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Caltech

Wiersma Visiting Professor Lecture: Dr. Kathleen Rockland

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Axons and Brain Architecture
Dr. Kathleen Rockland, Research Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine,

Please join us on Tuesday, May 21 at 4:00PM for the Wiersma Visiting Professor Lecture* in Chen 100.

The talk will be followed by a Chen Social in the breezeway of the Chen Neuroscience Research Building.

Speaker: Dr. Kathleen Rockland

Title: Axons and Brain Architecture

Abstract: Long-distance axons, although a basic component of interneuronal communication, are still relatively under-investigated, especially in the primate brain. Single axon analysis, however, provides important quantitative data on the number and size of terminal arbors, synaptic number and potential dendritic distribution, multi-laminar termination patterns, and spatial divergence. In this talk, I will discuss anatomical parameters and functional implications, focusing on the connections between primary visual cortex and extrastriate area MT/V5 in the macaque, but including comparisons with corticopulvinar and other connections. Anatomical features will be considered with respect to aspects of network organization, such as shortest pathway, synaptic weights, reciprocity, recurrence (aka "feedback"), and hierarchy. A general observation is the conspicuous heterogeneity of arbor shape and size both across populations and within a single axon. Open questions, such as axon rings and other subcellular features, will be briefly referenced.

Suggested reading

Rockland, K.S. (2020) What we can learn from the complex architecture of single axons. Brain Structure Function 225: 327–1347. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-019-02023-3


*The lecture and visiting professorship are named for Cornelius Wiersma who came to the Biology Department at Caltech in 1934, representing the field of neurophysiology, a precursor to the field of neurobiology. His scientific career focused first on the neuromuscular system, then on the central nervous system, and finally on the visual system.

For more information, please contact Chen Institute by email at [email protected].