University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Wednesday, January 27th 2016
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
Speaker: Hermann Riecke, Northwestern
Subject: Neuronal Networks in Visual and Olfactory Sensory Processing

One of the essential tasks of the brain is is to obtain survival-relevant information about the world through its various senses. I will discuss some of our computational modeling results of aspects of the visual and the olfactory system. Through detailed biophysical modeling of a certain neuron type of the retina we have revealed the origin of oscillations that emerge in the process of retinal degeneration and may hinder the success of retinal prostheses. In the olfactory system we have developed an adaptive network model for the persistent restructuring of the olfactory network, which arises from the turn-over of a whole neuronal population. The resulting network structure is controlled by higher brain areas, which determine the survival of specific, newly born neurons. Our model suggests that this allows even very early olfactory processing to be modified based on non-olfactory information, enhancing the detection and discrimination of odors in complex environments.

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