Speaker of Workshop 3
Will talk about: Emergence of connectivity motifs in networks of model neurons
Michele Giugliano is presently tenured Associate Professor and Principal Investigator at the University of Antwerp. He also retain visiting academic appointments at the Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders, Leuven, at the University of Sheffield (UK), and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne(Switzerland). Trained in Electronic Engineering, he received a 5 years laurea-degree summa cum laude, from the University of Genova in 1997. During next years, he developed a strong interest for Biophysics and for Computational Neuroscience and, in 2001, he was awarded by the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) with a PhD in Bioengineering. In the same year, he was awarded with a long-term postdoctoral fellowship from the Human Frontier Science Program Organization, and moved to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Bern (Switzerland) to carry out experimental work in cellular electrophysiology. From 2005 to 2008, he was Junior Group Leader at the Brain Mind Institute of the EPFL, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) working in the laboratory of Prof. Henry Markram. He coordinates the FP7-funded BRAINLEAP and the NAMASEN networks.
Recent evidence in rodent cerebral cortex and olfactory bulb suggests that short-term dynamics of excitatory synaptic transmission is correlated to the occurrence of stereotypical connectivity motifs. The cause of these structural differences in excitatory synaptic microcircuitry is unknown.
Supported by modelling and computer simulations, we propose that these connectivity motifs emerge from the interactions between short-term synaptic dynamics (SD) and long-term spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP). Our study highlights the conditions under which SD-STDP explains the correlation between facilitation and reciprocal connectivity motifs, as well as between depression and unidirectional motifs. These conditions may lead to the design of experiments for the validation of the proposed mechanism.