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SWC Seminar:  Dr Kathleen Cullen, Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering

Start: Jan 31, 2019 12:00:00 PM
End: Jan 31, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Host: Tom Otis, Chief Scientific Officer

Talk Title:  Neural Representations of Natural Self-Motion:  Implications for Perception & Action

Abstract:
  A fundamental question in neuroscience is how does the brain compute accurate estimates of our self-motion relative to the world and orientation relative to gravity in everyday life. In this talk, I will describe recent findings from my laboratory’s research that have addressed this question and provided new insight into how vestibular pathways encode self-motion information to ensure accurate perception and motor control. First, we have recently examined the statistics of natural self-motion signals experienced by mice, monkeys, and humans, and then explored the neural coding strategies used by early vestibular pathways. Focusing on the relationships between neural variability, detection thresholds, and information transmission, our findings have revealed that two distinct sensory channels represent vestibular information at the level of the vestibular periphery. Notably, more regularly discharging afferents have better detection thresholds and use rate coding, while more irregular afferents take advantage of precise spike timing (i.e, temporal coding) and are better optimized for processing natural vestibular stimuli. 

SWC Seminar: Linda Wilbrecht, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

Start: Feb 27, 2019 12:00:00 PM
End: Feb 27, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Talk Title: Testing the role of basal ganglia cell types and circuits in flexible choice behavior

Abstract:  The basal ganglia are believed to play a key role in reward-based decision  making, particularly in the selection of rewarded actions and suppression of undesired actions. I will discuss recent optogenetic and chemogenetic manipulation experiments that inform our understanding of how activity in striatal spiny projection neurons contributes to choice.