- Bajo Lorenzana Group Research Group
Layer V neuron in the motor cortex expressing the outward proton pump ArchT, before, during and after silencing its firing with green light.
Many thanks to Fernando R Nodal, Ed Mann, Fernando Garcia-Moreno, Antonia Langfelder, Pantelis Antonoudiou, and Louise Upton.
Victoria Bajo Lorenzana
Associate Professor of Neuroscience
I am an MD/PhD from the University of Salamanca and came to Oxford as a postdoctoral fellow on a European Union Marie-Curie program fellowship in 2000. My research focuses on understanding the neural circuits and mechanisms supporting auditory attention, complex stimulus representation and its modification based on experience.
I was awarded University Research Lecturer status by Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division in 2009 and I am Lecturer in Neuroscience at Balliol College.
Sensory perception and learning-induced plasticity rely on the normal function of the cerebral cortex, although the specific circuits involved are still a matter of debate. Certain perceptual changes are mediated by the corticofugal top-down connections that dynamically re-shape sensory signals according to experience. My work on how the descending pathways mediate learning-induced auditory plasticity (Bajo et al. Nature Neurosci 13:253-60, 2010) provided the first behavioural evidence for the function of a specific corticofugal pathway in auditory plasticity. My recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience (Leach et al., 2013) provides a fundamental piece of information regarding the role of cholinergic neuromodulation in auditory perception and plasticity.
The neural circuits responsible for auditory plasticity in the adult brain are likely to be involved in the generation of tinnitus or ‘ringing in the ears’, a phantom auditory perception occurring without any external stimulus. This is a prevalent condition with no single cure; while its severity varies substantially, tinnitus affects the normal living activities of 1-3% of the general population, producing anxiety, irritability, disturbed sleep patterns and depression. Most but not all cases of chronic tinnitus are associated with hearing loss, which typically occurs as part of the ageing process or as a result of acoustic trauma in younger individuals.
One of my interests is to identify and be able to manipulate those neural circuits in the adult brain that contribute to tinnitus. Using optogenetic methods for manipulating brain activity I am exploring the changes that take place within the auditory cortex when tinnitus is experienced, in order to find out whether those changes can be reversed, potentially alleviating this condition.
The cholinergic basal forebrain in the ferret and its inputs to the auditory cortex.
Bajo VM. et al, (2014), Eur J Neurosci, 40, 2922 - 2940
Cortical cholinergic input is required for normal auditory perception and experience-dependent plasticity in adult ferrets.
Leach ND. et al, (2013), J Neurosci, 33, 6659 - 6671
The descending corticocollicular pathway mediates learning-induced auditory plasticity.
Bajo VM. et al, (2010), Nat Neurosci, 13, 253 - 260
The non-lemniscal auditory cortex in ferrets: convergence of corticotectal inputs in the superior colliculus.
Bajo VM. et al, (2010), Front Neuroanat, 4
The ferret auditory cortex: descending projections to the inferior colliculus.
Bajo VM. et al, (2007), Cereb Cortex, 17, 475 - 491
A Role for Auditory Corticothalamic Feedback in the Perception of Complex Sounds.
Homma NY. et al, (2017), J Neurosci
Behavioural benefits of multisensory processing in ferrets.
Hammond-Kenny A. et al, (2017), Eur J Neurosci, 45, 278 - 289
Mistuning detection performance of ferrets in a go/no-go task.
Homma NY. et al, (2016), J Acoust Soc Am, 139
Cortico-Cortical Connectivity Within Ferret Auditory Cortex.
Bizley JK. et al, (2015), J Comp Neurol, 523, 2187 - 2210
Auditory gap-in-noise detection behavior in ferrets and humans.
Gold JR. et al, (2015), Behav Neurosci, 129, 473 - 490