Dr. Michael Okun
Department of Neuroscience
University of Leicester
Cortex plays a key role in sensorimotor and higher cognitive processes. Even in species like the mouse, where cortical involvement is less profound than in primates, the cortex still comprises 30% of the total volume of the brain. Understanding information processing in the cortex is therefore of central importance for the entire neuroscience endeavour. One approach towards this goal is to link cortical spiking activity to external variables of interest, such as sensory inputs, motor outputs or decision making behaviours (a classic example of an outcome of this approach is the extensive knowledge we now have about processing of visual inputs). However, most cortical activity is internally generated and persists even in the absence of any external influences. Furthermore, because the entire cortical sheet is comprised of different modifications of the same canonical microcircuit (the cortical column), the internally generated dynamics in different parts of the cortex is similar.
Marius Pachitariu, Nicholas Steinmetz, Michael Okun, Peter Bartho, Kenneth Harris, et al., (2016). Inhibitory control of correlated intrinsic variability in cortical networks. 5: e19695.