Fellow 2020 General Biology
Inaugural Lectures by Fellows/Associates
Heterogeneities in Neural Circuits: Origins & Implications
In this talk, two case studies will be presented on the origins and implications of different forms of heterogeneities in neural circuits. The first case study relates the dentate gyrus (DG), which has been implicated in memory formation. A case will be made that the expression of heterogeneities not only acts as a substrate for executing response decorrelation (an important function of the DG circuit) but also imparts functional resilience to the DG network in the face of perturbations. In the second case study involving the medial entorhinal cortex, that is implicated in spatial navigation, the introduction of distinct forms of heterogeneities hampers gridpatterned firing of neurons there. Here, the destabilizing impact of heterogeneities on neural circuit function is eliminated by the introduction of an endogenously-expressed neural mechanism that suppresses slow inputs. Together, these analyses emphasize that experimental analyses and computational models should embrace the complexity and heterogeneities that are inherent to biological systems, rather than over-simplifying them to structure–function relationships that ignore biological complexity or the ubiquitous heterogeneities.