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How molecules constrain networks

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  • UserDr Aldo Faisal, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • ClockThursday 23 October 2008, 12:30-12:55
  • HouseKaetsu Centre, New Hall.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Hannah Critchlow.

Variability is a prominent feature of any biological system. Random variability poses a fundamental problem for information processing and therefore affects all aspects of nervous system function. We know much about the molecular mechanisms which govern neuronal function. Yet, the impact of the inherent molecular variability (“noise”) on neural function has only recently been addressed in a quantitative manner by the use of stochastic models and simulations.

We will focus here on the action potentials, the fundamental signal used by neurons to transmit information along the connections of our brain’s networks. We will show how thermodynamic fluctuations in signaling proteins (voltage-gated ion channels) that mediate the action potential set hard limits and constraints on the way the brain can be wired. We place this finding into the context of other physical constraints on the brain’s networks. This approach will enable us to make predictions about basic properties of neural network connectivity from first biophysical principles.

This talk is part of the Networks & Neuroscience series.

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