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Department of Computer Science - University of Cyprus

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Colloquium Coordinator: Demetris Zeinalipour

Colloquium: Coding by bursts and waves in the hippocampal formation, Dr. Maria Constantinou (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy), Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 17:00-18:00 EET.


The Department of Computer Science at the University of Cyprus cordially invites you to the Colloquium entitled:

Coding by bursts and waves in the hippocampal formation

 

Speaker: Dr. Maria Constantinou
Affiliation: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy
Category: Colloquium
Location: Room 147, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences (FST-01), 1 University Avenue, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus (directions)
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Time: 17:00-18:00 EET
Host: Dr. Chris Christodoulou (cchrist-AT-cs.ucy.ac.cy)
URL: https://www.cs.ucy.ac.cy/colloquium/index.php#cs.ucy.2018.constantinou

Abstract:
A vital aspect for our survival is the storage and retrieval of past experiences as memories, which relies on the hippocampal formation. Neurons in the hippocampal formation are immersed within and contribute to rhythmic electrical potential fluctuations, called local field potentials (LFPs), generated by neural networks. Increasing evidence suggests that LFPs have the capacity to convey additional information, for example about sensory stimuli, to that contained in spike firing alone. Although computational studies have proposed some mechanisms of how information contained in LFP signals might be transmitted to distant neurons, they had not been tested experimentally. To address this, we investigated whether neurons in the hippocampal formation can use bursting to transmit information encoded in LFP features according to model predictions. We fitted a two-compartmental conductance-based model of a pyramidal neuron to realistic burst firing and show that bursts with increasing spike count exhibit differential locking to the phase of the dominant oscillations in LFP signals. Using statistical analyses and information theory we show that a neural code in which n-spike bursts are three distinct symbols – where n is 1 for tonic spikes, 2 for two-spike bursts, and 3 for larger bursts – has the capacity to encode information about the instantaneous value, phase, slope and amplitude of the dominant rhythm within LFPs, both in their firing rate and intra-burst spike counts. We subsequently analysed electrophysiological recordings from the subiculum of anaesthetised rats and the medial entorhinal cortex of an awake rat, and show that neurons can employ essentially the same neural code in vivo. These outcomes suggest that bursting neurons can encode information contained in specific LFP frequency bands and thus transmit this information to downstream neurons. Related paper DOIs: 10.3389/fncom.2016.00133 10.1016/j.biosystems.2015.08.004

Short Bio:
Maria Constantinou is a postdoc researcher at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Italy. She received a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience with Industrial/Professional Experience from The University of Manchester in 2012, which included an one-year Erasmus placement in an electrophysiology laboratory in Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma in Germany; and a PhD in Neuroscience from The University of Manchester in 2016, for which she received the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship and President’s Doctoral Scholar Award. Dr Constantinou has investigated neural coding for six years by analysing large-scale experimental data and studying neural models. She has expertise in electrophysiological data analysis, two-photon calcium imaging data analysis, statistics, digital signal processing, information theory, transfer entropy, conductance-based neuron models, machine learning and neural network models. Her main research interest is to decipher the neural code underlying cognitive processes such as memory, perception and decision making.

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