How sensory information is encoded by neuronal population activity in the brain, and how the pattern of activity is reshaped by experience constitute the fundamental questions in neuroscience research. In the current project, ‘OdorLearningCircuit’, we will address these questions with the rodent olfactory bulb (OB) as a model system. Although the odor-evoked neuronal activity in the OB has been extensively studied, less is known about how the population activity of each cell type is spatially organized in the OB, and how the organization is modified when animals actively use odor information to optimize their behavior. In this project, we aim to tackle these important issues by a combination of cutting-edge techniques: we will deliver genetically encoded Ca2+ indicators (GECIs) specifically to major types of neurons in the OB, and use 2-photon microscopy to map the neuronal population activity from awake mice performing an odor discrimination task under head-restrained condition. We will analyze how spatio-temporal pattern of odor-evoked population activity is dynamically remodeled in awake learning mice, at single-cell resolution and with cell-type distinction. The knowledge to be gained in the project will not only be important in the field of olfactory physiology, but also provide useful implications for understanding the general mechanisms underlying learning in other neural circuits.
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