The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.
Colloquium room – Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
4pm – Myelin and Modelling: Bootstrapping Cortical Microcircuits
5pm – Followed by drinks
prof. Bob Turner, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany)
Histological studies of myelin-stained sectioned cadaver brain and in-vivo myelin-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show that the cerebral cortex is organized into cortical areas with generally well-defined boundaries, which have consistent internal patterns of myelination. The process of myelination is largely driven by neural experience, in which the axonal passage of action potentials stimulates neighboring oligodendrocytes to perform their task. This bootstrapping process, such that the traffic of action potentials facilitates increased traffic, suggests the hypothesis that the specific pattern of myelination (myeloarchitecture) in each cortical area reveals the principal cortical microcircuits required for the function of that area. If this idea is correct, the observable sequential maturation of specific brain areas can provide evidence for models of the stages of cognitive development.
Furthermore, using ultra-high resolution structural MRI, results of cortical layer-dependent fMRI can be more accurately interpreted in terms of the specialized computational properties of each cortical area.