The central focus of this project is the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and particularly the organization of its neuronal circuitry. The PPC receives afferent projections from primary somatosensory and visual cortices and is thought to be an associative cortical area. Experiments in head-restrained primates demonstrate that it is involved in decisions involving attention to visual information, however, behavioral studies in rodents show that it is also centrally involved in spatial navigation. Similarly, a prominent syndrome observed in humans with PPC lesions, Balint’s syndrome, is characterized by a deficit in navigating a limb precisely to a defined target. Given these very different functions (spatial navigation versus sensory attention and integration), our key aim is to determine whether individual neurons and networks in the PPC participate in both sensory decision-making tasks and tasks involving spatial navigation, or whether these two PPC functions are carried out by separate populations of neurons. We will quantify the activity of neuronal populations in the PPC of freely moving rats, using a head-mounted miniaturized multiphoton microscope, as they are performing a variety of behavioural tasks designed to test the different functions of the PPC – spatial navigation and sensory-related decision making.
Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar)
Ludwig-Erhard Allee 2
Phone: +49-228 9656-103