The Cortex Club connects researchers at the University of Oxford with world-leading neuroscientists through a unique educational forum dealing with cutting-edge topics and significant challenges in neuroscience. Our events range from small intense debates with up-and-coming scientists to large discussion sessions led by internationally prominent speakers, followed by the opportunity to ask them questions over drinks.

 

Seminar: Prof. Bence Ölveczky

Neural circuits underlying motor skill learning and execution

Tuesday 16 October, Tuesday – 4pm at the Sherrington Library, DPAG/Sherrington Bldg

The Cortex Club is excited to present Bence Ölveczky from Harvard University, who will be talking to us about his research on motor sequence learning. Please join us on October 16th at the Sherrington Library, located in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.

Prof. Bence Ölveczky has kindly agreed to talk to students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Lukas Krone (lukas.krone -at- dpag.ox.ac.uk).

 

Abstract
I will introduce a motor skill learning paradigm that trains stereotyped complex motor sequences in rodents. By recording and manipulating neural activity in the basal ganglia, motor cortex and thalamus, we delineate the logic by which these circuits work together to promote the acquisition and control of task-specific motor sequences.

 

Behind the Scenes at Nature Neuroscience

Meet Nature Neuroscience Senior Editor Dr Leonie Welberg
Thursday 11 October – 4pm at the Large Lecture Theatre, Le Gros Clark Bldg 

The Cortex Club is delighted to host Dr Leonie Welberg, senior editor at Nature Neuroscience. Please join us at the Large Lecture Theatre in the Le Gros Clark Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, for an exciting opportunity to get a glimpse behind the scenes at Nature Neuroscience.

Dr Welberg also kindly offered to meet PhD students and postdocs individually to discuss the publishing industry and possible pathways that might lead to a career in publishing. If you would like to arrange a meeting for Friday 12 October, please contact Lukas Krone (lukas.krone -at- dpag.ox.ac.uk).

 

Abstract
Publishing research papers is an integral part of the scientific endeavour, but getting published in high-profile journals can be challenging and the publication process may seem mysterious. In this presentation Dr Leonie Welberg, senior editor at Nature Neuroscience, will explain the editorial process at Nature Neuroscience, from manuscript submission, initial editorial evaluation and peer-review to the journal’s decision to publish (or not) a given manuscript. She will also discuss aspects of publishing in high-profile science journals more broadly, and touch upon hot topics such as reproducibility, peer review models, open access and preprints.

 

 

Seminar: Dr Wei Song Ong

Cooperation: a social strategy?
Monday 1 October @ 3pm4pm (Room S010, Plant Sciences)

We are excited to start the new term with a seminar in collaboration with the Dept. of Experimental Psychology by Dr Wei Song Ong from the University of Pennsylvania. The talk will take place in Room S010 at the Plant Sciences Building. Please contact Paula Kaanders (paula.kaanders -at- psy.ox.ac.uk) if you would like to arrange an individual meeting with the speaker.

After the talk, there will be tea and cakes with the speaker and subsequently we will head to a pub for some food and drinks with the speaker. If you would like to join for the pub, please sign up here.

Abstract
Real world decisions are usually made within a social context. Many of our actions are chosen considering vicarious feelings of another’s reward or pain. However, there are times where this desire for another’s wellbeing is in conflict with self-interest, resulting in the need to rely upon strategic reasoning about the beliefs, desires, and goals of others to make our decisions.

To take a closer look at the neural mechanisms underlying such processes, we utilize a iterated game which allows interactive play between two players. We demonstrated that the primates, both human and non-human rely upon recursive reasoning to carry out gameplay. In the non-human primates, we obtained spiking activity in two brain areas, the primate homolog of the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) which is implicated in mentalizing, and the anterior cingulate gyrus, an area connected to empathy and vicarious experience. We found that the neurons in TPJ were able to signal cooperative action, an abstract concept that is independent of realized reward and motor action. This suggests that the capacity to reason strategically is deeply rooted in the social behavior of primates.

Seminar: Dr Yaniv Ziv

Stability and dynamics underlying hippocampal neural codes for long-term memory
Wednesday 5 September @ 4pm5pm (Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)

We are delighted to host a seminar by Dr Yaniv Ziv from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. The talk will take place in the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. Please contact Tai-Ying Lee (tai-ying.lee -at- dpag.ox.ac.uk) if you would like to arrange an individual meeting with the speaker.

After the talk, we will head to a pub for some food and drinks with the speaker. If you would like to join, RSVP to cortex.club -at- studentclubs.ox.ac.uk.

Abstract
Episodic memory relies on the hippocampus, whose neurons are thought to encode information about where and when events have occurred. Whereas ample knowledge exists regarding the encoding of location, relatively little is known about the neural mechanisms that enable the encoding of the time in which events occur. We performed time-lapse imaging of thousands of neurons over weeks in the hippocampal CA1 of mice as they repeatedly visited two distinct environments. Longitudinal analysis exposed ongoing environment-independent evolution of episodic representations, despite stable place field locations and constant remapping between the two environments. These dynamics time-stamped experienced events via neuronal ensembles that had cellular composition and activity patterns unique to specific points in time. Our results suggest that days-scale hippocampal ensemble dynamics could support the formation of a mental timeline in which experienced events could be mnemonically associated or dissociated based on their temporal distance, and point to a plausible mechanism by which information about place and time can be simultaneously and independently encoded in episodic representations. I will also discuss how the stability of function may be achieved despite the ongoing continuous ensemble dynamics that we observe.