Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
May 28, 2014, 4:30-6:30 p.m. EST
Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation
160 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
In this lecture, Gina Turrigiano will describe the plasticity mechanisms that allow our brains to ‘tune themselves up’ and remain both plastic and stable. These mechanisms include a family of ‘homeostatic’ plasticity mechanisms that allow neurons to adjust their excitability to maintain constant firing rates in the face of outside perturbations. Recently, Turrigiano has investigated the role of homeostatic plasticity in the experience-dependent development of the visual cortex, especially how homeostatic mechanisms interact with classical forms of synaptic plasticity to allow experience-dependent circuit refinement. A major goal of Turrigiano’s lab is to determine the molecular and biophysical mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity and use this knowledge to perturb these mechanisms in intact cortex. These studies are generating insights into the normal function of cortical microcircuits and into how the failure of homeostatic plasticity mechanisms might contribute to developmental defects in brain wiring that contribute to autism spectrum disorders.