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Development of visual cortex in the ferret

Research Achievements

Development of visual cortex in the ferret

Corey Flynn, a Biological Sciences student at Carnegie Mellon, uses intrinsic signal optical imaging to study the development of visual cortex in the ferret. He received IGERT funding to investigate computational techniques for geometric quantification of maps of orientation preference in cortical area V1. In a typical experiment, the activity of neurons throughout V1 is determined by measuring the reflection of red (700 nm) light from the cortical surface. As animals are exposed to lines at different orientations, V1 neurons turned to specific orientations will modulate their reponses accordingly, giving rise to an orientation preference map of the cortex.

Flynn found that tbere is significant variance in these maps, and the variance is not uniform. Variance appears to be highest in areas of the map coding for oblique orientations, and is also positively correlated with response magnitude. This novel phenomenon is of potential importance to a wide variety of neuroscientists.