CRC 870

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Experience-dependent plasticity in auditory cortex in vivo: from spines to local circuits

Principal Investigators:

We will use state-of-the-art techniques to study the mechanisms underlying plastic changes in auditory cortex that follow a simple change in behavior – learning to discriminate between two tone frequencies. We will develop fast learning protocols that will allow us to record in an awake, head-fixed animal before, during and after the induction of plasticity. We hypothesize that cortical plasticity represents the outcome of three interacting processes: the habituation period to a ‘safe’ tone that precedes conditioning; the conditioning itself, which couples another tone frequency with an aversive outcome; and their control by specific neuromodulator-controlled inhibitory interneurons, mostly in layer I.