how do spinal circuits involved in sensory integration drive cortical circuits necessary for perception?

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Pain, an experience common to all of humanity, largely remains a mystery in its processing and cortical integration.

Experimentally, we are looking to perform simultaneous spinal and cortical recordings in the hopes of observing how spinal activity drives cortical activity. By examining cortical activity, we can gain a better understanding of whether gate theory holds true, how it works, and therefore better understand the mechanisms behind spinal cord stimulation.

One of the more specific questions we are looking to address is: what circuit dynamics in the spine govern the successful transmission of tactile or nociceptive signals to the brain, and how do those circuits influence cortical processing of these signals?

We are looking to build a model for how observed neural circuits help generate perception. From this, more long-term, we hope to affix cortical implants to the mice and study behaviour in response to tactile and nociceptive stimuli.

In the following semester, my main focus will be on spike sorting. I will be characterising the electrophysiological response in the optogenetic mice this semester, using that data for my analyses, and ultimately aiming to develop better analytical methods. 


I have been working in the Borton Laboratory since September 2017, and am currently working as a full-time lab technician from June-December 2018.