ELSC Heller Lecture Series
Heller Lecture Series in Computational Neuroscience
Prof. Matteo Carandini
University College London
On the topic of:
Soloists and Choristers in the Orchestra of the Brain
These are exciting times for brain scientists: thanks to powerful new techniques, we have a chance of understanding how populations of neurons work in concert to produce behavior. These techniques combine next-generation electrical probes with virtual reality, powerful optics, and genetic engineering. In this broad lecture, I will illustrate how these techniques are allowing our laboratory to probe how the brain of mice sees, decides, and navigates. I will then focus on a classic question originally posed, as it happens, by scientists in Israel: if we picture a population of neurons as being an orchestra, are the individual neurons akin to choristers who join in the main tune, or to soloists who play their own tune? I will show how our laboratory answered this question thanks to a brilliant young scientist who, as it happens, is also from Israel, and thanks to the powerful new techniques available today to brain science.