Congratulations on a great defense, Michael! We’re sad to see you on your way out but you absolutely deserve all 3 letters behind your name!
Michael’s thesis is called “Closed-Loop Optogenetic Control And Thalamic State”. He used engineering approaches to feedback control and state estimation to tackle the problem of controlling neuronal firing activity in vivo , with the goal of developing a set of methods that are general enough that they may be applied to manipulation of other types of neuronal activity or even animal behavior. Specifically, he applied closed-loop optogenetic control (CLOC) to manipulate the thalamus, a deep brain region that serves as a central gateway for conducting sensory information to the cerebral cortex. Given the importance of brain state in health and disease, he investigated the effects of optogenetic control on the state of the thalamus and its implications for sensory response properties in the somatosensory thalamocortical pathway.
Way to go, Michael!