Seminars Details

18.10.2021

Virtual Seminar: How dendrites help solve biological and machine learning problems

Yiota Poirazi; Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Heraklion, Crete, GREECE

Dendrites are thin processes that extend from the cell body of neurons, the main computing units of the brain. The role of dendrites in complex brain functions has been investigated for several decades, yet their direct involvement in key behaviors such as for example sensory perception has only recently been established. In my presentation I will discuss how computational modelling has helped us illuminate dendritic function [1]. I will present the main findings of a number of projects in lab dealing with dendritic nonlinearities in excitatory and inhibitory neurons and their consequences on memory formation [2], the role of dendrites in solving nonlinear problems in human neurons [3] and recent efforts to (i) advance machine learning algorithms by adopting dendritic features and (ii) build smart, hybrid systems for drug discovery.

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Relevant references:

[1] Panayiota Poirazi & Athanasia Papoutsi. Illuminating dendritic function with computational models. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11 May 2020 | DOI: 10.1038/s41583-020-0301-7
[2] Tzilivaki A, Kastellakis G, Poirazi P. Challenging the point neuron dogma: FS basket cells as 2-stage nonlinear integrators. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 14;10(1):3664. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11537-7.
[3] Gidon A, Zolnik TA, Fidzinski P, Bolduan F, Papoutsi A, Poirazi P, Holtkamp M, Vida I, Larkum ME. Dendritic action potentials and computation in human layer 2/3 cortical neurons. Science. 2020 Jan 3;367(6473):83-87. doi: 10.1126/science.aax6239.