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Eve Marder

Brandeis University

June 26, 2024

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VVTNS Fourth Season Closing Lecture

Cryptic (hidden) changes that result from perturbations and climate change shape future dynamics of degenerate neurons and circuits

A fundamental problem in neuroscience is understanding how the properties of individual neurons and synapses contribute to neuronal circuit dynamics and behavior.  In recent years we have done both computational and experimental studies that demonstrate that the same physiological output can arise from multiple, degenerate solutions, and that individual animals with similar behavior can nonetheless have quite different sets of underlying circuit parameters.  Most recently, we have been studying the resilience of individual animals to perturbations such as temperature and high potassium concentrations.  This has revealed that extreme environmental experiences can produce long-term changes in circuit performance that can be hidden, or “cryptic” unless the animals are again challenged or perturbed.  Our present experimental and computational work is designed to understand differential resilience in natural, wild-caught animals in response to climate change, and shows long-lasting influences of the animals’ temperature history.  

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