The Smith Lab uses advanced optical imaging techniques in the developing visual cortex to investigate how large populations of neurons form the networks required to process visual information. Ongoing projects include:
- Distributed Functional Networks in Early Development: Ongoing work has shown that large-scale distributed functional networks spanning millimeters exist in visual cortex well before they can be visually driven. The researchers are working to determine the circuit mechanisms that give rise to these early networks and guide their refinement during development.
- Intracortical Inhibition and Network Formation: Network function critically depends on the structure and organization of inhibition within the network, but little is known about the organization of inhibition in developing cortical networks. Using novel viral tools, the group is measuring and manipulating inhibitory neurons in the early cortex.
- How Does Early SA Sculpt Future Perception? Correlated activity in early development is a critical driver of circuit formation and future perceptual processing. The researchers are using cutting-edge optical approaches to explore the causal role of early patterned network activity in visual processing, and determine whether abnormal spontaneous activity is a common theme linking neurodevelopmental disorders.