Neurobiology 204: Neurophysiology of Central Circuits
Spring 2012


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

Location:
Wednesday Lectures :    Goldenson Building, Rm 122
Monday Discussions:    Goldenson
Building
, Rm. 229


Co-Directors: Rachel Wilson and Rick Born
Faculty: Rick Born, John Assad, Michael Do, Chris Harvey, Gabriel Kreiman, Margaret Livingstone, John Maunsell
Teaching Assistants: Mehmet Fisek, Andreas Liu


The mission of this course is to equip students with the knowledge they need to understand the fundamental concepts underlying current research in systems neuroscience.

 

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.

Unit

Theme

Faculty

Wednesday lecture

Monday discussion

assignment

(due Monday)

1

Receptive fields and neural codes

Born

Jan. 25
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides

Jan. 30
Thomson & Kristan 06

Full summary

2

Setting the limits of sensory detection

Do

Feb. 1
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides

Feb. 6
Okawa et al 2010
optional: Field et al 2005
optional: Burns and Pugh 2010

Full summary

3

Adaptation and efficient coding

Do / Liu

Feb. 8
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides

Feb. 13
Dunn and Rieke 2008

Full summary

4

“Why have multiple cortical areas?”

Born

Feb. 15
Mini-syllabus
Lecture slides

required: Barlow 1986
optional: O'Leary & Sahara 2008
optional: Chenn & Walsh 2002

no class Feb. 20

(Presidents’ Day)

none

5

Neural computation – a case study

Assad

Feb. 22
Mini-syllabus

Feb. 27
Carr and Konishi 1990

Short summary & assessment

6

Robustness and modularity

Born / Fisek

Feb. 29
Mini-syllabus

Lecture slides
required: Kirschner & Gerhart 98

Mar. 5
Goaillard et al 2009

Short summary & assessment

7

Plasticity and learning

Born

 

Mar. 7
Mini-Syllabus

Lecture slides
required: Raymond et al 1996

no class Mar. 12

Short summary & assessment

no class Mar. 14

Mar. 19
De Zeeuw et al 1998

8

Modeling neural circuits

Kreiman

Mar. 21
Mini-Syllabus

Lecture notes

Lecture slides
Recommended:
Sejnowski et al 1988
Optional:
Riesenhuber & Poggio 2000
Vogels et al 2005

Mar. 26
Hopfield JJ 1982

Full summary
& assessment

9

Attention

Maunsell

Mar. 28
Mini-syllabus

Apr. 2
Lovejoy & Krauzlis 2009

Short summary & assessment

10

Neurons and perception

Maunsell

Apr. 4

Mini-syllabus

Apr. 9
Ress 2003

Short summary & assessment

11

Dynamics in neural microcircuits

Harvey

Apr. 11
Mini-syllabus

Apr. 16
Long and Fee 2008
Long et al 2010

Short summary & assessment

12

"Cortical modules--how do we get them, and what good are they?"

Livingstone

Apr. 18
Mini-syllabus

Apr. 23
Freiwald and Tsao 2010

Short summary & assessment

HOMEWORK
 
Homework guidelines:
Each week, a research paper pertaining to that week’s theme will be posted on the course website. Your assignment will be to write about that paper. In the first part of the course, you will be asked to write a “Full summary”, where the goal is to describe the background, logic, major results, and major conclusions of the paper. In the second part of the course, you will be asked to write a “Short summary & assessment”, where the summary portion is shorter and you are also expected to assess the paper’s strengths and weaknesses. Please review the specific guidelines for these essays and the sample assignment.
 
Saving homework files:
Homeworks must be saved as Word doc or docx files (not as pdf files). Name your file surname_X, where X is the Unit of the course. For example, Jane Smith’s assignment for Unit 3 would be called Smith_3.doc.
 
Submitting homework:
Please e-mail homework to nb204homework@gmail.com by 10:00am Monday, before class begins. Homework not received by 10:00am sharp will be given zero credit. If your homework is received successfully, you will receive an automated email reply. If you don’t receive an automated reply, you should assume your email was not received on time. In this case, the only way you can be sure of receiving any credit is to hand-deliver a hard copy of your homework to the faculty member leading the class by 10:00am. Given this, you are urged to send your email and check for an automated reply before 9:45am.


Final exam

Your final exam will consist of a “Short summary & assessment” on one of the following papers. The guidelines for these essays are the same as for your homeworks.


Brand et al 2002
Cafaro and Rieke 2010 Supplement
Jezek et al 2011
Li and Di Carlo 2008
Niell and Stryker 2010
Olsen et al 2012
Yamane et al 2008


Please e-mail your essay to nb204homework@gmail.com by Monday May 7 at 12:00 noon. If you do not receive an email bounceback from the inbox, it is your responsibility to make sure that a copy is in Mehmet's hands by the time it is due.


TECHNICAL BACKGROUND MATERIAL

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


Grading

Final grades will be computed as follows:

homework - 60%

final exam - 20%

class participation - 20%

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


PREVIOUS OFFERINGS

 
Syllabi from previous years are available from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.