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Title: Spatio-temporal control of network activity through gain modulation in cortical circuit models
Author: Stroud, Jake P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 7677
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Animals perform an extraordinary variety of movements over many different time scales. To support this diversity, the motor cortex (M1) exhibits a similarly rich repertoire of activities. Although recent neuronal-network models capture many qualitative aspects of M1 dynamics, they can generate only a few distinct movements all with the same duration. Therefore, these models can still not explain how M1 efficiently controls movements over a wide range of shapes and speeds. In this thesis, we demonstrate that simple modulation of neuronal input-output gains in recurrent neuronal-network models with fixed connectivity can dramatically reorganise neuronal activity and thus downstream muscle outputs. Consistent with the observation of diffuse neuromodulatory projections to M1, our results suggest that a relatively small number of modulatory control units provide sufficient flexibility to adjust high-dimensional network activity on behaviourally relevant time scales. Such modulatory gain patterns can be obtained through a simple reward-based learning rule. Novel movements can also be assembled from previously learned primitives, thereby facilitating fast acquisition of hitherto untrained muscle outputs. Moreover, we show that it is possible to separately change movement speed while preserving movement shape, thus enabling efficient and independent movement control in space and time. Our results provide a new perspective on the role of neuromodulatory systems in controlling cortical activity and suggest that modulation of single-neuron responsiveness is an important aspect of learning.
Supervisor: Vogels, Tim P. ; Porter, Mason A. Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Computational neuroscience