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Sunday, July 19 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm
P36: Robust spatial memories encoded by transient neuronal networks

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Meeting ID: 880 887 9442
Passcode: XC9V1u

Yuri Dabaghian
Тhe principal cells in mammalian hippocampus encode an internalized representation of the environment—the hippocampal cognitive map, that underlies spatial memory and spatial awareness. However, the synaptic architecture of the hippocampal network is dynamic: it contains a transient population of “cell assemblies”—functional units of the hippocampal computations—that emerge among the groups of coactive neurons and may disband due to reduction or cessation of spiking activity, then reappear, then disband again, etc. Electrophysiological studies in rats and mice suggest that the characteristic lifetimes of typical hippocampal cell assemblies range between minutes to tens of milliseconds. In contrast, cognitive representations sustained by the hippocampal network can last in rodents for months, which raises a principal question: how can a stable large-scale representation of space emerge from a rapidly rewiring neuronal stratum? We propose a computational approach to answering this question based on Algebraic Topology techniques and ideas. By simulating the place cell spiking activity during the rat’s exploratory movements through different environments and testing the stability of the resulting large-scale neuronal maps, we find that the networks with “flickering” architectures can reliably capture the topology of the ambient spaces. Moreover, the model suggests that the information is processed at three principal timescales, which roughly correspond to the short term, intermediate term and the long-term memories. The rapid rewiring of the local network connections occurs at the fastest timescale. The timescale at which the large-scale structures defining the shape of the cognitive map may fluctuate is by about an order of magnitude slower than the timescale of the information processing at the synaptic level. Lastly, an emerging stable topological base provides lasting, qualitative information about the environment, which remains robust despite the ongoing transience of the local connections.

avatar for Yuri Dabaghian

Yuri Dabaghian

Neurology, The University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston

Sunday July 19, 2020 7:00pm - 8:00pm CEST
Slot 01