Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Ph.D. Columbia University
B.Sc. Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Research Interests: Theoretical neuroscience
Overview: Our lab's research is in theoretical neuroscience. Our broad interest is in understanding how large networks of neurons, e.g. those in the mammalian cerebral cortex, process sensory inputs and give rise to higher-level cognitive functions through their collective dynamics on multiple time scales. To shed light on the complexity of neurobiological phenomena we use mathematical models that capture a few core concepts or computational and dynamical principles. We also work on developing new statistical and computational tools for analyzing large, high-dimensional neurobiological and behavioral datasets. In pursuing these goals we use techniques from statistical physics, random matrix theory, machine learning and information theory. We collaborate with experimental labs here in the University of Oregon and elsewhere.
Current questions of interest include the following. How do randomness and nonnormality in the connectivity structure of networks affect their dynamics? What roles do the horizontal and feedback connections in sensory cortical areas play in contextual modulation (how e.g. the response of neurons in the visual cortex is affected by the visual context surrounding that stimulus) and ultimately in the dynamical representation of objects? Can the breakup of neural response types in the early auditory system be explained by efficient coding principles?
Somatostatin-expressing interneurons in the auditory cortex mediate sustained suppression by spectral surround.
J Neurosci. 2020 Mar 23;:
Authors: Lakunina AA, Nardoci MB, Ahmadian Y, Jaramillo S
Sensory systems integrate multiple stimulus features to generate coherent percepts. Spectral surround suppression, the phenomenon by which sound-evoked responses of auditory neurons are suppressed by stimuli outside their receptive field, is an example of this integration taking place in the auditory system. While this form of global integration is commonly observed in auditory cortical neurons, and potentially employed by the nervous system to separate signals from noise, the mechanisms that underlie this suppression of activity are not well understood. We evaluated the contributions to spectral surround suppression of the two most common inhibitory cell types in the cortex, parvalbumin-expressing (PV+) and somatostatin-expressing (SOM+) interneurons, in mice of both sexes. We found that inactivating SOM+ cells, but not PV+ cells, significantly reduces sustained spectral surround suppression in excitatory cells, indicating a dominant causal role for SOM+ cells in the integration of information across multiple frequencies. The similarity of these results to those from other sensory cortices provides evidence of common mechanisms across the cerebral cortex for generating global percepts from separate features.Significance StatementTo generate coherent percepts, sensory systems integrate simultaneously occurring features of a stimulus, yet the mechanisms by which this integration occurs are not fully understood. Our results show that neurochemically distinct neuronal subtypes in the primary auditory cortex have different contributions to the integration of different frequency components of an acoustic stimulus. Together with findings from other sensory cortices, our results provide evidence of a common mechanism for cortical computations used for global integration of stimulus features.
PMID: 32220950 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]