Modelling species differences in visual system cortical maps (PhD)

When our brain is developing, connections between brain cells form circuits which process sensory information from the world around us. Sensory information from the eye is first processed in a part of the brain called the “primary visual cortex”. It has been shown that circuits in primary visual cortex produce “maps” of the features in the visual world. For example, objects sitting beside each other in a room will activate regions of cells beside each other in the cortex. Similar maps have also been found in the rest of the brain, for example there is a “body map” in the part of our brain which processes sensory information from touch. The formation of maps may therefore be a central part of how the brain processes information. Interestingly, different animal species can have different maps or even no maps at all. My research aims to use the information available from different species to build computational models of the primary visual cortex. These models can then be used to test the current theories of map development and provide predictions for experimental neuroscientists.

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Related Publications and Presentations

  • Judith S. Law, and James A. Bednar, “Surround modulation by long-range lateral connections in an orientation map model of primary visual cortex development and function”, Society for Neuroscience (SfN), 2006.
  • Judith S. Law, and James A. Bednar, “Reconciling models of surround modulation and V1 feature map development”, Computational Neuroscience (CNS), Toronto, 2007.
  • Judith S. Law, and James A. Bednar, “Modelling the Development of Orientation Maps in V1 (Extra-classical effects and species differences)”, Scottish Vision Group (SVG), Aberdeen, 2006.
  • Judith S. Law, and James A. Bednar, “Homeostatic Plasticity in a Model of V1 Orientation Map Development.”, Society for Neuroscience (SfN), 2007.

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