Systems Neuroscience Overview

Systems neuroscience is a sub-discipline of neuroscience and systems biology that studies the function of neural circuits and systems. It is an umbrella term, encompassing a number of areas of study concerned with how nerve cells behave when connected together to form neural networks.

At this level of analysis, neuroscientists study how different neural circuits analyze sensory information, form perceptions of the external world, make decisions, and execute movements.

A circuit theory of cortical function

Principal Investigator: Charles Gilbert, Rockefeller Unviersity
Title: A circuit theory of cortical function
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design (#1532591)

This project aims to develop and test a new conceptual framework for understanding brain function, and informing biologically based artificial intelligence systems. The underlying theory holds that the properties of any neuron and any cortical area are not fixed but undergo state changes with changing perceptual task, expectation and attention.

Imaging method linking brainwide cell activation & behavior

Automated method detects activity of neurons during specific behaviors, brainwide, at cellular resolution.

The method uses the presence of a protein called c-fos to indicate where individual neurons are active. The protein is generated by expression of a gene by the same name, which is known to correlate with neural activity. c-fos protein has been used previously as a marker for neural activity, although in experiments that required considerable labor and were often confined to small portions of the mouse brain.

Dynamic causal modelling tracking slow modulations in synaptic gain

We propose a framework to characterise slow dynamical changes in the brain. Dynamical causal modelling finds the most likely connectivity among two brain areas.

The synaptic weights defining these connections are tracked in time. We analyse brain activity of an epileptic subject, at the focus and just outside it.We point to modulations of synaptic connections as responsible of the seizure. (NeuroImage 2/15/15)

Systems neuroscience: From the human brain to the global brain?

Building and expanding on existing neuroscience research on brain-to-brain communication, Marios Kyriazis argues that the realization of the Global Brain (GB), the worldwide distributed and self-organized intelligence both depends on, and influences, its individual components, i.e. the individual human brains.

Kyriazis suggests ways to enhance our strength of presence within this global intelligent network, and discuss how this may be relevant in changing our evolution as humans.

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