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Title: Characterisation of neural activity across the mouse visual cortex during virtual navigation
Author: Diamanti, Efthymia (Mika)
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 7765
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The brain's visual and navigational systems are thought to be involved in distinct neural processes. Yet, it is known that neurons in areas involved in the formation of spatial representations, such as the hippocampus, are also influenced by visual signals. In this Thesis I asked whether a similar influence exists in the opposite direction, namely whether navigational signals influence processing in primary visual cortex (V1) and in six higher visual areas. In parallel, given that little is known about the role of higher visual areas, especially during behaviour, I will seek to characterise their functional properties and differences across conditions of increased behavioural complexity, from passive viewing of drifting gratings all the way to virtual navigation. In the first Results chapter, Chapter 3, I will demonstrate that during running through a virtual reality environment, visual responses as early as in V1 are strongly influenced by spatial position. From Chapter 4 onward, together with V1 I will also focus on 6 higher visual areas (LM, AL, RL, A, AM and PM). Specifically, I will attempt to probe activity in these areas across a wide spectrum of conditions: passive viewing of drifting gratings (Chapter 4); active engagement in virtual reality (Chapter 5) and passive viewing in virtual reality (Chapter 6). The results presented in Chapters 5 and 6 will suggest that spatial modulation is present across visual areas specifically during active behaviour. Finally, in Chapter 7 I will ask whether activity in V1, AL and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) depends on yet another navigational variable, distance run, and how is this dependence different between areas. In summary, by combining ideas and approaches from research in vision and navigation, I will seek to provide new, intriguing evidence about how neurons across the visual cortex combine visual with navigation-related signals to inform behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available