University of Hertfordshire

View graph of relations

Key findings

The main objective of the VESTICODE project was to understand how sensory signals are processed and information is stored and recalled in the vestibular cerebellum, one of the simplest systems in the mammalian brain. In order to understand information processing in the vestibular cerebellum, it is important to study the contributions that individual synapses make to sensory representations, and to investigate how information is represented by the complex spike patterns of the different neurons in the cerebellar network. The VESTICODE project has made excellent progress with respect to these objectives. We now understand the contribution of individual synapses to the encoding of vestibular stimuli, and we have discovered a new functional role for electrical synapses between cerebellar neurons. Work at the University of Hertfordshire has focussed on the downstream processing by the neurons that provide output from the cerebellum. We have developed a new model of a cerebellar nucleus neuron and found that the synapses onto this neuron translate input irregularity into output spike rate, which can explain some of the motor deficits in ataxic mice. Moreover, we have discovered a new functional role of the non-specific synaptic plasticity that occurs in cerebellar cortex, and we have studied the temporal integration of signals in the cerebellar network. Our results have led to important new insights into cerebellar function in health and disease.


ID: 8971666