S16  From sensation to action: shaping neuronal representations during learning

Janelle Pakan (Magdeburg)

Live Discussion: Thursday, March 25, 2021, 18:00 - 19:00h

Learning and memory serve a critical function in allowing organisms to alter their behavior in the face of changing environments. For instance, during goal-oriented behaviours, the environment presents an enormous amount of both relevant and non-relevant information to our sensory systems, we must then make complex and coordinated motor movements to adapt to this sensory input to ultimately achieve a successful behavioural outcome. These procedures will be learned and optimized over time and in specific contextual situations. Computationally, successful goal-oriented navigation through the environment is daunting and requires multiple brain regions and systems working together, from sensation to motor control, and from learning associations to long-term memory function. Yet, all animals perform these goals every day with relative ease. What allows us to make these decisions in complex, multidimensional environments with such efficiency? Part of the answer lies in the way the brain forms efficient task-specific representations. In this symposium, we follow the path of information processing from sensory perception, to controlled motor output, to context discrimination and memory processes across learning. At each level, perception and action influence each other to produce unique neuronal representations of task elements in various brain regions. To examine these aspects across learning, scientists need to decipher the neural networks that produce and decode these communication signals. Given the size of the brain, the number of neurons, and the distributed nature of neural activity, it is increasingly clear that we need advanced systems to directly ‘visualize’ this activity in real-time. Therefore, in this symposium, we explore the questions of perception, learning and memory using advanced in vivo calcium imaging in awake-behaving animals and apply associated state-of-the-art techniques in order to gather information about their coordinated dynamics in larger network ensembles and pathways. In this way, each speaker will reveal important insights into how individual neurons contribute to the coding of specific task-relevant information within neural networks.

The Göttingen Meeting gratefully acknowledges the financial support of VectorBuilder.
S16-1 Janelle Pakan, Magdeburg, Germany
Active behaviours shape fundamental information processing in sensory cortex

S16-2 Julian Ammer, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Inhibition suppresses membrane potential variability to stabilize motor cortical output

S16-3 Hannah Muysers, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Long-term stability of prefrontal principal cell assemblies representing contextual task rules

S16-4 Alexander Dityatev, Magdeburg, Germany
Context value updating and multidimensional neuronal encoding in the retrosplenial cortex

S16-5 Sanja Bauer Mikulovic, Magdeburg, Germany
Functionally distinct hippocampal rhythms and circuits underly location-specific motor, appetitive and aversive learning

S16-6 Petra Mocellin, Magdeburg, Germany
Glutamatergic septal inputs to VTA modulate movement onset and speed in a state-dependent manner