Mentors: Jennifer Li, Lindsey Glickfeld, Ph.D.
Department of Neurobiology
It has been thought that varying subtypes of interneurons have different roles in controlling the neuronal circuits that drive visual perception. This has been primarily studied through the activation or inhibition of specific interneuron populations through the use of optogenetics (which has limited clinical applications) or non-selective pharmacology (which is prone to off-target effects). This study aims to further understand the roles of parvalbumin (PV) and somatostatin (SST) expressing interneurons in the mouse primary visual cortex (V1). This will be achieved by selectively inhibiting their activity through a recently developed technique: Drugs Acutely Restricted by Tethering (DART). Unlike optogenetics or non-selective pharmacology, this technique will allow us to selectively inhibit specific interneuron populations in a clinically feasible manner. Thus, we expect to see suppressed responses in PV and SST cells, following an electrical stimulus, in comparison to the control. Overall, these findings will contribute to the overall understanding of the function of PV and SST interneurons in neuronal circuits and add to the knowledge of mechanisms driving perception and visually guided behaviors. Additionally, this study seeks to validate the use of DART as a technique to manipulate specific neuronal populations within V1.