Friday, 26 January 2018 at 11:00 | Large Operon, EMBL Heidelberg
Gilles Laurent | Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (DEU)
Host: Robert Prevedel, Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit
This talk will mainly examine neural population dynamics, drawing from our past and present work on three different systems and animal species: the olfactory system of an insect (sensory), the camouflage system of a cephalopod (sensory and motor) and the cerebral cortex of a reptile (cortical). The identification of common features in the dynamics of such distant and different neural systems reveals the existence of a hidden order in neural activity, and suggests the existence of common principles of neural population behavior. Our work on reptilian cortex reveals some potential mechanisms for these deterministic dynamics.
After studying veterinary medicine and neuroethology in Toulouse (France), Gilles Laurent did a postdoc in Cambridge (UK) from 1985 to 1989, where he was a Locke Research Fellow of the Royal Society and Research Fellow at Downing College. In 1990, he joined the faculty of the Biology department at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA (USA) where he remained until 2009. In 2009, he moved to Frankfurt (Germany), as director at the Max Planck Institute of Brain Research.
General Research Statement:
Gilles Laurent's scientific interests lie at the interfaces of cellular, systems and computational neuroscience. His laboratory has worked on a variety of animal species (insects, cuttlefish, fish, reptiles, mammals) and systems (motor, visual, olfactory). His research is now focused on cortical and hippocampal computation and evolution, visual perception and sleep.