2 years ago we shut down the lab at UMD for COVID. Over the next year we packed up the lab and moved it to our new home at JHU. A lot of trips carrying stuff in our own cars, during COVID restrictions. Then came rebuilding of old setups and building of new setups with all the supply chain issues. This month marks the moment when the first papers and posters entirely generated in our new lab are being submitted. A momentous occasion that would have been impossible without the teamwork of the fantastic group of people that form the lab and that I have the privilege working with. Congratulations and thanks to: Binghan, Chih-Ting, Didhiti, Georgia, Ji, Jonah, Kate, Kelson, Lillian, Minzi, Travis.
How is information about sound and behavioral choice integrated and processed in auditory cortex to lead to a behavior? Fantastic close collaboration with Babadi and Panzeri lab by Nik, Shoutik, and Loren shows that there are neurons encoding both sound and task information and that there is a sequential transmission of task-televant Information in A1. Read it here in Cell Reports.
Listen to your Mom! A recent review on the influence of early sound experience on auditory cortex circuits. Read it here in Acoustics Today.
We are discussing early brain activity which is both the cause and the consequence of developmental abnormalities and which can be used clinically as a readout of developmental abnormality. Read our review here in Progress in Neurobiology
Great collaboration with Keller lab at UMB. Binghan shows that perinatal opioid exposure has long lasting consequences for auditory cortex circuits and sound processing. Read it here in J Neuroscience.
We spend a lot of time deep in the cortex. Binghan and Ying decided to look at the top of the cortex and show that in early development there are transient connections to Layer 1 cells from infragranular and subplate layers & that this connectivity depends on peripheral activity. Read more in Journal of Neuroscience here.
Otoferlin deficiency leads to impaired cochlear synaptic transmission and is associated with progressive hearing loss in adults. Didhiti and Ying wondered if loss of Otoferlin also had effects on cortical development. They found that spontaneous and sound-driven cortical activity in the first two postnatal weeks was impaired in Otoferlin knockout mice. Moreover, they found that in these mice subplate neurons received exuberant connections from within the cortex. Thus, otoferlin deficiency has a powerful influence on cortical connections and spontaneous activity in early development even before complete deafness. Therefore, peripheral activity has the potential to sculpt cortical structures from the earliest ages, even before hearing impairment is diagnosed. Read the full paper here in Cerebral Cortex.
Kelson and Jonah explored what happens to sound processing as we age.
Read their cool results here: K. Shilling-Scrivo, J. Mittelstedt, P. O. Kanold , “Altered response dynamics and increased population correlation to tonal stimuli embedded in noise in aging auditory cortex”, J. Neuroscience 2021 (early release)
We knew that subplate neurons are the first cortical neurons to respond to sound. Ying and Didhiti now show in mice that altering peripheral activity can change subplate circuits in auditory cortex even before the ear canals open and before thalamus activates layer 4. Thus sensory experience can shape subplate circuits before the “traditional/classic” critical period. Read it here in Science Advances.