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INTEGRATION OF SYNAPTIC INPUTS AT THE POSTERIOR THALAMIC NUCLEUS IN THE RAT INVESTIGATED IN VITRO
Supervisor:
Prof. Andrzej Wróbel, Ph.D,
Supervisor webpage
http://www.nencki.gov.pl/vslab/vislab.html
Foreign partner:
Prof. Sivert Lindström and prof Bjorn Granseth, Ph.D, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Foreign partner webpage:
http://www.liu.se/forskning/foass/bjorn-granseth?l=en
Background:
Somatosensory nuclei of the dorsal thalamus take part not only in relaying sensory information from the brain stem and the spinal cord to the cerebral cortex but also in complex and still little known integrative processes engaging cortico-thalamic connections and subcortical inhibitory nuclei. This is especially true for so called higher-order thalamic nuclei, exemplified by the posterior thalamic nucleus (Po) of a rat, whose principal neurons are main nodal points of numerous neuronal loops, comprising several types of cortical and subcortical neurons. Resulting diversity in synaptic inputs, enriched by short term plasticity phenomena, can uderlie complex mechanisms of synaptic integration.
Aim of the study:
We propose: 1) to study the short term plasticity mechanisms for all types of synapses on principal cells in the higher-order somatosensory thalamic nucleus of the rat (Po), and 2) to investigate integration of convergent synaptic inputs to the principal neurons of Po by correlated stimulation of sets of different inputs, using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from tissue slices of juvenile animals.
International exchange:
We propose to start the project with a six-month introductory training in the whole-cell patch-clamp recording at the University of Linköping, Sweden, connected with developing of novel ways of cutting rat brain slices, sparing different sets of afferent connections of Po. Another six-month research activity at the University of Linköping is planned at later stage of the four-year project, preferably at the beginning of its second phase with investigation of integration of convergent synaptic inputs to Po. The total time in Linköping will be one year.
Additional requirements for the student:
Former training in intracellular recording and usage of electrophysiological laboratory software would be an advantage.


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