SPEAKER: Dr. Letizia Allegra Mascaro
Institute of Neuroscience, Pisa and LENS, Firenze
TITLE: “In vivo imaging of rehabilitation-induced cortical plasticity after stroke”
Abstract: Neuro-rehabilitation is one of the most effective treatment for recovering motor deficits in stroke patients. Nevertheless, the neural basis of recovery associated with rehabilitative intervention is debated. We are interested in studying the multiple facets of cortical remodeling induced by combined physical and pharmacological rehabilitative treatment. By longitudinal wide-field fluorescence imaging of cortical activity while training, we address the recovery of motor representation in the peri-infarct area. Coupling of the spared cortex to the injured hemisphere is investigated by an all-optical approach that combines calcium imaging and optogenetic neuronal activation. In addition, by using two-photon microscopy both in vivo and ex vivo on cleared cortices, we analyze how vascular remodeling accompanies synaptic plasticity. In this seminar I will show how, by combining optical tools of visualization and manipulation of neuronal activity, the impact of rehabilitation on cortical plasticity can be dissected at multiple scales.