Date of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Deanna Smith

First Reader

Sofia Lizarraga

Second Reader

Sofia Lizarraga


Basket neuronal cells of the mammalian neocortex have been classically categorized into two or more groups. Originally, it was thought that the large and small types are the naturally occurring groups that emerge from reasons that relate to neurobiological function and anatomical position. Later, a study based on anatomical and physiological features of these neurons introduced a third type, the net basket cell which is intermediate in size as compared to the large and small types. In this study, multivariate analysis was used to test the hypothesis that the large and small types are morphologically distinct groups. The results of this study do not support the hypothesis that large and small neuronal basket cells can be distinguishable on the premise of morphological differences, and therefore also reject the hypothesis that basket cells are a subclass of neurons with morphology distinct from large and small basket cells. Further testing involved the identification of individual large and small basket neurons and whether it is possible to categorize them by individual morphological features.

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