Author Date

2022-6

Degree Name

BS

Department

Neuroscience

College

Life Sciences

Defense Date

2022-6

Publication Date

2022-6

First Faculty Advisor

Arminda Suli

First Faculty Reader

MIke Brown

Honors Coordinator

Rebekka Matheson

Keywords

zebrafish, optic tectum, auditory, vestibular, inner ear, microcircuitry, trpv1, capsaicin, piezoelectric actuator

Abstract

Cellular mapping of the sensory receptive fields of brain structures is a critical step in understanding function and dysfunction in development. Deficits in the ability to receive, process and integrate the senses leads to difficulties recognizing and responding appropriately to stimuli. To understand how the senses are integrated, it is first necessary to map the neurons receptive to inputs from individual senses. The optic tectum of zebrafish is a structure known for its homology to the superior colliculus of mammals and is a center of multisensory integration – including visual, auditory, and somatosensory stimuli. However, the microcircuitry of this important structure has not been determined, particularly in regard to the auditory and vestibular senses. We stimulated the ear of larval zebrafish, developed sensory-pad-specific activation techniques, and mapped the responding neurons in the optic tectum to stimuli from the Posterior Cristae. Identifying these unique neurons opens the door to future research of morphological and molecular characterization of these neurons, which will help elucidate the mechanism of sensory integration with implication in cognitive developmental disorders.

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