Modelling synaptic plasticity and the contribution of noise to early visual processing (PhD)

Neural cells are able to change the strength of their couplings with each other. This phenomenon is thought to be the basis of learning and memory, and is commonly termed synaptic plasticity. My PhD research aims to generate a single model that can account for the types of synaptic plasticity so far encountered by experiment. Furthermore, it is known from experiment that the longevity of synaptic plasticity is variable. Sometimes changes to coupling are able to persist for long periods, but under different conditions they can decay away relatively quickly. It is my hypothesis that this modification on multiple timescales exists in order to allow a subset of those modifications to be retained for long periods despite ongoing activity. This might be a contributing mechanism to long term information storage in neural systems. I am using my model to quantitatively formulate and explore this hypothesis, leading to the generation of predictions that can be investigated by experiment.

Related Themes

Related Publications and Presentations

  • Guy Billings, and Mark C W Van Rossum, “Stability of Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity”, Journal of Neurophysiology, 2009, 101, 2775-2788.
  • Adam Barrett, Guy Billings, Richard Morris, and Mark C W Van Rossum, “A Biophysical model of long-term potentiation and synaptic tagging”, Society for Neuroscience (SfN), 2007.

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