Chen Institute for Neuroscience Director's Seminar: Dmitry Rinberg
Please join us for a Chen Institute Director's Seminar on Monday, February 12 at 4:00PM in Chen 100.
Refreshments will be served in the breezeway of the Chen Neuroscience Research Building prior to the seminar at 3:30PM.
Speaker: Dr. Dmitry Rinberg, Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Title: Olfactory Information processing: temporal sequences, geometry and relevance
Abstract: Sensory stimuli evoke complex spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activity. Are all features of this activity relevant for behavior? What role do ‘irrelevant' features play? We addressed these questions in the mammalian olfactory system, where neural activity in the olfactory bulb encodes odor stimuli and transmits odor-related information to higher brain areas. Utilizing pattern optogenetics for unprecedented control over evoked neural activity, we created synthetic odor stimuli to explore the relevance of various neural features for stimulus readout. We found that earlier neural activity contains more behaviorally relevant information than later activity. Both spatial (identifying which neurons) and temporal (timing of neuron firing) features prove crucial in shaping the percept of a sensory object. We draw connections between our findings and natural odor processing, proposing that the structure of information relevance is defined by concentration-invariant odor recognition. Additionally, we investigate the later activity of odor-evoked temporal sequences in the olfactory bulb, presumed to be irrelevant for odor recognition, and suggest its role in forming an odor map in higher brain areas.