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Differential Resilience to Perturbation of Circuits with Similar Performance

February 24, 2020 @ 13:00 - 13:30

We are excited to announce that in collaboration with DPAG, we are hosting Professor Eve Marder, from the Biology Department and Volen Center, Brandeis University.

She will give a talk at 1.15 pm in the Large Lecture Theatre, Sherrington Building. This will be followed by a lunch with the speaker, at 2.30pm in Sherrington Library.

If you would like to attend this lunch, please sign up here: https://forms.gle/LdL85FftkdizsYte7

Due to the high demand, we will need registration for the lunch by the 18th February.

Title: Differential Resilience to Perturbation of Circuits with Similar Performance

Healthy individual animals and people are nonetheless differentially resilient to environmental challenge. We use experimental and computational methods to explore this resilience in a small nervous system from crabs. Experimental work on the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion (STG) has revealed a 2-6 fold variability in many of the parameters that are important for circuit dynamics. Theoretical work shows that similar network performance can arise from diverse underlying parameter sets. Together, these lines of evidence suggest that each individual animal, at any moment in its life-time, has found a different solution to producing “good enough” motor patterns for healthy performance in the world. This poses the question of the extent to which animals with different sets of underlying circuit parameters can respond reliably and robustly to environmental perturbations and neuromodulation. We use both experimental and computational methods to study the effects of temperature, pH, high K + concentrations, and neuromodulation on the networks of the STG from the crab, Cancer borealis. While all animals are remarkably robust and reliable to substantial perturbations, extreme perturbations produce crashes and degraded function. These crashes differ substantially across animals and in models with different underlying parameter differences. The idiosyncratic nature of the crashes provides heuristic insight into the diverse nature of individuals to extreme perturbations. Moreover, models of homeostatic regulation of intrinsic excitability give insight into the kinds of mechanisms that could give rise to the highly variable solutions to stable circuit performance. The underlying parameter differences across the animals in a population and their differences in crash behavior provide a necessary substrate for evolution.

We look forward to seeing you there!


February 24, 2020
13:00 - 13:30
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