Top-down attention and global ignition: circuit dissection in mice



Time: 14:00-15:30 on Tue.,Dec.26, 2023

Venue:E109,Biomedicine Hall

Speaker: Dr. Yang Dan

Host: Dr.Yi Zhong、Dr.Kun Li

Title: Top-down attention and global ignition: circuit dissection in mice



Visual spatial attention allows an animal to select inputs at specific locations to guide behavior while ignoring stimuli in other regions of the visual field. Neurons in visual cortical areas show enhanced responses to the attended stimuli, and previous studies in primates have identified several key brain areas important for spatial attention. However, many questions remain regarding the origin of the attention signals and how they lead to enhanced visual cortical responses, partly due to the difficulty of dissecting neural circuits in primates. Mice provide a powerful animal model for understanding the circuit basis of behavior, given the plethora of genetic and viral tools available for circuit dissection. We have developed a visual attention behavior for head-fixed mice. Combining multielectrode recording, optogenetic activation and inactivation, and virus-mediate circuit tracing, we have begun to dissect the network involving the prefrontal cortex, superior colliculus, and pulvinar thalamus for controlling visual spatial attention. In a recent study, we have also examined the circuit basis of global ignition, a process that may be linked to conscious perception. We show that both neuromodulators such as ACh and cortical interneurons play important roles in gating ignition.



Yang Dan is Pivotal Life Sciences Chancellor’s Chair Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and an HHMI investigator at UC Berkeley. She was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2018. She studied physics as an undergraduate student at Peking University and received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She did her postdoctoral research on vision at Rockefeller University and Harvard Medical School. Her recent interest is to understand how and why we sleep and neural mechanisms underlying cognitive control. In recognition of her groundbreaking discovery of the mechanisms controlling sleep-wake states, she was awarded the 2023 Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience.