The circuit mechanics of neuronal variability, by Brent Doiron
Summary: Neuronal responses are notoriously variable, with sizable trial-to-trial and dynamics fluctuations in spiking activity that are shared across large populations of neurons. Furthermore, the degree and population structure of this variability is malleable, depending on host of stimulus and cognitive factors. I will present modelling and theoretical work that uncovers how spatially extended cortical circuits with large excitation that is balanced by an opposing inhibition can capture low dimensional shared variability reported in many population recording studies. The spiking variability in our model is also easily quenched through a top-down signal to inhibitory neurons, matching experimental results in spatial attention discrimination task. Finally, we explore how our circuit based manipulation of neuronal variability affects information flow as it propagates across cortical areas.
Brent Doiron is PhD, Professor at the Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, USA
He received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Ottawa in 2004. From 2004–2007, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University at the Center for Neural Science. In 2007, he moved to an assistant professorship in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh, and was promoted to associate professor in 2013, and full professor in 2017. Beginning in 2012, Professor Doiron has been co-director for the Program in Neural Computation at the Center for Neural Basis of Cognition in Pittsburgh. Professor Doiron’s work focuses on a combination of nonlinear dynamics and statistical mechanics with an emphasis on the genesis and transfer of variability in neural circuits. He has developed core theoretical insights that have made contributions to a variety of sensory systems. Throughout his research career, he has worked closely with experimental colleagues who work in the electrosensory, olfactory, somatosensory, auditory and visual systems.
In 2006, Professor Doiron received the National Science and Engineering and Research Council of Canada’s top doctoral thesis award, which recognizes Canada’s top achieving graduate scholars. He also received the Governor General’s gold medal for academic excellence for his graduate scholarship. He was awarded a Human Frontier Long-Term Fellowship for his work at New York University. In 2009, he received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Neuroscience, and in 2012 he was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award for outstanding research at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2017 has was awarded one of twelve Vannevar Bush faculty fellowships from the department of defense, their flagship scholarship program.