BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
scientific purpose of this project supplement is to accelerate the pace of discovery of the underlying mechanisms for intracellular calcium?s triggering of plasticity of synaptic connections between nerve cells within the visual cortex. The economic purpose of this project supplement is to provide additional employment opportunities for highly skilled research neuroscientists and for software engineers and sales/support personnel.
This project will enhance the pace of discovery and improve accomplishing the specific aims of an existing R01 that has as its overall goal, the understanding of the differential long term plasticity responses of individual neurons in visual cortex to an identical conditioning protocol, particularly for synaptic outputs of layer 4 in primary visual cortex. The project calls for supporting several researchers who are already highly trained in the technically demanding procedures including dual recording from synaptically coupled pairs and multi-photon imaging to visualize changes in calcium and downstream signaling molecules that trigger this plasticity. Moreover, it will allow for powerful new fluorescent signaling detection and analysis hardware and software to increase the sensitivity, spatial-temporal analysis and localization of fluorescence signals during synaptic plasticity induction to test hypotheses regarding the differential regulation of plasticity outcome in neighboring like-type cortical neurons, specifically which calcium sources trigger the plasticity and whether the differences are due to intrinsic differences between cells or visual experience. This work, while on normal cortex, is important for understanding the local cellular microcircuit underpinnings of amblyopia as it will provide an improved understanding of the cellular mechanisms of regulation of synaptic strength within the main input layer of visual cortex. The project will not only facilitate the pace of discovery and accomplishment of the original specific aims but will also contribute to the employment of scientists, support personnel and engineers, sales and marketing professionals in imaging hardware and software development and sales, supporting the goals of the ARRA