Neuroscience Graduate Program at UCSF
Information Processing in Cortical Microcircuits: Optogenetic Tools and Implications for Psychiatric Disease
We study circuits in the prefrontal cortex in order to understand (1) how the properties of individual prefrontal neurons, their inputs, and their interconnections give rise to emergent patterns of circuit activity, and (2) how these patterns of activity contribute to both normal cognition and the pathological behaviors associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. We believe that by understanding the process through which patterns of prefrontal circuit activity are generated, we can better understand the computations these circuits perform, and obtain a “map” of circuit function that will make it possible to identify ways of correcting circuit dysfunction in disease states. We carry out studies at multiple levels ranging from brain slices to freely behaving animals, and using a combination of techniques including optogenetics, computational modeling, whole cell recording, calcium imaging, EEG and LFP recording, and sophisticated behavioral assays. We are also part of the DARPA SUBNETS project, and in collaboration with our partner laboratories, we are working to (1) identify large scale patterns of activity in the human brain associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety and (2) design new forms of responsive brain stimulation that treat these conditions.
- How are different classes of neurons in the prefrontal cortex "wired up?"
- How do neuromodulators such as dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine modulate prefronal circuit function and thereby regulate behavior?
- What are the roles of various subtypes of GABAergic neurons, and of synchronized neural oscillations in circuit function?
- How are prefrontal circuits altered in diseases such as schizophrenia and autism?
B.S., Stanford University
M.D. / Ph.D., U. of Colorado
B.S., Duke University
B.S., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., U. of Copenhagen
M.D., Ph.D., U.C. San Diego
B.S., Brandeis University
B.S., Cornell University
Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley
Ph.D., Méditerranean University – INMED
- Gamma rhythms link prefrontal interneuron dysfunction with cognitive inflexibility in Dlx5/6+/- mice. Cho KKA, Hoch R, Lee AT, Patel T, Rubenstein JL, and Sohal VS. Neuron, 2015.
- A class of GABAergic neurons in the prefrontal cortex sends long-range projections to the nucleus accumbens and elicits acute avoidance behavior. Lee AT, Vogt D, Rubenstein JR, and Sohal VS. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014.
- Optogenetic approaches for investigating neural pathways implicated in schizophrenia and related disorders. Cho KKA and Sohal VS . Human Molecular Genetics, 2014.
- Pyramidal neurons in prefrontal cortex receive subtype-specific forms of excitation and inhibition. Lee AT, Gee SM, Vogt D, Rubenstein JL, and Sohal VS. Neuron, 2014.
- Synaptic activity unmasks dopamine D2 receptor modulation of a specific class of layer V pyramidal neurons in prefrontal cortex. Gee S, Ellwood I, Patel T, Luongo F, Deisseroth K, and Sohal VS. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012.
- Insights into cortical oscillations arising from optogenetic studies. Sohal VS. Biological Psychiatry, 2012.
- Parvalbumin neurons and gamma rhythms enhance cortical microcircuit performance. Sohal VS, Zhang F, Yizhar O, and Deisseroth KD. Nature, 2009.
Vikaas Sohal, M.D./Ph.D.
UCSF Mision Bay, Box 0444
675 Nelson Rising Lane, room 415C
San Francisco, CA 94158