Thalamus Research

Group 32
Leader: László Acsády

Why is the thalamus important? Because it provides the most important input to the cortex, which is responsible for perception, action and cognition. All cortical territories, be it sensory, motor or associational, are in reciprocal connection with the thalamus. The lesion of any thalamic territory causes symptoms similar to the lesion of the cortical area it is connected with. Thalamus and cortex form one functional unit (the thalamocortical system) not only during various fast and slow oscillations, different wake and sleep states, sensory and motor functions but also during ontogenesis and phylogenesis. When they go awry they go awry together. Almost all neurological and psychiatric diseases are accompanied by pathological thalamocortical rhythms. Thalamus and cortex work, develop and get ill together. It is impossible to understand one without the other.

Despite these facts, the scope of thalamus research has been very limited. The vast majority of research is confined to two sensory nuclei. However, the thalamus consists of a multitude of nuclei with qualitatively distinct afferent and efferent systems, different operational principles and distinct but vaguely understood roles in thalamocortical operations.

The mission of the Laboratory of Thalamus Research is to understand the origin and function of the heterogeneous thalamocortical signals in normal and diseased states. Each cortical territory is innervated by multiple thalamic nuclei. The core hypothesis is that for any cortical operation, neocortical circuits integrate a spatially and temporally heterogeneous thalamocortical message. The question is how these signals are generated in the thalamus, and how they are integrated in the cortex.

László Acsády’s group aims to understand the role of various thalamocortical activities by combined morphological and in vivo electrophysiological approaches. The technological repertoire consists of light, electron and confocal microscopy, immunocytochemistry, virus mediated gene transfer, transgenic technology, juxta- and intracellular recording and labelling, and the use of multishank, multisite silicon probes in vivo.

Excerpt from the Guidebook of the Institute 2015.

Lab members:

László AcsádyGroup Leader
Hajnalka BokorSenior Research Fellow
Nóra HádingerSenior Research Fellow
Gergely KomlósiSenior Research Fellow
Viktor PlattnerAssociated Research Fellow
Lejla Faradzs-ZadePhD Student
Lívia FarkasResearch Assistant
Emília BőszUndergraduate Student
Anna JászUndergraduate Student
András SalmaUndergraduate Student
Krisztina FaddiTechnician