A/Professor Sonja Hofer
Group Leader, Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour
London, UK

Title: "Making sense of what you see: cortical and thalamic circuits for vision"


The classical model of sensory information processing is based on a hierarchical organization of feed-forward connections from one brain region to the next. However, perception is not only dependent on the sensory feed-forward input but also on the context in which a given stimulus occurs, such as an animal’s behavioural state, its knowledge, expectations and actions. Such contextual, top-down information can strongly modulate sensory responses and influence how sensory information is interpreted and perceived. My lab studies the circuits supporting sensory information processing, how different signals are integrated by these circuits and the mechanisms by which context and behavioural relevance influence visual processing and visually-guided behaviour.
My talk will cover our recent findings on the principles of circuit organization that underlie visual processing in the neocortex as well as how visual cortex responses and interactions between excitatory and inhibitory cell types change during learning as sensory stimuli acquire behavioural relevance. Further, while sensory perception is thought to mainly rely on cortical circuits, higher-order sensory nuclei in the thalamus interconnect extensively with all sensory cortical and many subcortical areas. In the second part of my talk, I will present our efforts to understand the role of higher-order thalamocortical interactions during sensory processing, with a focus on what information these pathways convey to different cortical areas and whether they link sensory with internal, contextual signals. 


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018