Design and Preparation for Awake Multisensory Integration Recordings




Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care

Project Summary

The goal of these ten weeks was to help with our graduate student on her project regarding multisensory integration of the mouse brain while under anesthesia. In general, while anesthetics are constantly being used, very little is actually known about how they affect the body and the brain’s ability to function. Previously, scientists thought that the brain completely shut down when under anesthesia and did not process stimuli that it would otherwise process while awake. However, scientists Hubel and Weisel proved this idea wrong when they tested anesthetized cats and realized that the cats still had brain activity that correlated with the different stimuli shown. In that case, the brain is still processing information and the previous notion that the brain “shuts down” is no longer true. Our project attempts to understand a little more of how the brain works while anesthetized by giving mice two different sensory stimuli and analyzing how the brain waves interact. Our role in the project is to help design the stimuli to show the mice and also to design brackets. While a lot of our focus is on the mouse when it is anesthetized, it is important to see how the mouse responds to the stimuli while awake. The bracket designs thus need to be sturdy enough the prevent the mouse from escaping while awake. While working on this project, I learned a lot of skills I never thought I would. For instance, I had no idea I would learn how to code in MATLAB and work with PsychToolBox to create stimuli. I also did not expect to do mice surgeries and set up for recordings for actual data analyzation. By the end of these ten weeks, I was confident in these skills which was very rewarding. I also was able to meet some amazing mentors who really helped to inspire me to learn more about anesthesiology and neuroscience and also guide me in my life on other aspects. For example, I was very uncertain about my career path before joining the lab. However, after these ten weeks, after having PIs and a grad student mentor who were all MD/PhDs, I was really able to narrow down my academic interests and meet people who have experience in the fields. Overall, while a very short period of time, these ten weeks were truly some of the most informative weeks in my life and I am so much more knowledgeable and confident in myself because of them.