Special session on Large Scale Brain Initiatives
Will talk about: Neural coding and project MindScope
R. Clay Reid joined the Allen Institute in 2012 to lead a major initiative aimed at deciphering how information is encoded and processed in neural networks of the visual system, using behavior, anatomy and physiology. Prior to joining the Allen Institute, Reid served as Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, where he had been on the faculty for fifteen years. Reid is a recognized authority on how the brain processes and makes sense of visual information, and has approached these topics from a variety of methods including electrophysiology, imaging, and quantitative analysis. Most recently he has used a combination of imaging and anatomical approaches to investigate how the structure of neural connections relates to functional brain circuitry. He has helped to pioneer new methods for recording increasingly large groups of neurons simultaneously in order to study information processing in neuronal populations. A recipient of the Klingenstein Fellowship in 1993 and the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award in 2001, Reid has long been regarded as a pioneering leader in the field. Reid holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics and in Physics and Philosophy from Yale University, a Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University, and an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College.
Local circuits in the cerebral cortex consist of tens of thousands of neurons, each of which makes and receives thousands of connections. A major impediment to understanding these circuits is that we have no wiring diagrams of their interconnections. But even if we had a wiring diagram, understanding the network would also require information about each neuron’s function. Recently, we have demonstrated that the relationship between structure and synaptic connectivity can be studied in the cortex by combining in vivo physiology with subsequent network anatomy with electron microscopy (Bock et al., Nature, 2011), leading towards a functional connectome. This research program is continuing as part of a larger program at the Allen Institute, called MindScope, that seeks to examine the computations that lead from visual input to behavioral responses by observing and modeling the physical transformations of signals in the cortico-thalamic visual system of mice (Koch and Reid, Nature, 2012. I will describe other aspects of this program, including calcium imaging experiments to examine the physiological properties of pyramidal neurons that project between different cortical areas: the functional projectome.