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, 25.01.2011 17 c.t.

Beyond Optimality: Variability, Compensation, and Robustness in Neuronal Networks

by Prof. Dr. Eve Marder
from Biology Department and Volen Center, Brandeis University, USA

Contact person: Tatjana Tchumatchenko

Location

Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)

Abstract

I will summarize recent theoretical and experimental work that shows that similar circuit outputs can be produced with highly variable circuit parameters. This work argues that the nervous system of each healthy individual has found a set of different solutions that give “good enough circuit performance. Studies using the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system to argue that synaptic and intrinsic currents can vary far more than the output of the circuit in which they are found. These data have significant implications for the mechanisms that maintain stable function over the animal’s lifetime, and for the kinds of changes that allow the nervous system to recover function after injury. In this kind of complex system, merely collecting mean data from many individuals can lead to significant errors, and it becomes important to measure as many individual network parameters in each individual as possible.

Remarks