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Sensory stimuli processing in the mammalian brain

Trainee Achievements

Sensory stimuli processing in the mammalian brain

Sonya Polson is a neuroscience student at the University of Pittsburgh who is studying with Professor Nathan Urban at Carnegie Mellon. Her research involves patch clamp recording in slices of mouse olfactory bulb to try to understand how sensory stimuli are transformed and processed by the mammalian brain. Polson received IGERT funding to pursue an interest in computational modeling that complements her experimental work.

Somewhat unusually, Polson applied for IGERT funding in the first year of her graduate studies. The early award of an IGERT fellowship has allowed her to conduct experimental and modeling work simultaneously and investigate a hypothesis about neural coding of olfactory information. Her preliminary modeling results indicate that lateral inhibition among mitral cells in the olfactory bulb can simultaneously separate their firing rates while increasing their spike-time correlation. Her model is in agrement with previous experimental observations made by others.