University of Cambridge > > CamBRAIN Virtual Journal Club > Networking—the key to success… especially in the brain.

Networking—the key to success… especially in the brain.

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Katharina Zuhlsdorff.

In our everyday lives, we form connections and build up social networks that allow us to function successfully as individuals and as a society. Our social networks tend to include well-connected individuals who link us to other groups of people that we might otherwise have limited access to. In addition, we are more likely to befriend individuals who a) live nearby and b) have mutual friends. Interestingly, neurons tend to do the same…until development is perturbed. Just like social networks, neuronal networks require highly connected hubs to elicit efficient communication at minimal cost (you can’t befriend everybody you meet, nor can every neuron wire with every other!). This talk will cover some of Alex’s work showing that microscopic (cellular scale) brain networks inferred from spontaneous activity show similar complex topology to that previously described in macroscopic human brain scans. The talk will also discuss what happens when neurodevelopment is disrupted in the case of a monogenic disorder called Rett Syndrome. This will include simulations of neuronal activity and the effects of manipulation of model parameters as well as what happens when we manipulate real developing networks using optogenetics. If functional development can be restored in atypical networks, this may have implications for treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders like Rett Syndrome.

This talk is part of the CamBRAIN Virtual Journal Club series.

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