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aNeural Systems Laboratory

Boutons in Thalamus

Lab Director: Helen Barbas, PhD


Our research centers on the organization of the prefrontal cortex and its role in central executive functions in primates. The goal is to investigate prefrontal pathways that interface with both excitatory and inhibitory neurons in cortical and subcortical structures that may provide the basis for the selection of relevant information and suppression of irrelevant information in behavior. Research involves investigation of bidirectional pathways between prefrontal cortices and structures associated with sensory, cognitive, mnemonic and emotional processes in the cortex, the thalamus, and the amygdala.


Experimental approaches include the use of neural tracers to label pathways, combined with histochemical, immunocytochemical and molecular procedures to characterize the postsynaptic site of prefrontal pathways. We use quantitative approaches and imaging to reconstruct in 3D neural circuits at the level of systems and at the synaptic level, and employ multidimensional analyses to reveal patterns and principles of connections. We use circuit data to design computational models that simulate typical function and pathological conditions like schizophrenia. Click here to download our latest model SchizModel.


Here are some links to some recent papers:

General Cortical and Special Prefrontal Connections: Principles from Structure to Function


The Emotional Gatekeeper: A Computational Model of Attentional Selection and Suppression through the Pathway from the Amygdala to the Inhibitory Thalamic Reticular Nucleus


Anatomy and computational modeling of networks underlying cognitive-emotional interaction


Specificity of Primate Amygdalar Pathways to Hippocampus


Cover image: hippocampus


A Predictive Structural Model of the Primate Connectome


Cortical Connections Position Primate Area 25 as a Keystone for Interoception, Emotion, and Memory


Posterior Orbitofrontal and Anterior Cingulate Pathways to the Amygdala Target Inhibitory and Excitatory Systems with Opposite Functions


Large bouton 3D


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