Institute of Biomedical Engineering, AZ-19, Boğaziçi University Kandilli Campus, Istanbul
About the Seminar: Sense of touch is mediated by 4 different type of mechanoreceptors in the glabrous skin. Tactile information from these receptors is conveyed by afferent pathways through the spinal cord, the medulla and the thalamus into the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). Information processing primarily occurs in S1. In the literature, there are numerous studies about the peripheral sensory mechanisms involved in transducing the tactile stimuli. However, the neural mechanisms involved in processing of tactile sensation in S1 are not well understood. Sensation of a mechanical stimulus depends on the interactions of excitatory and inhibitory synapses in the cortex. In order to understand these interactions at the cortical level, we study the response properties of single neurons in response to external vibrotactile stimuli during microinjection of drugs in the rat S1 cortex. In this seminar, I will present the studies conducted in Tactile Research Laboratory (Boğaziçi University, Institute of Biomedical Engineering) about the effects of bicuculline, GABAA antagonist, and NMDA, glutamate receptor agonist, on response properties of cortical neurons in rat S1 cortex. I will briefly explain the experimental method and present the results. The experimental data obtained from this study can be used for computational model of local networks in S1. This study has also provided a groundwork for future studies related to tactile information processing in the cortex. Currently, we are working on the effect of attention on tactile perception. About the Speaker: Bige Vardar is currently a PhD candidate at Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Boğaziçi University studying on attentional modulation of tactile neurons in Tactile Research Laboratory. She obtained her bachelor’s degree at ITU and Montana State University in Bioengineering and her Master’s degree at University of Copenhagen in Pharmaceutical Science. During her master thesis, she studied the effects of GHB, naturally-occurring inhibitory neurotransmitter, across arousal-related nuclei using calcium-imaging technique.