) - University of Lisbon, Lisbon
Departamento de Mecanismos Neuronais de Percepção, Memória e Decisão, Edificio Egas Moniz, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Goal-directed behavior requires dynamic coupling between the hippocampus (HIPP), the source of contextual information, and the midline cortex (MC) (cingulate (CG) and retrosplenial (RSC) divisions), a "hub" where egocentric, allocentric and memory-related information are integrated. In this context, dynamic neural synchrony between such remotely located areas would establish a context-dependent functional circuit, to meet changing cognitive demands, whose disturbance would effectively disconnect the brain regions involved, with the ensuing cognitive deficits. We now propose that such synchrony is undertaken by a special circuit of "third-party" neurons we have recently found, whose axons project simultaneously to ACC (anterior cingulate cortex) and RSC (neurons with collateralizing axons, or NCA).
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of the project is to evaluate the neural-connection between ACC (anterior cingulate cortex) and RSC (neurons with collateralizing axons, or NCA).
What techniques and methods are used?
IC (intracranial) viral injection, microscopy, electrophysiology – we will inject two viruses in each brain region, wait until they transduce their gene products specifically in neurons collateralizing their projections onto ACC (anterior cingulate cortex) and RSC (retrosplenial cortex), (NCA), and target these neurons for anatomical and functional characterization.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student is expected to understand the scientific question, to learn and to help in the performance of the experiments. All work will be done with supervision in order to let the student understand the procedures and learn from observation. The student will learn how to perform microscopy image analysis, and collaborate in surgeries, viral injections, and electrophysiology, all under supervision. The student will acquire the technical competences to perform the techniques mentioned and also will develop his/her knowledge in neurology.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation - The student will prepare a scientific report
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Remondes; M. & Wilson; M. A. Cingulate-hippocampus coherence and trajectory coding in a sequential choice task. Neuron80; 1277–89 (2013)
- Varela; C.; Kumar; S.; Yang; J. Y. & Wilson; M. A. Anatomical substrates for direct interactions between hippocampus; medial prefrontal cortex; and the thalamic nucleus reuniens. Brain Struct. Funct.219; 911–29 (2014)
- Chaudhury; D. et al. Rapid regulation of depression-related behaviours by control of midbrain dopamine neurons. Nature493; 532–6 (2013)
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