Recent advances in experimental and computational characterization of neural assemblies.

Thursday 18 July // 9am - 5:30pm


Sami El Boustani1 and Adrien Peyrache2

1 Picower Institute, MIT - elbousta [at]
2 Neuroscience Institute, NYU - adrien.peyrache [at]


The functional organization of neuronal activity that gives rise to perception, memory storage and, more generally, every cognitive process remains one of the greatest mysteries of neuroscience. It has been suggested that internal representations, either evoked or recalled, would take the form of a transient coordination between subsets of neurons, the so-called "cell assembly". Some of the proposed mechanisms have awaited experimental confirmations for decades until the recent development of experimental methodologies such as multi-electrode recordings, two-photon imaging or optogenetics. These techniques offer unprecedented opportunities to monitor and interrogate large neural circuits. Existing models are constantly challenged by new insights. These include cell type heterogeneity, the complexity of neuronal oscillations, and the modulation of correlation structures during ongoing states. This workshop aims at confronting the most recent experimental challenges to computational models describing the emergence and functional properties of neuronal ensembles as well as opening a new avenue to theoretical developments unifying our understanding of perception, memory and motor control.


9h00      Introduction by the organizers

9h10      Yves Frégnac (CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette)

              Hidden multiscale complexity in visual cortical networks

9h50      Rodrigo Quiroga (University of Leicester, Leicester)
              Concept Cells

10h30    coffee break

11h00    Kenneth Harris (Imperial College, London)
              Organization of neuronal assemblies in auditory cortex

11h40    Brice Bathellier (Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna)
              Prediction of behavioral sound categorization by discrete neocortical population      

12h20    lunch break

14h00    Gašper Tkačik (IST Austria, Klosterneuburg)
              Recent progress in understanding the retinal neural code

14h40    Germán Sumbre (ENS, Paris)
              Ongoing spontaneous activity dynamics of large neural networks in zebrafish larvae

15h30    coffee break

16h00    Aleena Garner (Allen Institute, Seattle)
               Neural Structure of Perception and Memory

16h40    Tim Vogels (EPFL, Lausanne)
              Stabilizing cell assemblies with inhibitory plasticity.