Mathematical Biology Seminar

John White
USTAR Professor of Bioengineering, University of Utah
Wednesday September 17, 2008
3:05pm in LCB 215
Mechanisms and Consequences of Coherent Activity in the Hippocampal Formation

Abstract: The hippocampal formation is crucial for remembering episodes in life, and evidence suggests that synchronous activity throughout the hippocampus is essential for the mnemonic functions of this brain structure. We have studied the mechanisms of synchronization using electrophysiological and computational methods. More recently, we have exploited methods for introducing real-time control in cellular electrophysiology. These techniques allow us knock virtual ion channels that can be controlled with great mathematical precision, and to immerse biological neurons in real-time, virtual neuronal networks. These manipulations allow us to test computationally-based hypotheses in living cells. From this work, I will discuss which properties of single cells and neural networks seem crucial for coherent activity in the hippocampal formation. If time permits, I will also discuss work on the consequences of precise spike timing in neuronal network function.