WIBR Seminar 'Ultra-fast inhibitory transmission and integration’

Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research
WIBR Seminar
'Ultra-fast inhibitory transmission and
Dr Boris Barbour
ENS Paris
In the brain, neurons express information electrically, as series of action
potentials. These in turn influence other neurons via divergent synaptic
connections. Although we feel we know quite a lot about neurons, action
potentials and synapses, this knowledge gives us surprisingly little insight
into brain function. It is certainly not possible to recreate sophisticated
brain functions by randomly connecting model neurons with realistic
synapses and action potentials. We believe that a key piece of missing
information is the specific properties of the neural networks supporting
this activity. Our group aims to understand the operation and function of
one particular brain region, the cerebellum, basing our research upon a
multidisciplinary characterization of the neural networks it contains. The
cerebellum is involved in the learning and execution of coordinated
movements. As a brain structure in which to study the representation
and transformation of information, it offers several significant
advantages: it has a simple and well-described cellular architecture, we
know something about both its (sensory) inputs and (motor) outputs, and
several well-understood model behaviors are very strongly linked to the
cerebellum. We study cerebellar function using three principal
The in vitro characterization of the network, neurons and synapses of
the cerebellum, using patch-clamp recording and imaging in slices.
In vivo recordings of cerebellar activity during behavior, using
tetrodes to monitor the behavior of multiple neurons simultaneously.
Theoretical analysis and numerical modeling (often in collaboration
with theoretical physicists).
We believe that the combination of these techniques will lead us to a
deeper understanding of cerebellar function and offer insight into the
operation of neural circuitry in general.
Thursday 14th May 2015
The Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research
1 Floor Cruciform Building, Cruciform Café
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
[email protected] / 020 7679 6134