Giulio MatteucciInvited by Olivier Marre, Giulio Matteucci, postdoctoral fellow (University of Geneva, Switzerland)will give a talk on Wednesday, April 3rd at 11.30 AM (Salle Schiff, 15-20 Hospital, 3rd floor)

This talk will be dealing with "Investigation of cortical circuits combining vision and touch".

The integration of information across different sensory modalities is crucial for adaptive behavior, enhancing the robustness of our perception and the flexibility of our decision-making. This talk will explore the interaction of visual and whisker representations in the mouse cortex and their role in cross-modal transfer learning. Mice trained to discriminate between two different whisker sensations can seamlessly generalize the discrimination to two visual cues, provided that the reward contingencies are kept spatially congruent across modalities. Using multi-scale calcium imaging over the dorsal cortex, we identified two distinct visuo-tactile associative domains within the mouse ventral and dorsal streams as putative substrates of this behavior. There, we observed both functional and anatomical spatial congruency of the topographic representations of visual and tactile space. Perturbing activity in the dorsal stream demonstrated the specific necessity of this cortical pathway for the cross-modal transfer generalization. Substituting the visual stimulus with direct optogenetic stimulation of the same dorsal region enabled tactilely trained mice to rapidly generalize to the new optogenetic task, demonstrating the sufficiency of the dorsal region for cross-modal transfer. I will conclude my talk by discussing future research directions aimed at understanding the mechanisms through which this associative region implements multisensory perceptual inference.

"Since my undergraduate days, I've been deeply fascinated by the quest to understand how those complex physical systems we call "brains" give rise to intelligent behavior. After graduating in physics in Turin, this passion led me to earn my PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in Trieste, with Davide Zoccolan, studying the rat visual cortex. Next, for my postdoc, I joined Sami El-Boustani, in Geneva, to study perceptual decision-making, its modulation by allostatic motivation, and visuotactile perception. On this page, you'll get a glimpse into my academic journey, my key research findings, and the interdisciplinary approach I advocate. My long-term goal? To bridge the gap between biological and artificial intelligence, weaving together rodent behavior, neurophysiology, and computational modeling with machine learning to understand sensory processing and decision-making and learning."