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Wednesday, 5 pm CET, i.e, 11 am ET


Organized by David Hansel, Ran Darshan & Carl van Vreeswijk* 


About Us

About the Seminar

VVTNS  is a weekly digital seminar on Zoom targeting the theoretical neuroscience community. Created as the World Wide Neuroscience Seminar (WWTNS) in November 2020 and renamed in homage to Carl van Vreeswijk in Memoriam (April 20, 2022), its aim is to be a platform to exchange ideas among theoreticians. Speakers have the occasion to talk about theoretical aspects of their work which cannot be discussed in a setting where the majority of the audience consists of experimentalists. The seminars  are 45 min long followed by a discussion and are held on Wednesdays at 11 am EST. The talks are recorded with authorization of the speaker and are available to everybody on our YouTube channel.


To participate in the seminar you need to fill out a registration form after which you will

receive an email telling you how to connect.

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David Dahmen

Jülich Research Center

March 29 , 2023

The strongly recurrent regime of cortical networks

Modern electrophysiological recordings simultaneously capture single-unit spiking activities of hundreds of neurons. These neurons exhibit highly complex coordination patterns. Where does this complexity stem from? One candidate is the ubiquitous heterogeneity in connectivity of local neural circuits. Studying neural network dynamics in the linearized regime and using tools from statistical field theory of disordered systems, we derive relations between structure and dynamics that are readily applicable to subsampled recordings of neural circuits: Measuring the statistics of pairwise covariances allows us to infer statistical properties of the underlying connectivity. Applying our results to spontaneous activity of macaque motor cortex, we find that the underlying network operates in a strongly recurrent regime. In this regime, network connectivity is highly heterogeneous, as quantified by a large radius of bulk connectivity eigenvalues. Being close to the point of linear instability, this dynamical regime predicts a rich correlation structure, a large dynamical repertoire, long-range interaction patterns, relatively low dimensionality and a sensitive control of neuronal coordination. These predictions are verified in analyses of spontaneous activity of macaque motor cortex and mouse visual cortex. Finally, we show that even microscopic features of connectivity, such as connection motifs, systematically scale up to determine the global organization of activity in neural circuits.



David Hansel

I am a theoretical neuroscientist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France and visiting professor at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. I am mainly interested in the recurrent dynamics in the cortex and 

basal ganglia.

Carl van Vreeswijk *

I am a theoretical neuroscientist working at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, France. My main interest is the dynamics of recurrent networks of neurons in the sensory system


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