Visiting speaker Dr Irini Skaliora will give a talk on “Spontaneous transitions of functional connectivity and modular structure in endogenous brain activity” on Tuesday 5/10.
Recent progress in neuroscience has been impressive at the two extreme levels of analysis: the molecular biology of neurons and synapses on one hand, and whole-brain imaging on the other. These fields generate information at highly disparate resolution levels: molecular approaches report the activity of individual molecules, whereas functional brain maps reveal the collective activity of thousands of neurons. The explanatory gap between these two levels is wide. To understand how complex brain functions emerge from the activity of molecules and synapses, it is essential to study an intermediate level of analysis: the physiology of neuronal networks. In this talk I will present our recent work on the study of cortical network dynamics using an ex-vivo model of endogenous brain activity. The activity takes the form of spontaneouly recurring bursts of synchronized depolarizations and reflects the default activity of the cerebral cortex. Recordings are made from mouse brain slices with electrophysiological methods (single electrode LFP, whole cell patch clamp, and multi-electrode arrays) and analyzed with conventional methods, as well as metrics derived from graph theory. I will mostly current, unpublished work that reveals spontaneous state transitions in the functional connectivity and modular structure of the endogenous cortical dynamics and discuss the possible implications of these results for brain function.