Neurobiology 204: Neurophysiology of Central Circuits
Spring 2010


Time
: Mondays and Wednesdays,10:00am - 12:00pm

Location: Goldenson Building, Rm. 229


Co-Directors: Rachel Wilson and Rick Born

rachel_wilson[at]hms.harvard.edu, 432-5571
rborn[at]hms.harvard.edu, 432-1307

Faculty: Rachel Wilson, Rick Born, John Assad, Gabriel Kreiman, John Maunsell, Clay Reid


This course serves as an introduction to major themes in systems neuroscience. Our goal is to equip students with the knowledge they need to understand the fundamental concepts underlying current research in the neurophysiology of central circuits. Each week is dedicated to a different theme, and will draw on research from a variety of different sensorimotor modalities and model organisms.

 

PREREQUISITES

 

Neuro 200/HST-130 (“Introduction to Neuroscience”) is recommended but not strictly required. If you have not taken this course, please let the instructors know.

 

Schedule

 

Wednesday class will be a two-hour lecture. Monday class will be a group discussion of a paper. The course schedule is available as a Google Calendar: search “NB204” under public calendars at www.google.com/calendar.

Week

Theme

Wednesday lecture


Monday discussion

assignment

(due Monday)

1

Receptive fields and neural codes (Born/Wilson)

Jan. 27
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides


Feb. 1
Gollisch & Meister 2008
G&M supplemental info

Full summary

2

Neural computation – a case study (Assad)

Feb. 3
Mini-syllabus


Feb. 8
Carr & Konishi 1990

Full summary

3

Cortical structure and function (Reid)

Feb. 10
Mini-syllabus
Ohki & Reid 2007
Lefort et al. 2009
Hamos et al. 1987


no class Feb. 15

none

4

Adaptation (Wilson)

Feb. 17
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides


Feb. 22
Dunn & Rieke 2008

Full summary

5

“Why have multiple cortical areas?” (Born)

Feb. 24
Mini-syllabus
Barlow 1986
O'Leary & Sahara 2008
Lecture slides
image; m-files 1, 2, & 3


Mar. 1
Leingärtner et al. 2007

Full summary

6

Robustness (Wilson)

Mar. 3

Mini-syllabus 
Lecture slides


Mar. 8
Milo et al. 2002

Short summary & assessment

7

Attention (Maunsell)

 

Mar. 10
Mini-syllabus


no class Mar. 15

Short summary & assessment

no class Mar. 17


Mar. 22
Mitchell et al. 2007

8

Neurons & perception (Maunsell)

Mar. 24
Mini-syllabus


Mar. 29
Sheinberg & Logothetis 2001

Short summary & assessment

9

Active sensing (Wilson)

 

Mar. 31
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides


Apr. 5
Sawtell & Williams 2008

Short summary & assessment

10

Plasticity and learning (Born)

Apr. 7
Mini-syllabus
Raymond et al. 1996
Lecture slides


Apr. 12
DeZeeuw & Oberdick 1998

Short summary & assessment

11

Modeling neural circuits (Kreiman)

Apr. 14
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides


Apr. 19
Riesenhuber & Poggio 1999

Short summary & assessment

12

New tools in systems neuroscience (Reid)

Apr. 21
Mini-syllabus


Apr. 26

Smith 2007

Helmstaedter et al. 2008
Luo et al. 2008
Denk & Horstmann 2004
Micheva & Smith 2007
Wickersham et al. 2007

Research proposal


Grading

Final grades will be computed as follows:

homework - 50%

final exam - 30%

class participation - 20%

Grades will be lowered for repeated absenteeism or arriving late to class.  

 

Homework

E-mail homework to nb204homework[at]gmail.com by 10:00am Monday, before class begins. Homework not received by this time will be given zero credit. Homeworks must be saved as Word documents (please save as a doc file, not a docx file or a pdf). Name your file 204_X_surname.doc, where X is the week of the course (e.g. Jane Smith’s assignment for Week 3 would be called 204_3_smith.doc).

 
Each week, the paper that forms the basis for that week’s homework assignment will be posted on the course website.

 
Note that there are three types of homework assignments: (1) Full summary, (2) Short summary & assessment, and (3) Research proposal. Before writing, please review the guidelines and a sample assignment.

 

Final exam

Guidelines for your final assignment are posted here. Final exams must be received at nb204homework[at]gmail.com by 2pm on Monday, May 3.

You should choose one of these papers for your final assignment:
    Lovejoy & Krauzlis 2010
    Tian et al. 2009
    Geffen & Meister 2007
    Fukuchi-Shimogori & Grove 2001
    Yamane et al. 2008
    Brand et al. 2002

TECHNICAL BACKGROUND MATERIAL

 
Additional background on some of the statistical and analytical methods we occasionally encounter in the course can be found here.


PREVIOUS OFFERINGS

 
Syllabi from previous years are available from 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.