Research into neuroplasticity has expanded rapidly over the past ten years and it has revealed the remarkable capacity of environmental inputs to shape both the juvenile and adult brain. Behavioural, electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies in deaf and blind humans have provided convincing evidence that alteration of cortical organization is correlated with enhanced capabilities of the spared modalities. What is the identity of the brain systems that are modified and what are the mechanisms that mediate such changes are major unresolved issues in our understanding of brain plasticity. RECORTHA aims to address this challenge and identify the mechanisms underlying the rewiring of brain connections with a particular focus on the thalamocortical system. We will adopt innovative multidisciplinary approaches (from gene to behaviour) to understand how thalamocortical wiring influences, maintains and ultimately shape the functional architecture of the cortex. Taking advantage of mouse genetics, we will generate new models of cross modal plasticity in which we can directly test the capacity of thalamocortical inputs to restore sensory information. Furthermore, we will determine to what extent this rewiring is triggered by activity dependent mechanisms in the thalamus. These findings will contribute to our understating of how reprogramming of cortical wiring takes place following brain damage that will be essential for efficient functional restoration in sensory disabilities.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call