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MAR 11, 2020 7:30 AM PDT

PANEL: Neuronal Circuit Resilience - How the Brain Manages to Maintain Reliable Behaviors with Unreliable Neurons

Presented at: Neuroscience 2020
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speakers
  • Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and adjunct in the Departments of Physics and Applied Mathematics, University of Washington
    Biography
      Adrienne Fairhall is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics and adjunct in the Departments of Physics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Washington. She obtained her Honors degree in theoretical physics from the Australian National University and a PhD in statistical physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She joined the UW faculty in 2004 and now co-directs the University of Washington's Computational Neuroscience Center and the UW Institute for Neuroengineering. She has directed the MBL course, Methods in Computational Neuroscience and co-directs the UW/Allen Workshop on the Dynamic Brain. She has held fellowships from Burroughs-Wellcome, the McKnight Foundation, the Sloan Foundation and the Allen Family Foundation. As a theorist she collaborates with experimentalists working in a wide range of systems, from hydra to primates. Her work focuses on the interplay between cellular and circuit dynamics in neural computation, with a particular interest in adaptive and state-dependent neural coding.
    • Associate Professor and Robert and Leona Chair in Neuroengineering at the Knight Campus, University of Oregon
      Biography
        Tim Gardner is Associate Professor and Robert and Leona Chair in Neuroengineering at the Knight Campus, University of Oregon. He received an undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University and a graduate degree from the Rockefeller University in the program for Physics and Biology. In 2009 he joined the faculty at Boston University where his lab focused on sensory motor learning in songbirds and neural engineering. In 2017 he moved to San Francisco to join the founding team of Neuralink, a company dedicated to building human brain machine interfaces. He continues as scientific advisor to Neuralink and in 2019 joined the Knight Campus at the University of Oregon - a new institute that seeks to accelerate the pace of discovery and application of biomedical science. At the university of Oregon, he works on high resolution 3D printing for biological applications, neural interfaces and sensory-motor learning in songbirds.
      • Research Professor in Neurobiology at the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech
        Biography
          Carlos Lois is a Research Professor in Neurobiology at the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech. Dr. Lois' PhD work demonstrated that the subventricular zone in the brain of adult mice contains stem cells that move long distances through the brain and differentiate into neurons in the olfactory bulb, via a new form of migration that is now known as neuronal chain migration. As a postdoctoral fellow he developed lentiviral transgenesis, an effective method that is now widely used to genetically manipulate animal species that were previously refractory to germline molecular manipulations, such as birds and non-human primates. The Lois lab currently investigates the mechanisms by which the coordinated activity of neurons connected to each other in circuits gives rise to brain function. To address this issue we focus on three complementary questions: (i) what is the wiring diagram of the connections that link neurons together in a circuit?, (ii) how does information flow through a neuronal circuit?, and (iii) what are the mechanisms by which the function of brain circuits remains reliable despite noise?. Honors include the Ellison Foundation New Scholar award, the Packard Foundation Scholar award, and two NIH BRAIN initiative awards. He received his MD from the University of Valencia (Spain), his PhD in neurobiology from The Rockefeller University in 1995, and did postdoctoral work at MIT and Caltech.

        Abstract

        Brain function is remarkably reliable despite the imprecise performance of neurons and the continuous perturbations caused by aging, disease or injury. How does the brain succeed in producing stereotypic behaviors over long periods of time despite these perturbations? We are interested in studying the cellular and system mechanisms by which neuronal circuits are able to "self-tune" and adapt to perturbations.  We are using genetic manipulations to perturb brain circuits to ask two types of questions: (i) how do brain circuits adapt when a large percentage of their neurons are deleted or silenced?, (ii) how do brain circuits adapt when electrical noise is injected into the system?.  To study these questions we are focusing on the song circuits of birds because song is an extremely stereotypical behavior that can be rigorously measured.

        Learning Objectives:

        1. Define the concepts of brain resilience and behavioral stereotypy

        2. Explain the experimental methods that can be used to investigate brain resilience

        3. Explain how investigating mechanisms of brain resilience in animals could be useful to improve outcomes in humans after diseases such as stroke


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