Neurobiology sponsors seminars on Tuesdays at noon in 103 Bryan Research. The Neurobiology Invited Seminar Series features both established and up-and-coming researchers and professors from around the world. This program is created by a committee of students, postdocs and faculty. The seminar program guides the materials for a student journal club that reads the upcoming speaker’s papers in advance and meets to discuss the week before the seminar. After the seminar, students and postdocs are invited to have lunch with the speaker.
Neurobiology Seminar Program
Neural Mechanisms of Stimulus-Driven Visual Attention
March 26, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
The processing of sensory input is influenced by a number of behavioral and contextual factors, and these factors appear to constrain the sensory information guiding adaptive behavior. This talk will discuss recent evidence on the neural circuits causally involved in the filtering of sensory information during selective attention. Much progress has been made in identifying the neural circuits controlling goal-driven, or top-down, visual attention. In contrast, the mechanisms controlling salience-driven, or bottom-up, visual attention remain largely unknown. His talk will focus on recent work...
Neural circuit logic for modulation and gain control in the auditory cortex
April 2, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Sensory brain plasticity exhibits a fundamental duality, a yin and yang, in that it is both a source and possible solution for various types of perceptual disorders. When signaling between the ear and the brain is disrupted, the balance of excitation and inhibition tips toward hyperexcitability throughout the central auditory neuroaxis, increasing the 'central gain' on afferent signals so as to partially compensate for a diminished input from the auditory periphery. Our work shows that excess central gain can distort the temporal coding of complex communication sounds and even induce the...
A neural compass that combines flexibility and stability
April 9, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Theoretical studies have long suggested that internal representations most prominently associated with mammalian navigation -such as head direction cells, grid cells, and place cells- are maintained by attractor dynamics. The size and complexity of the mammalian brain, however, has made it difficult to test models that seek to explain how such network dynamics are generated and used for navigational behavior. We study attractor dynamics in the fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which displays many navigational behaviors, including path integration and place learning. We are combining physiology,...
Neural control of sex differences in social behaviors
April 16, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
All sexually reproducing animals exhibit innate displays of sexually dimorphic behaviors such as mating or territoriality that are sensitive to social context and experience. What neural mechanisms encode such developmentally wired behaviors that are nevertheless modifiable by experience? Despite their fundamental importance to social interactions in health and neuro-psychiatric disorders, the molecular and neural networks underlying sex differences in behaviors remain poorly understood. To tackle this long-standing problem, we leverage the fact that sex hormones regulate sexual...
Neurobiology Invited Seminar Series
April 23, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Dr. Arenkiel is a member of the faculty at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and his doctoral degree from the University of Utah in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Mario Capecchi, where he investigated the developmental genetic programs that function to pattern the embryonic nervous system. Dr. Arenkiel later joined the laboratory of Dr. Lawrence Katz at Duke University as a Howard Hughes postdoctoral fellow, where he investigated the neural...
Neurobiology Invited Seminar Series
April 30, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Dr. Schaefer is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry and a Seaver Fellow at the Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She did her graduate studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Charité University Berlin and The Rockefeller University in New York. In the fall of 2004 she joined Dr. Paul Greengard's Laboratory at The Rockefeller University where she completed her postdoctoral studies and was promoted to Research Associate in 2007 and Senior Research Associate in 2009. She joined the Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai School of...
The Ruth K. Broad Foundation Seminar Series on Neurobiology and Disease
May 7, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Research in my lab focuses on the general question of how experience acts on the nervous system to shape behavior. Our goal is to account for learning by understanding the sensory stimuli that drive change, how and where those stimuli are represented in patterns of neural activity, and how those patterns act to modify behavior. We hope both to reveal general learning mechanisms, and to understand how variations in those mechanisms give rise to individual differences in behavior. Hence, we are interested in how the nervous system changes over the course of development to give rise to '...
Optically probing the neural basis of sensory perception
May 14, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
He will discuss three recent advances in his lab. First, Ihe will describe a microcircuit in the mouse visual cortex that dynamically matches the integrative mode of cortical networks to perceptual demands. Second, exploiting the discrete architecture of the mouse somatosensory barrel cortex, he will show how barrel cortex neurons encode a sparse, distributed code of higher order tactile features underlying shape perception. Third, he will highlight their recent technical advances for cracking neural codes of sensory perception with multiphoton optogenetics.