This talk will focus on the dynamics of systems of neurons, and on the potential generality of non-classical, yet deterministic dynamics in the brain. To illustrate this, I will use three examples taken from very different animals and systems: olfactory circuits in insects, the camouflage system of cuttlefish and the cerebral cortex of reptiles. One of the goals of this juxtaposition is to emphasize the value of a comparative perspective in systems neuroscience: evolution helps us separate potentially general functional or computational principles from specific implementation details.
Gilles Laurent grew up in Morocco and France. After studying veterinary medicine and neuroethology in Toulouse (France), Gilles Laurent was a postdoc at the University of Cambridge (UK), where he was a Locke Research Fellow of the Royal Society and Research Fellow at Downing College from 1985 to 1989. 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 a director at the Max Planck Institute of Brain Research.
His scientific interests lie at the interfaces of cellular, systems and computational neuroscience, with a focus on neural systems dynamics. His laboratory has worked on a variety of animal model systems and is now focused on cortical computation and evolution, visual texture perception and sleep.
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