Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Xiaozhou Zhang L&S Sciences

VIP-SOM Disinhibitory Circuit in V1 during Figure-Ground Perception

The perception of a stimulus is strongly influenced by the background surrounding it. In mammals, this figure-ground perception to identify stimuli from the environment is crucial for survival, such as detecting predators. My project aims to explore the neural mechanisms behind figure-ground perception, especially focusing on the role of vasointestinal peptide positive (VIP) and somatostatin (SOM) interneurons in the primary visual cortex (V1). To explore the mechanism, I will first develop a novel mice behavioral task that can accurately quantify figure-ground modulation. Then, I will use optogenetics to activate or silence VIP and SOM neurons to explore how these perturbations affect mices performance in the task. In doing so, I aim to uncover how VIP-SOM disinhibitory circuit contributes to figure-ground perception.

Message To Sponsor

It is because of donors like you that students like me can enjoy the chance of participating in the cutting-edge research at Cal, so thank you very much! I wish I can become someone like you in the future, helping younger generations explore their intellectual curiosity as well.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology (Neurobiology)
Mentor: Hillel Adesnik
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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