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.
Linking Memories Across Time
Friday 7 June, 4pm at the Sherrington Library, DPAG Sherrington Building, Oxford
The Cortex Club is delighted to host Assistant Professor Denise Cai from the Mount Sinai, New York, who will be talking to us about her work on hippocampal networks link memories. Please join us on June 7th, at the Sherrington Library, located in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.
A/ Prof. Denise Cai has kindly agreed to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai-Ying Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.
Please also join us at the pub after the talk, to which everybody is welcome.
The compilation of memories, collected and aggregated across a lifetime defines our human experience. My lab is interested in dissecting how memories are stored, updated, integrated and retrieved across a lifetime. Recent studies suggest that a shared neural ensemble may link distinct memories encoded close in time. Using in vivo calcium imaging (with open-source Miniscopes in freely behaving mice), TetTag transgenic system, chemogenetics, electrophysiology and novel behavioral designs, we tested how hippocampal networks temporally link memories. Multiple convergent findings suggest that contextual memories encoded close in time are linked by directing storage into overlapping hippocampal ensembles, such that the recall of one memory can trigger the recall of another temporally-related memory. Alteration of this process (e.g. during aging, PTSD, etc) affect the temporal structure of memories, thus impairing efficient recall of related information.
Understanding the brain’s model of the external world
Wednesday 22 May, 11am at the Large Lecture Theatre, Le Gros Clarke Building, Oxford
The Cortex Club is delighted to co-host, together with the Neurotheory Seminar Series, Prof Loren Frank from UCSF, who will be talking to us about his work on how neuronal networks create a predictive model of the external world. Please join us on May 22nd, at the Large Lecture Theatre located in the Le Gros Clark Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.
Prof. Loren Frank has kindly agreed to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai-Ying Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.
The ability to create an accurate, predictive model of the world is one of the most remarkable attributes of the brain. Our goal is to understand how activity and plasticity in neural circuits underlie both the ability to create this model and to use it to make decisions. In this talk I will focus on neural activity patterns that have the potential to play a central role in model-based decision-making. This work began with the realization that the ability to generate and evaluate representations of hypothetical experience, whether of a counterfactual past or of a possible future, has profound adaptive value. How and when the brain might express these representations has not been clear, and I will describe work from my laboratory that has identified and characterized these representations as a surprisingly common motif in hippocampal spiking activity. We have also found that changes in firing rates in medial prefrontal cortex can be seen immediately before and during the expression of these hippocampal representations, consistent with the possibility that this activity marks the time of engagement and evaluation of mental simulations.
Engineering brain activity patterns for therapeutics of disorders
Friday 3 May, 1pm at the Large Lecture Theatre, Sherrington Building, Oxford
The Cortex Club is thrilled to host Prof. Mehmet Fatih Yanik from the University of Zurich, who, as part of the DPAG Head of the Department seminar series, will be talking to us about affecting network behaviour in zebrafish brains using non-invasive neuromodulators. Please join us on May 3rd at the Large Lecture Theatre, located in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.
We are hosting a Q&A session after the talk from 2.00 to 3.00 to which students and staff are warmly invited.
Brain networks are disrupted in numerous disorders. We will first show how the aberrant brain-wide activity patterns can be corrected by targeting distinct network motifs with multiple neuromodulators using a zebrafish model of human epilepsy and autism. This systematic approach rescues behaviour unlike any other treatment resulting from large-scale drug screens. With methods promising future therapeutic use, we will next show how specific molecular targets in different brain circuits in mammals can be non-invasively and spatially targeted, and discuss how cortex-wide activity patterns can be captured chronically at single neuron resolution with minimal invasiveness using neuromorphic microchips.
Sensory History in Perceptual Decision Making and Working Memory Tasks
Monday 29 April, 4pm at the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Oxford
The Cortex Club is excited to present Athena Akrami, group leader at the UCL Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, who will be talking to us about her research on rat Parametric Working Memory and the role of the posterior parietal cortex. Please join us on April 29th, at the Sherrington Library, located in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Parks Road, Oxford.
Dr Athena Akrami has kindly agreed to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Diego under: diego.asua [at] bnc.ox.ac.uk
Please also join us at the pub after the talk to which everybody is welcome!
Earlier proposals that PPC supports working memory predict that optogenetic silencing of the PPC would lead to a behavioral impairment in our working memory task. Contrary to this prediction, silencing PPC produced a significant performance improvement. Quantitative analyses of behavior revealed that this improvement was due to the selective reduction of the effects of prior sensory stimuli. Electrophysiological recordings showed that PPC neurons carried far more information about sensory stimuli of previous trials than about stimuli of the current trial. Furthermore, an increase in the amount of this information was associated with greater behavioral effects of sensory history, suggesting a tight link between behavior and PPC representations of stimulus history. Lastly, encoding of the sensory history in PPC was contrasted with striatum and frontal pre-motor areas in a series of decision making tasks. Together, the data reveal the PPC as a causally necessary and important node in the representation and use of prior sensory stimulus information.
The Dynamic Memory Connectome
Thursday 18 April, 4pm at the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Oxford
The Cortex Club proudly presents Prof Ann-Shyn Chiang from the National Tsing Hua University, who will be talking to us about his novel multi-scale imaging approach to map the entire Drosophila brain. Please join us on April 18th at the Sherrington Library, located in the Sherrington Building of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.
Prof. Ann-Shyn Chiang has kindly agreed to meet students and staff individually. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact Tai-Ying Lee at tai-ying.lee [at] dpag.ox.ac.uk.
Please also join at the pub after the talk to which everybody is welcome. Please sign up at https://forms.gle/DRMnoqzKVAsiu9qQ6
Understanding information flows and their changes in the brain requires a comprehensive map of neural structures at all levels, similar to those of Google Earth for continents, countries, cities and streets. By integrating multiscale imaging technologies, I propose a practical approach aiming for mapping individual neurons, cellular organelles, synapses and single molecules in the entire Drosophila brain. I will discuss how the generated connectome map help us to classify cell types, predict information flow, and manipulate target neurons that orchestrate complex behaviours. Our long-term goal is to construct the Drosophila engram and understand how learning and memory change the decision.