Auditory seminar: Dr. Aaron Wong, 5 October 2023

Hearing more than sound: Understanding multisensory integration in the inferior colliculus
Dr. Aaron Wong
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam

Abstract: Sensory stimuli do not occur in isolation. Our brain constantly analyzes the information from different sensory modalities (e.g., hearing, vision, touch) and combines them to give us a complete picture of the environment. While multisensory integration is traditionally attributed to higher order regions in the cerebral cortex, subcortical structures such as the inferior colliculus in the auditory system have both the circuitry and information required to perform this function. I recently demonstrated that neurons in the shell region of the IC (sIC) are modulated by motion, and can potentially integrate incoming non-auditory information. However, it is still largely unknown what non-auditory information is passed onto the sIC, or how its local circuitry integrates this information with ascending auditory information. Using advanced in vivo microscopy in awake mice, I have recently revealed the tonotopic organization of this region. In a separate study, I have utilized large scale single unit recordings in the IC and a novel behavioral paradigm to understand how neuronal activity relates to behavioral detection of amplitude-modulated sound. I aim to capitalize on these technical advances, and combine them with novel viral tracing and optogenetic techniques to answer how the inferior colliculus performs multisensory integration. Focusing on the somatosensory input in the IC, I will attempt to answer these three key questions: 1) Anatomy: How are somatosensory inputs connected to and within the IC? 2) Physiology: What information do these somatosensory inputs carry? 3) Behavior: How do somatosensory inputs change the perception of sound by the animal? Answer to each of these key questions will provide insight into multisensory integration by the inferior colliculus, and ultimately, that auditory perception is much more than just hearing sound already at the often overlooked subcortical level.

Date: Thursday 5 October 2023
Time: 14:00-15:00
Location: Rode Zaal, UMCG

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