John Meng, Northwestern University
Room 306, No. 5, Science Building
How animals can discriminate between different sensory stimuli, e.g. similar odors, is an intriguing question. In the olfactory system, the olfactory bulb is the first brain area to receive sensory input from the nose. It exhibits persistent structural synaptic plasticity at a longer time scale: reciprocal connections between excitatory principal neurons and matured inhibitory interneurons are formed and eliminated. At a shorter time scale, it is shown that the gamma rhythms in the olfactory system are associated with the odor discrimination tasks. In the first half of my talk, I will present a Hebbian-type model to explain how synaptic structural plasticity can contribute to this learning. This model generates a subnetwork structure which inspires us to study the synchronization of the gamma rhythms generated by these subnetworks. In the second half, I will explain the mechanism of one anti-intuition phenomenon we observe: how the synchronization of population rhythms is achieved by uncorrelated noise.