The thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) of the brain has a strategic location between the thalamus and the cortex, which is ideal for regulation of corticothalamic communication. The TRN controls processes relating to attention and the generation of sleep spindles. Deficits in TRN function are linked to psychiatric diseases. The functional organization of the TRN neuronal population is not fully understood. Intrinsic factors such as neuronal firing patterns and bursting will be used to characterize the neurons in the TRN. Creating a topographical and functional map of the TRN will provide a clearer understanding of its composition. We hypothesize that the thalamic reticular neurons are heterogeneous. Electrophysiological and immunohistochemical assays will be conducted on mice brain slices to analyze the electrophysiological and morphological properties of TRN neurons and test our hypothesis of heterogeneity in the TRN. A characterization of the thalamic reticular neurons will provide a roadmap allowing for further investigation into possible therapeutics for psychiatric diseases affecting the TRN.
PROJECT: Characterization of the electrophysiological properties of the neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus
This summer at the Broad opened my eyes to the true meaning of becoming a research scientist, allowed me to participate in cutting-edge research, and exposed me to scientists who are passionate and dedicated to their work. Participating in SRPG has helped me to decide on a career path that I plan to pursue in the years to come, as well as form priceless friendships.