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Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series – Sarah Pallas
August 14 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
August 14, 2019, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tobin Hall Room 423
“Self-repair in developing visual pathways”
Non-mammalian vertebrates have the capacity to repair CNS pathways even as adults, whereas this capacity is lost shortly after birth in mammals. For adult humans, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can at best be partially compensated for by spared pathways taking over some of the lost function. Understanding how neonatal mammals can accomplish self-repair is necessary in order to develop strategies for promoting repair in adults. We use the topographic projection between the retina and the brain to investigate repair mechanisms. Neonatal damage to superior colliculus results in a compression of this topographic map onto the intact fragment, increasing afferent/target ratios. Despite the increased convergence, however, receptive field properties are largely conserved at the single neuron levels. This remarkable compensatory plasticity results from a redistribution of axon guidance factors, axon pruning, and inhibitory plasticity.