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.

Circuits for Care – Deconstructing Parental Behavior

Circuits for Care – Deconstructing Parental Behavior

On Monday, 11th Nov in Sherrington Library, Dr Johannes Kohl, from the Francis Crick Institute, will give a talk on ‘Circuits for care – deconstructing parental behaviour’.
If you would like to join us for after-talk pub with the speaker, please sign up at: https://forms.gle/hjpq1cvWSyJZXM399.

Abstract:
Parenting is essential for the survival and wellbeing of offspring in many species, but we lack a circuit-level understanding of how this social behaviour is orchestrated. Using viral tracing, in vivo imaging, optogenetic manipulations and behavioural profiling in mice, we recently discovered that a genetically specified class of hypothalamic neurons forms projection-defined subpopulations which are each tuned to, and control, specific aspects of parenting. This functional organisation provides a new model for how discrete elements of an instinctive behaviour are generated at the circuit level. Our current goal is to understand how physiological states (such as pregnancy, hunger and sleep) alter the form and function of this parenting circuit.

Assessing Cortical Dynamics and Function despite the Subsampling Problem

Assessing Cortical Dynamics and Function despite the Subsampling Problem

Dr Viola Priesemann, from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, on Thursday 7th November at 4 pm in the Sherrington Library will be giving a talk on “Assessing Cortical Dynamics and Function despite the Subsampling Problem”.

All Welcome! If you would like to join us for after-talk pub with the speaker, please sign up at: https://forms.gle/xEidEY6ighdPaYfs8

ABSTRACT:
Neural networks, both in the human brain as well as artificial ones, show intriguing information processing capacities. Nonetheless, we lack a principled understanding how their functions emerge. A major challenge when assessing cortical processing lies in the subsampling problem: Despite rapid technological advances, we are still far from recording all neurons in an area with millisecond precision. Thus, one records either a subset of the neurons, or some spatial average of their activity, like LFP or EEG. We showed that such spatial subsampling can strongly bias inference about collective properties like clusters or neural avalanches. It even biases measures as basic as the correlation, thus any measure of effective connectivity or coupling between areas. We derived approaches to overcome the subsampling bias, and now have the toolset to make unbiased inferences. This has enabled us to revisit a long-standing debate about the nature of collective dynamics: Instead of the well-known asynchronous-irregular (AI) or critical dynamics, we find a novel, reverberating regime. Experimental evidence for that regime is now accumulating from cortical spike recordings in rat, cat, monkey and even human. The novel regime unifies a large body of contradictory, past results; it combines the advantages of the AI and critical state; and it enables each cortical circuit to tune its compute properties to task requirements by small adjustments of synaptic strength. Thereby each cortical circuit might be able to tune itself into the distributed computation of cortex in a flexible manner – and importantly also to tune-out if not needed.

Envisioning The Reward: Contextual Signals in Mouse Visual Cortex

Envisioning The Reward: Contextual Signals in Mouse Visual Cortex

We are delighted to host Dr Nathalie Rochefort, from the University of Edinburgh, on Thursday 31st October at 4pm in the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Parks Road, OX1 3PT.

Dr Rochefort will deliver a talk on “Envisioning The Reward: Contextual Signals in Mouse Visual Cortex”.

If you would like to join us for after-talk pub with the speaker, please sign up at: https://forms.gle/BwQrFqm8thJEDcRUA

Cortex Club Elections

Cortex Club Elections

Tuesday 15th October, at 5.30pm in the Sherrington Room

We are RECRUITING for the following open positions:

  • Secretary (University student status required);
  • IT Officer;
  • Social Secretaries (x3);
  • Freshers’ Officer.

 

Open Access and Open Science: The Insiders’ View

Open Access and Open Science: The Insiders’ View

Wednesday 9th October, 4 pm at Lecture Theatre, Department of Pharmacology

Speakers:

  • John R. Inglis, Co-founder of bioRxiv and medRxiv, Executive Director and Publisher,CSHL Press;
  • Elisa De Ranieri, Editor in Chief, Nature Communications;
  • Sally Rumsey, The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford;
  • Mark Patterson, Executive Director, eLIfe.

Panel discussion followed by a drinks reception and pizza!

Please contact Marta Blanco Pozo (marta.blancopozo@exeter.ox.ac.uk) if you would like to arrange individual meetings with Jonh R. Inglis.