Wed 01/11/2017
at 01:00 PM

Lecture by Rafael Gutiérrez (Mexico)

Rafael Gutierrez

Electrical blueprint of the dentate gyrus- CA3 projection of the hippocampus

The mossy fibers, the axons of the granule cells of the dentate gyrus, innervate interneurons and pyramidal cells of the CA3 area of the hippocampus. These fibers use glutamate (and also GABA during development) for fast chemical transmission, but in the adult they are mainly excitatory. Surprisingly however, we found functional and anatomical evidence of gap junctions formed by connexin 36 (Cx36) in the mossy fibers establishing synapses with some pyramidal cells. Thus, we proposed the existence of mixed electrical-chemical transmission between the principal cells of these two hippocampal substructures. Interestingly, the incidence of pyramidal cells receiving mixed neurotransmission as determined by electrophysiology was very low, whereas immunohistological and single cell-PCR studies have revealed a profuse expression of Cx36 in the granule cells and their mossy fibers. Current work in my lab has disclosed an underlying electrical network between the mossy fibers and pyramidal cells of CA3 that is virtually tonically closed but that can be turned on, enabling the co-existence and, thus, a reciprocal modulation of fast electrical and chemical neurotransmission.
Tue 02/07/2017
at 12:00 PM

Lecture by Abraham Zangen (Israel)

Abraham Zangen
Department of Life Sciences and the Zlotwosky Center for Neuroscience, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel

Electromagnetic stimulation in the study and treatment of addiction: From animal models to human applications

The pathophysiology of addiction involves impaired excitability and function of reward-related circuitries. Repeated electromagnetic stimulation of these circuitries can induce lasting alterations in excitability and function of these networks, thereby becoming a potential therapeutic approach. Our animal studies revealed that multiple sessions of localized stimulation of the prefrontal cortex can alter molecular and behavioral features of cocaine addiction. In humans, the combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation and EEG measures revealed reduced cortical excitability in various forms of addiction.
In order to affect the relevant circuitries in humans. without a surgery, we have designed special transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coils that enable stimulation of much deeper regions relative to those directly affected by conventional TMS coils. These coils, termed H-coils, were tested for their safety and ability to reach deeper brain regions, and evaluation of their antidepressant potential when applied over the prefrontal cortex of medication-resistant depressive patients showed high rates of remission in a large multi-center study. The therapeutic potential of other versions of H-coils are evaluated in several psychiatric disorders including addiction. The use of an H-coil version targeting the prefrontal and insular cortices in heavy smokers showed effectiveness when high, but not low frequency was applied, especially when combined with activation of the craving-related circuitries by presentation of smoking cues just prior each stimulation session. This study led to an ongoing large multi-center sham-controlled study, now taking place in 15 centers worldwide.
Deep TMS is a relatively novel tool in psychiatric and basic brain research. The ability to induce non-surgical direct stimulation of deep brain areas opens a wide range of therapeutic and research options. Optimization of stimulation parameters requires further investigation into mechanisms utilizing imaging and electrophysiological techniques.
Thu 02/16/2017

Workshop: Writing Scientific Publications

February 16/17, 2017
Workshop "Writing Scientific Publications" by Dr. Christina Schütte or Dr. Philipp Berens (ProSciencia)
Sat 04/22/2017
Wed 06/21/2017
at 01:00 PM

Lecture by Miles Whittington (York)

Miles Whittington
The Hull York Medical School, University of York, UK

A cellular substrate for semantic decision making?

We all make decisions based on sensory information near-continuously each waking day. But how these decisions arise? Elevated levels of activity in prefrontal and parietal cortices correlate well with decision-making, and individual neurons can demonstrate either ramps of increasing activity or discrete activity-state changes up to the decision timepoint. Neuronal population activity suggests these pre-decision activity changes are temporally organised within the delta and theta bands (2-9 Hz). However, the precise spatiotemporal dynamics and neuronal subtypes involved are unknown. Here we use MEG recording in subjects during a reward-free, subjective semantic decision-making task to demonstrate that cross-frequency coupling within this frequency range reveals a core functional network in over 90% of subjects. Furthermore, the precise phase relationship between delta and theta frequency activity significantly correlated with decision outcome. An experimental model of concurrent delta and theta rhythms in cortex reproduced this dynamic signature and demonstrated a subtype-specific separation of activity such that neurons projecting subcortically displayed ramped synaptic inputs at delta frequency whereas neurons projecting within cortex displayed discrete state changes at theta frequency. These data suggest that cross-frequency coupling, as a fundamental local property of a layered neocortex, is recruited during decision-making to coordinate both cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical computations.
Thu 07/20/2017
at 12:00 PM

Seminar "Structures & Mathematics"

Interdisciplinary seminar series "Structures & Mathematics", organized jointly by the Mathematical Institute, IWR, MATCH, and HITS.

Time and place: Thursday July 20, 12:00-13:00, Kirchhoff Institute for Physics (KIP) INF 227, Lecture Hall 2 (ground floor)

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Fred Hamprecht (IWR Heidelberg)

Title: The quest for the wiring diagram of the brain
Subtitle: Where computer vision, deep neural networks and combinatorial optimization meet

Abstract: Understanding the brain is an old and yet-unsolved problem. To understand the workings of a neural circuit, it is possibly required to know its structure, and almost surely necessary to know its connectivity.
After great progress in electron microscopy, several labs worldwide are milling away at animal brains and generating what will amount to petabytes of high-quality data. The resulting images are good enough for human tracers to consistently follow at least the majority of neural processes; unfortunately, humans would take thousands of years to complete the task for even the smallest mammalian brain.
So the quest is on for computer vision algorithms to do the same automatically and reliably. The current state of the art pipelines recur to deep neural networks and combinatorial graph partitioning problems. The former are notoriously ill understood, the latter still expensive to solve at scale.
In this talk, I will sketch the problem, a state of the art approach (which does not quite achieve human accuracy yet), and I will lay out some of the open problems in the field.

Snacks and refreshments will be served after the seminar.

These workshop-seminars aim at initiating interactions between mathematicians and researchers from other sciences. We want to explore in particular questions and problems, which might be of interest to and benefit from the involvement of mathematicians of all sort. The setting of the seminar is informal, and interactive. For more information on this seminar series see the web-page at
Sun 08/06/2017

ELSC International School "In-vivo Intracellular Recordings"

Aug 6th - Aug 18th 2017
Twelve-day workshop for young experimental neuroscientists
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Sun 09/03/2017

Two-photon imaging of brain dynamics: Illuminating neuronal and glial function

September 3-9, 2017
1-week EMBO course at the University of Zurich

This course equips participants with the necessary theoretical and practical background to successfully apply two-photon microscopy for studying in vivo brain dynamics in their own future work. The program includes great lecturers and lab courses. The course is limited to 12 participants and is aimed at applicants at the doctoral or early post-doctoral stage.
For more information and registration, please see the attached Flyer or visit the following website:

Deadline for registration: 15 June 2017
Fri 09/15/2017

HeiNEC 2 - Second International Conference on Neuronal Ensembles

September 15/16, 2017
Neue Universität Heidelberg
Wed 09/20/2017

FENS Regional Meeting

September 20-23, 2017
Pécs, Hungary

FRM 2017 will focus on the most recent discoveries in neuroscience from molecules to behaviour, highlighting discoveries of translational potential.
Please find further information to travel grant offers, public outreach programme, numerous exhibitions and workshops as well as special events on the FENS Regional Meeting website
Wed 10/25/2017

CellNetworks Core Facilities Symposium 2017

October 25, 2017 - 1 p.m.

Marsilius Kolleg INF 130.1
Details and Schedule:
Wed 11/29/2017
at 01:00 PM

Lecture by Richard Hahnloser (Zürich)

Richard Hahnloser
Institute of Neuroinformatics, Zürich

Songbirds' solution to an intractable motor learning problem

While acquiring motor skills, such as courtship songs and dances, animals must match their performance to a desired target. However, because both the structure and the temporal position of individual gestures are adjustable, the number of possible motor transformations increases exponentially with sequence length, and searching for the optimal transformation quickly becomes computationally intractable. We tested how zebra finches cope with the computational complexity of song learning, by prompting juveniles to modify their song to correct conflicting phonological and sequential mismatches in song syllables. Surprisingly, birds matched each syllable to the most acoustically similar sound in the target, regardless of its temporal position, resulting in sequence errors that were later corrected. Thus, birds prioritized efficient learning of syllable vocabulary, at the cost of inefficient syntax learning. This modular strategy amounts to a linear workaround of an intractable quadratic problem, and could perhaps be a generic solution in the evolution of motor learning mechanisms.
Wed 12/06/2017
at 01:00 PM

Lecture by Elisa d'Este (Göttingen)

Elisa d'Este
Department of NanoBiophotonics, Göttingen

Nanoscale organization of the subcortical cytoskeleton in the nervous system

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