MultiSenses – MultiScales: Neue Ansätze zur Aufklärung neuronaler multisensorischer Integration

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Funding Program:
Graduiertenkolleg - DFG
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"Novel Approaches to Decipher Neural Processing in Multisensory Integration" seeks to answer these questions and thus help to improve the understanding of multi-sensor neural processing. (RWTH Aachen University, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Marc Spehr). Multisensory processes are fundamental in scaffolding perception, cognition, learning, and behavior. However, the structural and functional architecture that underlies the brain’s ability to seamlessly integrate a multitude of simultaneous multisensory inputs is poorly understood. Across multiple scales – from cellular to network and systems levels – specialized mechanisms enable crossmodal processing. Previously, multisensory integration was considered to primarily occur in higher-level cortices and was examined within a theoretical framework of computational principles associated with spatiotemporal stimulus characteristics. More recently, it has become evident that (i) physical stimulus attributes do not fully account for multisensory precepts, (ii) sensory processing streams affect one another even at very early stages, and (iii) multisensory processing is plastic and dynamic. While these findings have challenged many traditional views of crossmodal integration, we still lack a coherent picture of the neural basis underlying multisensory percept formation. Fundamental questions remain unanswered. Therefore, the goal of this RTG is to gain a conceptual understanding of the mechanisms that govern crossmodal integration of sensory information at multiple scales. By implementing a unique MultiSenses–MultiScales approach, we aim to substantially advance our knowledge in several areas of multisensory neuroscience. This RTG will provide in-depth expertise in sensory neurobiology, foster the spirit of transdisciplinary collaboration, and offer handson training in a variety of cutting-edge techniques. Consequently, we aim to train expert individuals that make the transition from cells to systems and behavior, thus, preparing trainees for various career paths. A coherent, through flexible curriculum will build a solid foundation in the core concepts of neuroscience. In addition, a specialized course program will be tailored to individual needs. Combined with innovative qualification elements, professional skill development and – most importantly – the opportunity to conduct independent research in a nurturing environment, we aim to train neuroscientists that can compete at the highest international level. In summary, the RTG will become a prime location for both national and international doctoral researchers interested in the mechanistic foundation of multisensory integration.