Columbia University in the City of New York

Feb 25, 20204:00 pm

The Thalamus That Speaks to the Cortex: Spontaneous Activity in the Developing Brain

Guillermina López-Bendito, PhD, Group Leader - Investigador Científico CSIC, Instituto de Neurociencias, Spain

February 25th, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)

This seminar will be held in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on Columbia's Manhattanville campus (9th floor lecture hall). Columbia University's Intercampus Shuttle Service is the best way to travel between campuses. For those unable to attend in person, this seminar will be livestreamed.

Our research team runs several related projects studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of axonal connections in the brain. In particular, our aim is to uncover the principles underlying thalamocortical axonal wiring, maintenance and ultimately the rewiring of connections, through an integrated and innovative experimental programme. The development of the thalamocortical wiring requires a precise topographical sorting of its connections. Each thalamic nucleus receives specific sensory information from the environment and projects topographically to its corresponding cortical. A second level of organization is achieved within each area, where thalamocortical connections display an intra-areal topographical organization, allowing the generation of accurate spatial representations within each cortical area. Therefore, the level of organization and specificity of the thalamocortical projections is much more complex than other projection systems in the CNS. The central hypothesis of our laboratory is that thalamocortical wiring influences and maintains the functional architecture of the brain. We also believe that rewiring and plasticity events can be triggered by activity-dependent mechanisms in the thalamus. Here in this talk, I will present our recent data on the activity-dependent mechanisms involved in thalamocortical guidance and cortical development. I will also present data on the role of this activity in the thalamus in promoting neuroplastic cortical changes following sensory deprivation. Within these projects we are using several experimental programmes, these include: optical imaging, manipulation of gene expression in vivo, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, cell culture, sensory deprivation paradigms and electrophysiology.

Those who wish to meet the speaker during their visit should contact Eduardo Leyva Diaz (Hobert lab). For general inquiries please contact

All entrances to the Jerome L. Greene Science Center are accessible. The south and west entrances can be accessed without stairs, while a lift is available from the east entrance. Assistive listening devices are available upon request.

The Columbia Neuroscience Seminar series is a collaborative effort of Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, the Department of Neuroscience, the Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and the Columbia Translational Neuroscience Initiative, and with support from the Kavli Institute for Brain Science.

Venue: the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)
3227 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

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