Development, organization and plasticity of auditory circuits: Lessons from a cherished colleague.
Lohse M., Bajo VM., King AJ.
Ray Guillery was a neuroscientist known primarily for his ground-breaking studies on the development of the visual pathways and subsequently on the nature of thalamocortical processing loops. The legacy of his work, however, extends well beyond the visual system. Thanks to Ray Guillery's pioneering anatomical studies, the ferret has become a widely used animal model for investigating the development and plasticity of sensory processing. This includes our own work on the auditory system, where experiments in ferrets have revealed the role of sensory experience during development in shaping the neural circuits responsible for sound localization, as well as the capacity of the mature brain to adapt to changes in inputs resulting from hearing loss. Our research has also built on Ray Guillery's ideas about the possible functions of the massive descending projections that link sensory areas of the cerebral cortex to the thalamus and other subcortical targets, by demonstrating a role for corticothalamic feedback in the perception of complex sounds and for corticollicular projection neurons in learning to accommodate altered auditory spatial cues. Finally, his insights into the organization and functions of transthalamic corticocortical connections have inspired a raft of research, including by our own laboratory, which has attempted to identify how information flows through the thalamus.