Lunch @UCSF with Vikaas Sohal – Schizophrenia: of mice and men

Lunch @UCSF with Vikaas Sohal – Schizophrenia: of mice and men

Lunch @UCSF with Vikaas Sohal – Schizophrenia: of mice and men


Vikaas Sohal studies circuits in the brain’s prefrontal cortex to understand how the properties of individual prefrontal neurons, their inputs and their interconnections give rise to emergent patterns of circuit activity, and how these patterns of activity contribute to both normal cognition and the pathological behaviors associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

Among his many research projects, Sohal has studied an intriguing mouse strain that carries only one copy of two genes known as Dlx5 and Dlx6, which govern the proper assembly of certain circuitry as the brain develops. An intriguing characteristic of these mice is that their behavior becomes abnormal at a developmental stage corresponding to human post-adolescence, which is when symptoms of schizophrenia usually begin to emerge.

When these mice performed a “rule-shift” task—designed to emulate important features of the Wisconsin Card-Sorting Test, which is used to assess cognitive function in humans—at a young age, their performance was indistinguishable from that of normal mice. But the mice showed significant deficits when they performed the task as young adults, and when the researchers restored a brain-wave pattern known as gamma waves, the mice were again able to perform the task normally.

Join Sohal to learn how his lab is using tools ranging from brain slices to freely behaving animals, and a combination of techniques including optogenetics, computational modeling, whole cell recording, calcium imaging, EEG recording and sophisticated behavioral assays to explore the brain bases of mental illness.


Registration is required.