Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN/BFNT AG-Seminar

Tuesday, 18.01.2011 17 c.t.

Predictability of Activity in Neuronal Networks in vitro

by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Egert
from Department of Microsystems Engineering, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg

Contact person: Ahmed El Hady

Location

Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)

Abstract

Interacting with neuronal networks implies that providing 'input' to these with well controlled stimuli, whether natural or electrical, entails a reproducible response that allows conjectures about the networks workings and structure. Ignoring this, the high variability of the outcome of biological experiments, however, has become proverbial. Although the history of stimulus-independent activity up to the time of stimulation has been identified as one source of variability in vivo, it is still unclear how 'spontaneous' activity and incoming stimuli interact and what biophysical rules govern this interaction. In seemingly simple networks in vitro we investigate how well upcoming spontaneous can be predicted and how the placement of a stimulus in space and in relation to the activity history determines response characteristics. We suggest biophysical mechanisms underlying the observations. Applying these rules helps in a better understand of the initiation and propagation of spontaneous activity and increases the predictability of network responses to controlled stimulation.

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