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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:

The inevitable inequality of cortical columns


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


The cortical spectrum: A robust structural continuum in primate cerebral cortex revealed by histological staining and magnetic resonance imaging


Pathways for Memory, Cognition and Emotional Context: Hippocampal, Subgenual Area 25, and Amygdalar Axons Show Unique Interactions in the Primate Thalamic Reuniens Nucleus


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


Large bouton 3D


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