A visit to China for computational neuroscience

September 7, 2011

This summer, I was an instructor a the Computational and cognitive neurobiology course in Suzhou, China. This was my first visit to mainland China and I really enjoyed both the science and the tourism. One of the highlights of the course was a series of lectures from Upi Bhalla who described his recent work on olfaction. An interesting finding he described is that rats combine olfactory inputs from two nostrils to smell “in stereo”. This allows them to be extremely efficient in following complex odor trails.

Another lecture I enjoyed was by Michael Hausser who described his experiments that explore the effects of injecting small amounts of noise into a network of neurons. He reports that small amounts of noise can have a major impact on the response of the circuit and concludes from this observation that any neural code worth its weight in salt must be robust to these kinds of perturbations.

I gave two lectures: one on the sources and implications of neural variability, and a second one on decision-making.









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