Professor, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology
University of Louisville
The Bickford lab studies synaptic circuits involved in transmitting visual signals and initiating appropriate motor responses to visual stimuli. We are particularly interested in pathways that involve the pulvinar nucleus (a large region of the human dorsal thalamus), or its rodent homologue, the lateral posterior nucleus (LPN). Since virtually all neocortical sensory signals originate from cells in the dorsal thalamus, it is viewed as the major site for regulating attention to specific sensory stimuli, a function accomplished through the selective damping or amplification of thalamocortical signals. The pulvinar and LPN are of particular interest in the study of attention mechanisms because they appear to be involved both in mechanisms that enhance salient visual signals, and those that direct movements to attend to such stimuli.