Research objectives and content
The rationale of the project arises from the paradoxical effect observed during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in regard to sensory information processing. In REM there is a total lack of perceptual awareness in relation to sensory stimulation despite the fact that thalamocortical system is similarly activated during Waking (W) and REM. Since early components of Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SEPs) are present but late components are abolished in REM, it appears that in this state sensory information does not reach the cortex so that there is not neural substrate for perceptual awareness. In order to understand at which level in the brain sensor) processing is affected during REM we intend to test the operative modes of the thalamocortical system by presenting multimodal sensory stimulation across different behavioral states.
FMRI techniques will be used to delineate the functional anatomy and connectivity that reflects different sensory information processing operating during W, Slow wave Sleep and REM.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The two years period would include theoretical and practical training in functional Magnetic Resonance and functional data analysis. This acquired knowledge would allow the applicant to combine the potential of functional imaging with her previous research experience in sleep physiology and polygraphic recording techniques.