Jordi Soriano, University of Barcelona, Spain
Title: "Activity, connectivity and other challenges in living neuronal networks"
Visualizing activity in living neuronal circuits, and in particular the human brain, has been a major quest since the discovery of the neurons and their intricate interconnectivity about a hundred years ago. In this quest, the last decade has witnessed unprecedented advances in microscopy, imaging, and computation which, step by step, are helping to delineate the modus operandi of neuronal circuits. Many experimental approaches and analysis tools are based on the recording of activity in neuronal circuits, either evoked or spontaneous, to later infer statistical relations between the regions under study. Since activity depends on the underpinned circuitry, a pivotal question is how accurately one can decipher the structure of a neuronal circuitry just from activity data. In this talk I will review recent advances in the goal of measuring activity in neuronal circuits, the dissection of the structural connectivity, and the importance of developing strategies to infer connectivity from dynamics. I will also tackle the applicability of these approaches to current neuroscience, for instance to detect circuitry anomalies caused by neurological disorders, or to assess the resilience of neuronal networks to damage.
Jordi was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1970. He studied Physics at the University of Barcelona, where he also undertook a PhD in interfacial instabilities in fluids. In 2003 he switched to biophysics, and carried out a postdoc in Bayreuth, Germany, to study dynamics in multicellular organisms and, in particular, the formation of the foot- head axis in metazoans. In 2005 he started a second postdoc at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where he developed new experimental techniques to study connectivity in living neuronal networks. Since 2009 Jordi is the head of a research group in neuroscience at the University of Barcelona, where he investigates spontaneous activity and collective phenomena in neuronal cultures. Webpage: soriano-lab.eu