Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Chao Huang (Donders series 220)

26 March 2016

Promotor: prof. dr. T. Celikel , copromotor: dr. B. Englitz

Cortical Representation of Touch: from Whole Cell Recordings to Network Simulations in silico

“What does a sensory neuron in the brain know about the world” is one of the most fundamental questions in systems neurosciences. Using single cell electrophysiological recordings, neural network simulations (after having reconstructed the somatosensory cortical columns in silico) and information theory calculations, we show that the sensory information is transferred from one locus to another with high fidelity even though there is a significant amount of information loss when a single neuron converts the information it received (i.e. the information in PSPs) to the information it transmits (i.e. the information in spikes). Furthermore, different sub-circuits in the somatosensory neural network carry different but complementary information about the sensory feature space, thus could differentially contribute to the sensory processing depending on which behavior task the animal is currently engaging. Our results could potentially be used to guide the development of new prosthetic devices.