NEURO YES a Neuroscience Diversity Commission program that elevates and highlights research of early career investigators while creating a network of scientists committed to conducting research that will increase our understanding of the brain, mind, and body. NEURO YES welcomes the first speaker of the 2023/2024 cohort Danique Jeurissen, PhD, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University. Her talk is titles The Neural Basis of Cognitive Flexibility in Primates.

 

Abstract: One of the challenges in systems neuroscience is to understand how neurons in one area can specifically communicate information to a subset of neurons in another area. I approach this challenge in two ways. How do different sources of sensory information (e.g., motion/color) flow to areas involved in decision-making? Both humans and monkeys perform a double-decision task, in which they decide on the direction of motion and dominant color of a patch of moving dots. Behavioral results show that multiple decisions are made in a serial way, I.e., we can only make one decision at a time. Neural recordings in parietal cortex of monkeys show that neurons switch back and forth between the two decision processes. Overall, these results show that the network involved in making the decision can only process one stream of sensory input at a time. How can the flow of information between areas change in response to a focal lesion? Monkeys report a choice while we manipulate neural activity in cortical regions using optogenetics, chemogenetics, or pharmacology. After an initial bias, their behavior recovers on multiple timescales. Overall, these results suggest that the network involved in making decisions can re-route information to other regions when needed.

 

NEURO YES is hosted by the Neuroscience Diversity Commission, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience. We are committed to building an inclusive and equitable culture by uplifting underrepresented early career scientists who will help transform the future of science. 

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