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Somatosensory & Motor Research
ISSN: 0899-0220 (Print) 1369-1651 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ismr20
Barrels XXVIII take the Windy City by storm
Anjali Gour, Evan H. Lyall, Alexander Naka & Joshua C. Brumberg
To cite this article: Anjali Gour, Evan H. Lyall, Alexander Naka & Joshua C. Brumberg
(2016): Barrels XXVIII take the Windy City by storm, Somatosensory & Motor Research, DOI:
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/08990220.2016.1173536
Published online: 27 Apr 2016.
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Barrels XXVIII take the Windy City by storm
Anjali Gour
, Evan H. Lyall
, Alexander Naka
and Joshua C. Brumberg
Department of Connectomics, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany;
Biophysics Graduate Group, University of
California, Berkeley, USA;
The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, USA;
PhD Program in Biology
(Neuroscience) and Psychology (Behavioral Cognitive Neuroscience), The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, USA;
Department of Psychology,
Queens College, CUNY, New York, USA
The 28th annual Barrels meeting was held prior to the Society for Neuroscience meeting in October
2015 at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting brought together
researchers focused on the rodent sensorimotor system. The meeting focused on modern techniques to
decipher cortical circuits, social interactions among rodents, and decision-making. The meeting allowed
investigators to share their work via short talks, poster presentations, and a data blitz.
Received 30 March 2016
Accepted 30 March 2016
Published online 25 April
Vibrissa; whiskers; barrel
cortex; sensorimotor
Day 1: Thursday
The 28th annual Barrels meeting opened under the watchful
eye of Abraham Lincoln, in the Hogwarts-inspired Lincoln Hall
on the campus of Northwestern University School of Law in
Chicago, Illinois (Figure 1). The meeting was hosted on
Thursday 15 October and Friday 16 October 2015. The Barrels
meeting annually brings together investigators from around
the world focusing on issues related to the rodent whisker-to-
barrel cortex system. This year’s meeting focused on three
main topics: techniques and insights on deciphering cortical
circuits, the neural underpinnings of social behavior and com-
munication, and finally the neural basis of decision-making.
The first session on circuit breakers was introduced and
moderated by Jochen Staiger (Georg-August Universit
The initial speaker, Troy Margrie (University College
London), focused on defining specific circuit elements and
then, based on knowledge of how they integrated into cor-
tical circuits, began to build up to a functional analysis.
Specifically, using four intrinsic parameters (which included
spike adaptation rates, levels of ‘‘sag’’ current, and action
potential threshold) cortico-cortical vs. cortico-thalamic neu-
rons could be differentiated within layer VI of primary visual
cortex in the mouse. Receptive field mapping showed that
cortico-thalamic neurons were much more tuned and that
cortico-cortical cells received much more depolarization in
response to visual stimuli. Using rabies virus in vivo it was
possible to infect individual cells and then determine some
of their pre-synaptic patterns. Following adequate incubation
time, sections were then cut on a vibratome and using
a 2-photon microscope it was possible to show that
cortico-cortical cells had more local inputs than cortico-
thalamic neurons which got a lot of their inputs (25%)
from higher-order visual areas, including the retrosplenial
cortex which encodes head direction. Putting the mouse on
a turntable that allowed rotation demonstrated that the rest-
ing membrane potential of cortico-thalamic neurons is
modulated by head direction in the horizontal axis.
The next speaker was Joanna Urban-Ciecko (Carnegie
Mellon University). Using whole-cell recordings she was able
to show that functional connectivity can be regulated by the
activity of somatostatin-positive GABAergic interneurons in
vitro. The spontaneous activity of the slice was modified using
different artificial cerebral spinal fluid compositions. It was
found that when the cortical network was active, pyramidal
to pyramidal cell connections displayed paired pulse facilita-
tion and when the network was relatively silent these same
connections showed paired pulse depression. Using optoge-
netics to activate a population of somatostatin-positive inter-
neurons, it was shown how these cells can rapidly stop
excitatory neurotransmission in the brain.
The final speaker of the session was Ian Wickersham
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology). His talk focused on
advances in monosynaptic racing largely using rabies viruses.
By modifying the virus correctly, it is possible to get mono-
synaptic labeling of the pre-synaptic targets without con-
founding the labeling of polysynaptic inputs which were
indistinguishable in earlier versions of the technique. A fur-
ther advance of the viral vectors is their relative lack of
toxicity to the host neurons. Through utilization of these tech-
niques investigators can determine the nature of the pre-
synaptic inputs to a specific neuron of interest.
Following a coffee break there where three short talks
moderated by Hillel Adesnik (University of California,
CONTACT J. C. Brumberg jbrumberg@gc.cuny.edu The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA
ß 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Downloaded by [City University of New York] at 08:57 28 April 2016
Berkeley). Leading off was Chia-Chien Chen (University of
California, Santa Cruz) who used a synthesis of behavioral
studies and in vivo 2-photon imaging to assay the role stress
has on learning and memory of motor tasks and the resultant
impact on dendritic spines. Using the pillar task, wherein
mice must use their whiskers to detect novel vs. familiar
objects, it was shown that stress decreases performance. The
2-photon imaging revealed that stress does not impact the
formation of new spines, but does increase the rate of elimin-
ation of spines, especially those found in clusters. Having the
mice housed in enriched environments ameliorates some of
the impacts of stress. Marcel Oberlaender (Institute for
Biological Cybernetics, T
ubingen, Germany) followed up by
using retrograde tracers to label distinct populations of layer
V cells. It was determined that 37% of layer V pyramidal cells
in barrel cortex project to the pons, 25% project to the spinal
trigeminal nucleus, 22% to the posterior medial nucleus of
the thalamus, and 15% to the superior colliculus. Cell
attached recording in vivo showed that posterior medial pro-
jecting neurons had high levels of spontaneous activity and
robust whisker-evoked responses. The neurons that projected
to the pons had lower spontaneous activity and responded
to the whisker stimulus throughout the deflection, including
the hold phase. Those neurons that project to the spinal
trigeminal nucleus have reliable early and sustained
responses. In conclusion, the data demonstrate that the long-
range target of a neuron’s axon is correlated with neurons’
receptive field properties and levels of spontaneous activity.
Finally, the morning session was concluded with a talk by
Xiang Yu (Chinese Academy of Sciences). She showed that
early enrichment leads to higher spine densities by 2 months
of age, but by 3 months they have overall lower spine den-
sities, but a higher proportion of spine morphologies that are
associated with mature animals. In general, it was found that
the proportion of mature spines was inversely correlated with
overall spine density. Using knockouts of various cytoskeletal
linking proteins, it was shown that beta-catenin plays a piv-
otal role in spine maturation.
Post lunch, the afternoon session addressed the topic of
social behavior and communication. The session was moder-
ated by Adi Mizrahi (Hebrew University, Israel). The first
speaker was Ann Clemens (Bernstein Center, Germany) who
discussed the neuronal responses to social facial touch.
Initially, data were presented showing how rodents and other
animals use their whiskers to socially interact. She and her
colleagues found that there are sex-related differences in this
interaction which evoked action potential (AP) firing in the
barrel cortex. They conducted in vivo recordings in head-fixed
‘‘subject’’ rats while they were interacting with a ‘‘stimulus’’
rat. The differences in the firing patterns were cell-type
dependent and seen in fast-spiking interneurons and not in
regular-spiking cells. They also studied the effect of estrus
phases on the spiking patterns during social touch in females.
Interestingly, during estrus the response to social touch was
lowest while the baseline firing was highest. Consistent with
these findings was immunocytochemical evidence that
showed that the estrogen receptor was colocalized in the bar-
rel cortex with the Ca
-binding protein parvalbumin, which
Figure 1. Meeting attendees. Under the watchful eye of Abraham Lincoln, the Barrels XXVIII attendees listen to the latest advancements in the rodent whisker-to-bar-
rel system.
Downloaded by [City University of New York] at 08:57 28 April 2016
is expressed by fast-spiking interneurons. Their current work
explores the molecular mechanisms underlying this cyclical
pattern and Dr Clemens also discussed some preliminary data
and approaches in this regard.
The next speaker was Gul Dolen (Johns Hopkins
University). Her work was based on the mechanistic under-
standing of the pathogenesis of social dysfunctionality in
neuropsychiatric disorders (particularly autism) and its under-
lying neural encoding. Using genetic modulation for blocking
the oxytocin (OT) receptors in the nucleus accumbens (NAc)
in mice, her group established that only the inputs from dor-
sal raphe nucleus are vital for social interactions. This was
tested using the social conditioned place preference para-
digm wherein the OT-receptor blocking was confirmed elec-
trophysiologically. Subsequently, in Venus reporter mice, they
observed the localization of NAc OT on inputs from dorsal
raphe nucleus. Thus, she suggested the following mechanism:
OT when released in NAc subsequently acts on the terminals
of axons that originate from the dorsal raphe nucleus thereby
inducing a release of serotonin. This in turn led to glutamate
release which eventually resulted in long-term depression
(LTD). It is known that LTD is correlated to social interaction
as animals living socially exhibit stronger LTD than their iso-
lated counterparts. Together, these data suggest the social
reward mechanism to be the result of coordinated OT and
serotonin activity in the NAc of mice.
The following speaker was Bianca Jones Marlin (New
York University) who discussed how OT regulates the mater-
nal behavior of pup retrieval via enhancing the auditory cor-
tical responses in mouse mothers. She began by illustrating
the pup retrieval behavior which was seen in the case of
experienced mothers in response to distress calls from new-
born pups when they were separated. Virgin females did not
exhibit this behavior. However, only the virgin females
co-housed with dams or those subjected to central adminis-
tration of OT displayed the retrieval behavior. She and her
colleagues then looked into the expression patterns of the OT
receptor via antibody (OXTR-2) labelling. Interestingly, they
observed the expression to be significantly higher in the left
auditory cortex and to be true for both the groups, dams and
virgins, thereby implying OT-receptor expression to be inde-
pendent of experience. They hypothesized that a distinct spe-
cific neural circuit, augmented with OT receptors, would thus
be adapted for pup distress calls. Using electrophysiology,
they subsequently looked into neuromodulatory effects of OT.
It was seen that the immediate effect of OT pairing (either
topical OT application or optogenetic OT activation) in virgin
females decreased inhibitory post-synaptic currents (IPSCs)
and increased reliability of potentiated excitatory post-synap-
tic currents (EPSCs). However, 45 min post pairing there was
significant strengthening of IPSCs. This delayed balancing was
crucial for spike time precision in OT paired virgins (also in
experienced dams) which sensitized them for pup retrieval. In
conclusion, she suggested that the maternal pup retrieval
was a result of OT-mediated delayed balancing of inhibition
with excitation of auditory cortex.
The day’s talks ended with Adi Mizrahi’s (Hebrew
University, Israel) talk on plasticity in the primary auditory cor-
tex (A1) with a focus on coding of natural sounds. Having
emphasized the role of pure tones in understanding the gen-
eral mechanisms of auditory cortex, he suggested its plausible
role in understanding natural sounds. With a view to gain
insights into this, he discussed the spectrotemporal receptive
field (STRF) which is a two-dimensional function used to ana-
lyze the tuning properties of individual auditory responsive
neurons. Knowing from previous work that STRF-based mod-
els account for a small fraction of cortical responses to natural
sounds, he discussed the two main underlying reasons: (i)
non-linearity of neuronal responses in auditory cortex; and (ii)
context sensitivity of neuronal responses (i.e., same stimulus
when presented in varied context exhibit different responses).
To account for context sensitivity, he suggested the role of
inhibitory mechanisms in the auditory cortex and synaptic
depression (which was seen in both thalamocortical and cor-
tico-cortical synapses) amongst other additional mechanisms.
Moving from single neuronal coding to population coding,
Professor Mizrahi focused on tonotopic maps in A1 across
species. While the presence of such tonotopic maps in mouse
A1 was debated by different groups of studies, Professor
Mizrahi suggested the presence of coarse grain level tono-
topy in mouse A1. He also stated that the tonotopy at lower
levels of the auditory reception pathway is majorly a conse-
quence of decomposition of frequencies. Surprisingly, A1 was
different and did not seem to have frequency-decomposition-
based tonotopy. It was then suggested that novel organiza-
tion patterns rather than smooth tonotopic maps may be
employed by A1 for processing of complex sounds. In conclu-
sion, Professor Mizrahi proposed that the processing in audi-
tory cortex might be based on general mechanisms which
are indifferent for all sounds (simple and complex; natural
and artificial). Following the talks, a dinner and poster presen-
tation was hosted that allowed conference attendees to see
the latest results while feasting.
Day 2: Friday
The second day began early with four short talks moderated
by Marcel Oberlaender (Institute for Biological Cybernetics,
ubingen, Germany). Mitra Hartmann (Northwestern
University) led off a lab tag team by presenting every mem-
ber of the audience with a 3D-printed, scaled model of a
mouse’s whisker as a means to visualize all of the forces pre-
sent during each whisk cycle and every contact event. Her
student Lucie Huet followed up by showing that the best
way to approximate the bending moment at the whisker
base is to compute the curvature at the base, and that meas-
uring global or average curvature did not perform nearly as
well. Finally, Anne Yang presented data showing that the
force propagated at the base of the whisker is dependent
upon the intrinsic curvature of the whisker itself, and there-
fore identical deflections presented by piezos will not result
in two whiskers transmitting the same mechanical informa-
tion. Andrew Hires (University of Southern California) spoke
next and demonstrated that a conical model of a whisker per-
forms very poorly at replicating whisker kinetics during touch.
He showed that one can account for a much larger percent-
age of the variance of a whisker’s kinetics by allowing the
Downloaded by [City University of New York] at 08:57 28 April 2016
bending stiffness to vary along the length of the whisker. He
hypothesized that this could be the result of an inhomogen-
eity in Young’s modulus along the length of the whisker,
which is proportional to the fourth power of the radius of the
whisker. When he measured each whisker’s radius he actually
found that a whisker’s radius does not linearly decrease along
its length, rather the whisker is thinner in the middle than a
linear relationship would suggest, lending some credence to
his hypothesis. Afterward, Jason Ritt (Boston University)
described a study investigating how rodents choose to pal-
pate objects in their environment and how much primary
somatosensory cortex (S1) contributes to this behavior. By
having the mice perform a simple tactile search behavior, he
found that mice employ a strategy that modulates whisking
to counteract head motion and sustain repeated contacts, but
only when doing so is likely to be useful to the mouse.
Secondly, he replicated previous results showing that optoge-
netically stimulating S1 in quiescent animals produces retrac-
tions, but further showed that whisk-locked stimulation
regularizes whisking and increases whisk frequency.
Additionally, he demonstrated that the phase of this whisk-
locked stimulation is extremely important in how it affects
the mouse’s whisking, with even a 20-ms difference in stimu-
lation time producing very different behaviors. Rasmus
Petersen (University of Manchester, UK) concluded the morn-
ing session by describing a generalized linear model (GLM)
based approach for predicting the spiking activity of trigemi-
nal ganglion neurons during natural whisking, using whisker
angle and curvature measured via high-speed photography.
He found that the vast majority of units were fitted better by
a curvature-based model, and furthermore incorporating
angle information did not improve the fit. By fitting a GLM
based on the whisker’s acceleration during free whisking, he
also showed that 50% of units were sensitive to acceleration,
with a heterogeneous mix of these units being tuned for a
specific direction of the acceleration.
After a group discussion and break for coffee, there were
five more short talks moderated by Solange Brown (Johns
Hopkins University). Tess Oram (Weizmann Institute of
Science, Israel) spoke first and described her strategy to iden-
tify the perceptual functions of the ventral posterior medial
(VPM) and posterior medial (POm) thalamic nuclei. She identi-
fied thalamic units in each of these pathways by injecting
either Cre-on or Cre-off channelrhodopsin into GPR26-Cre
mice that were allowed to freely move in a cage. She found
that the firing rates of neurons in both pathways were modu-
lated by head acceleration and orientation, but that they
were especially modulated by head velocity. Additionally, she
showed that VPM neurons were strongly modulated by vibris-
sal touch and that this modulation did not significantly inter-
act with head-motion-induced modulations. Clarissa
Whitmire (Georgia Institute of Technology) followed up by
showing that neurons in the leminsical thalamus (VPM), which
typically burst fire synchronously in response to touch,
decrease their burstiness and synchrony as a result of adapta-
tion. She demonstrated this by using piezos to deflect
whiskers of an anesthetized mouse while modulating the
amount of underlying noise being played through the piezos.
Afterward Scott Pluta (University of California, Berkeley)
moved up to the primary somatosensory cortex where he
presented results showing a new inhibitory pathway in cor-
tical microcircuit. While selectively silencing layer 4 (L4)
excitatory neurons with halorhodopsin, he showed that
regular-spiking neurons in layer 5 (L5) increased their firing
rates. Conversely, when he activated channelrhodopsin in L4
excitatory neurons, L5 regular-spiking neurons decreased their
firing rates. He found that this is likely due to a previously
undiscovered direct connection from L4 excitatory neurons
onto L5 fast-spiking interneurons. This translaminar circuit
helps to sharpen the spatial tuning of L5 pyramidal neurons.
Next Vishalini Sivarajan (Aachen University Hospital,
Germany) described work where she patched and labeled
non-fast-spiking inhibitory neurons in L4. She clustered her
neurons based on where they project and found three dis-
tinct clusters: infragranular projecting, supragranular projec-
ting, and intralaminar projecting neurons. One major surprise
was that some of the intralaminar projecting neurons also
projected laterally to surrounding columns. Secondly, she
clustered the neurons based on electrophysiological proper-
ties and again found three distinct groups: high adapting, low
threshold spiking, and late spiking. However, there is no cor-
relation between the clusters identified with the two meth-
ods. Finally, to finish off the morning sessions Guanxiao Qi
(Aachen University, Germany) advanced our understanding of
L4 connectivity even further by measuring the connection
probability between excitatory neurons and other neurons in
L4. Paired whole-cell recordings revealed that the connection
probability of an excitatory neuron being connected to
another excitatory neuron within the same barrel is 30%,
while the probability of an excitatory neuron connecting to
an excitatory neuron in a neighboring barrel is 10%. This is
contrasted with his finding that there is a 60% connection
probability of an excitatory neuron connecting onto an inhibi-
tory neuron within the same barrel, as opposed to a 20%
connection probability onto inhibitory neurons in neighboring
barrels. The degree of transbarrel connectivity was quite sur-
prising and is sure to play a pivotal role in shaping L4 neu-
rons’ receptive field properties.
The final session of the meeting focused on decision-mak-
ing. Moderator Eddie Zagha (Yale University) introduced the
topic with a summary of three key challenges facing neuro-
scientists studying decision-making: (1) designing choice-
based behavioral tasks; (2) recording neural activity during
these tasks; and (3) identifying a framework to ‘‘read-out’’ and
model the neural computations that underlie effective deci-
sion-making in animals.
The first speaker, Mathew Diamond (Scuola Internazionale
Superiore di Studi Avanzati, Italy) described work using a
vibrotactile delayed comparison task to study temporal inte-
gration in both rats and humans. In this task, subjects were
presented with two successive vibrating stimuli to the
whiskers or fingertips. Stimuli were irregular and noisy, as
each time point in a stimulus was generated by randomly
sampling a velocity value from a normal distribution. On each
trial, subjects had to discriminate which stimulus had been
generated from a higher variance distribution. Diamond and
colleagues also varied the duration of stimuli, and found that
this could confound judgment of variance; for both rats and
Downloaded by [City University of New York] at 08:57 28 April 2016
humans, longer stimuli were perceived to be of higher vari-
ance (‘‘longer feels stronger’’). This suggests that the brain
may be summating velocities over time to perform this task.
Supporting this interpretation, psychophysical performance
was well-described by a model in which tactile inputs were
temporally summated with a primacy bias. Finally, extracellu-
lar recordings in rats revealed potential neural correlates of
these perceptual processes. Some neurons in primary somato-
sensory cortex appeared to be performing a computation
very similar to the predicted summation, while neurons in
premotor cortex displayed choice-related activity that was
biased by stimulus duration in a manner similar to the behav-
ior itself.
The next speaker, Daniel O’Connor (Johns Hopkins
University), described a technically impressive study examin-
ing the evolution of choice-related activity across multiple
stages of the whisker somatosensory pathway. In this study,
mice performed a detection task, licking for a reward in
response to a whisker stimulus. Calcium imaging and whole-
cell recordings in the barrel cortex revealed that many neu-
rons displayed activity encoding the mouse’s choice on a
trial-by-trial basis, in addition to encoding the stimulus itself.
This choice-related activity was evident in the spiking of only
a subset of these neurons, though choice-related subthres-
hold activity was evident in the membrane potential of nearly
all whole-cell recordings. Extracellular recordings revealed
that this choice-related activity was totally absent in primary
mechanoreceptor neurons of the trigeminal ganglion,
but that transient and weak choice-related activity could
be seen in the spiking of neurons in the ventral posterome-
dial nucleus of the thalamus. However, this brief increase
in thalamic activity could not account for the robust and
prolonged choice-related activity seen in the cortex, since
mimicking this transient activity via optogenetic
stimulation of thalamus only briefly increased cortical activity.
Calcium imaging of the boutons of axonal projections from
secondary somatosensory cortex to barrel cortex revealed
that these appear to convey choice-related activity, which
likely contributes to the choice-related activity seen in barrel
Following this, Cornelius Schwarz (Universit
at T
Germany) gave a talk on active sensation in the whisker sys-
tem. He opened the talk by postulating that the haptic scan-
ning performed by whiskers or hands bears many similarities
to active sensing modalities such as echo-location or electro-
sensation, since it involves the active transfer of energy to
the environment. This type of sensing can be optimized
through strategies that control how scanning energy is trans-
formed into forces affecting the sensory organ. To study
which parameters of these forces are used by the brain, a var-
iety of tactile stimuli trains were presented to the whiskers of
rats. These stimuli were designed to mimic the slip–stick
whisker movements that occur during natural whisking.
Notably, rats could use instantaneous kinetic parameters (i.e.,
the waveform) of these stimuli in a discrimination task, in
addition to the frequency and intensity of the stimuli.
Schwarz closed the talk with a look at how brainstem anat-
omy might contribute to a closed-loop system for controlling
whisker-based active sensing.
The final speaker of the meeting was Jianing Yu (Janelia
Research Campus), who described his work on the role of
inhibition in filtering inputs from the whiskers during active
sensation. A fundamental problem for any actively sensing
system is to distinguish signals caused by self-motion (reaffer-
ence) from signals originating from the external world (exaf-
ference). Using whole-cell recordings from neurons in layer 4
of the barrel cortex of awake mice, Jianing and colleagues
observed that while (putatively excitatory) regular-spiking
neurons were not strongly driven by the reafference gener-
ated by the act of whisking, and instead responded select-
ively to exafferent signals generated when a whisker contacts
an object. In contrast, fast-spiking inhibitory interneurons fired
in response to both whisking and touch. This led to the
hypothesis that feedforward inhibition from fast-spiking neu-
rons might counteract slow excitatory inputs created by
whisking, allowing regular-spiking cells to respond only to
touch. Supporting this notion, optogenetic suppression of
fast-spiking cells unmasked whisking responses in layer 4
excitatory neurons, and this whisking-related activity reduced
the signal-to-noise ratio of touch responses.
This brought down the curtain on the 28th annual Barrels
meeting with a resolve to meet again in fall 2016 prior to the
Society for Neuroscience meeting on the campus of the
University of Southern California.
A special thanks to the organizing committee of Joshua Brumberg (Chair),
Randy Bruno, Mitra Hartmann, David Kleinfeld, Robert Sachdev, Gordon
Shepherd, Jr., Jochen Staiger, and Mary Ann Wilson. Thanks to Kathy
Diekmann for creating the abstract booklet.
Disclosure statement
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Downloaded by [City University of New York] at 08:57 28 April 2016
Appendix: Schedule
Barrels XXVIII
15–16 October 2015, Northwestern University Law School, Chicago, IL
Thursday, 15 October
8:45–9:00 Continental Breakfast, Name Tag Pickup
9:00–9:05 Welcome
Joshua C. Brumberg, The Graduate Center and Queens College,
Gordon Shepherd, Jr., Northwestern University
9:05–12:00 Circuit Breakers
9:05–9:15 Introduction/Overview: Jochen Staiger, Georg-August Universit
9:15–9:45 Bobby Kasthuri, Boston University
Towards a saturated anatomical description of the brain
9:45–10:15 Troy Margrie, University College London, UK
Cellular dissections of function and connectivity of neuronal
10:15–10:45 Joanna Urban-Ciecko, Carnegie Mellon University
Functional connectivity is regulated by SOM interneurons
spontaneous activity
10:45–11:15 Ian Wickersham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Advances in monosynaptic tracing
11:15–11:30 Coffee Break
11:30–12:00 Discussion
12:00–1:00 Short Platform Talks 1
Moderator: Hillel Adesnik, University of California, Berkeley
12:00–12:15 Chia-Chien Chen, Ju Lu, and Yi Zuo
University of California, Santa Cruz
Stress-induced abnormality of dendritic spine dynamics in the
mouse barrel cortex
12:15–12:30 Gerardo Rojas-Piloni, Jason M. Guest, Robert Egger, Andrew S. Johnson,
and Marcel Oberlaender
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, Jupiter, FL and
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, T
Deconstruction of sensory stimuli in L5 of rat barrel cortex via
parallel long-range pathways to disjoint subcortical targets
12:30–12:45 Wen-Jie Bian, Wan-Ying Miao, Shu-Ji He, Zilong Qiu, and Xiang Yu
Institute of Neuroscience, State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience,
CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science, Shanghai Institutes
for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai,
Coordinated spine pruning and maturation mediated by
inter-spine competition for cadherin/catenin complexes
12:45–1:00 Discussion
1:00–2:30 Lunch Break
2:30–5:10 Social Behavior and Communication
2:30–2:40 Moderator: Robert Froemke, New York University
2:40–3:10 Ann Clemens, Bernstein Center, Germany
Social facial touch and fast-spiking interneurons of the female
barrel cortex
3:10–3:40 Gul Dolen, Johns Hopkins University
Social reward: Basic mechanisms and autism pathogenesis
3:40–4:10 Peggy Mason, University of Chicago
Determinants of socially selective helping in rats
4:10–4:40 Adi Mizrahi, Hebrew University, Israel
Targeting natural plasticity in auditory cortex
4:40–4:50 Coffee Break
4:50–5:10 Discussion
5:10–5:30 Data Blitz
Moderator: Joshua C. Brumberg, The Graduate Center and Queens
College, CUNY
5:30–8:00 Poster Session
6:30 Dinner
Friday, 16 October
8:45–9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00–11:00 Short Platform Talks 2
Moderator: Marcel Oberlaender, Max Planck Institute for Biological
9:00–9:15 Lucie A. Huet
, Anne E. T. Yang
, Sara A. Solla
2, 3
, Todd D. Murphey
John Rudnicki
, and Mitra J. Z. Hartmann
1, 4
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Department of Physics
and Astronomy,
Department of Physiology, and
Department of
Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Kinematic and kinetic signals in the vibrissal trigeminal system
9:15–9:45 Samuel Andrew Hires
, Jonathan Sy
, Vincent Huang
, Isis Wyche
, Xiyue
, Adam Schuyler
, and David Golomb
Department of Biological Sciences, Neurobiology Section,
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA and
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Faculty of Health
Sciences, Ben-Gurion University, Be’er-Sheva, Israel
Beyond cones: An improved model of whisker bending
9:45–10:00 J. B. Schroeder, V. J. Mariano, G. I. Telian, and J. T. Ritt
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University
Closedloop optogenetic stimulation reveals primary somatosen-
sory cortex participation in whisk timing
10:00–10:15 D. Campagner
, M. Evans
, M. Bale
, A. Erskine
, and R. S. Petersen
University of Manchester,
Univesity of Sussex, and
College London
Prediction of trigeminal ganglion activity during object explor-
ation in awake mice
10:15–10:30 Discussion
10:30–11:00 Coffee Break
11:00–12:30 Short Platform Talks 3
Moderator: Solange Brown, Johns Hopkins University
11:00–11:15 Tess Oram, Ehud Ahissar, and Ofer Yizhar
Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Head-motion modulation of the activity of optogenetically
tagged neurons in the vibrissal thalamus
11:15–11:30 Clarissa J. Whitmire
, Christian Waiblinger
1, 2, 3
, Cornelius Schwarz
2, 3
and Garrett B. Stanley
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Georgia Tech and Emory, Atlanta, GA,
Neurophysiology, Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative
Neuroscience, and
Department of Cognitive Neurology, Hertie
Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of T
Information coding through adaptive control of synchronized
thalamic bursting
11:30–11:45 Scott Pluta*, Alexander Naka*, Julia Veit, Gregory Telian, Lucille Yao,
Richard Hakim, David Taylor, and Hillel Adesnik
University of California, Berkeley
A direct translaminar inhibitory circuit tunes cortical output
11:45–12:00 Guanxiao Qi
and Dirk Feldmeyer
1, 2, 3
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Research Centre J
ulich, Germany,
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and
Psychosomatics, Aachen University, Aachen, Germany, and
ulich-Aachen Research Alliance-Brain, Aachen, Germany
Inter-barrel synaptic connections involving layer 4 spiny neurons
and interneurons in rat barrel cortex
12:00–12:15 Vishalini Sivarajan
, Guanxiao Qi
, and Dirk Feldmeyer
Depaertment of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics,
Aachen University Hospital, Aachen, Germany and
Forschungszentrum, Juelich, Germany
Morphological and functional characterization of non-fast-spiking
GABAergic interneurons in layer 4 microcircuitry of rat barrel
12:15–12:30 Discussion
12:30–2:00 Lunch Break
2:00–4:30 Decision-Making
2:00–2:10 Introduction/Overview: Edward Zagha, Yale University
2:10–2:40 Mathew Diamond, SISSA, Trieste, Italy
Temporal integration in a vibrotactile delayed comparison task:
From sensory coding to decision in humans and rats
2:40–3:10 Daniel O’Connor, Johns Hopkins University
Circuit analysis of choice-related activity in mouse somatosensory
3:10–3:40 Cornelius Schwarz, Universit
at T
ubingen, Germany
What is encoded by active whisker scanning and how is it
modified by scanning parameters?
3:40–4:10 Jianing Yu, Janelia Research Campus
Thalamocortical feedforward inhibition gates tactile input during
active somatosensation
4:10–4:30 Discussion
4:30 Adjourn
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