A312
Course Coordinator: 
Izumi Fukunaga
Sensory Systems
Description: 

The course will cover general concepts and specific modalities as detailed in the table below. Classes alternate between lecture-style teaching and a journal club. Each lecture will be based on a textbook chapter (Kandel et al’s Principles of Neural Sciences, in combination with other specialised books described in the “Textbooks” section) to cover basic and broad topics, but will also serve as an opportunity to introduce concepts required to understand the research article associated with the lecture.

Aim: 
The course is structured for students who would like to know about sensory systems in the brain at an advanced level. The overall aim is expose students to research-level materials, but starting from basic concepts. Topics will include specialisations as well as common principles found in the mechanisms of sensory perception, and will cover the somatosensory, visual, auditory, olfactory systems from transduction to higher cognitive functions. In parallel, the course aims to develop students’ ability to read and discuss primary research articles, to give students an exposure to some of the latest techniques and developments.
Detailed Syllabus: 

The course will cover general concepts and specific modalities as detailed in the table below. Classes alternate between a lecture-style teaching and a journal club. Each lecture will be based on a textbook chapter (Kandel et al’s Principles of Neural Sciences, in combination with other, specialised books described in the “Textbooks” section) to cover basic and broad topics, but will also serve as an opportunity to introduce concepts required to understand the research article associated with the lecture.

 

Schedule:

Session

Title

Type

Summary of contents

1 (wk1)

Overview

lecture/intro

Motivation; Modality, basic organisation: transduction, pathways, maps, integration, perception

2 (wk1)

Sensory coding

lecture/intro

Relationship between a physical stimulus and sensation; intensity, threshold, adaptation, effect of background, discriminability

3 (wk2)

Somatosensory system I

lecture/intro

Transduction (general mechano sensing), texture representation.

  • Coffee break -

Special topic (extra lecture): Active Sensing by Dr Sander Lindeman

4(wk2)

Somatosensory system I

Journal club

Active spatial perception in the vibrissa scanning sensorimotor system by Mehta, Whitmer, Figueroa, Williams & Kleinfeld 2007

5(wk3)

Somatosensory system II

lecture/intro

Somatosensory maps, higher processing.

  • Coffee break -

Special topic (extra lecture): Object localization and discrimination by Dr Sander Lindeman

6(wk3)

Somatosensory system II

Journal club

Sparse optical microstimulation in barrel cortex drives learned behaviour in freely moving mice. Huber et al., 2008.

7(wk4)

Hearing I

lecture/intro

Ear, sound transduction, tonotopy, phase locking and sound localization.

8(wk4)

Hearing I

Journal club

A circuit for detection of interaural time differences in the brain stem of the barn owl. Carr and Konishi, 1990

9(wk5)

Hearing II

lecture/intro

Adaptation, demixing, higher processing (language)

10(wk5)

Hearing II

Journal club

Selective cortical representation of attended speaker in multi-talker speech perception. Mesgarani & Chang. 2012

11(wk6)

Vision I

lecture/intro

 Light transduction, eye, retinotopy, filtering in the retina

12(wk6)

Vision I

Journal club

Wiring specificity in the direction-selectivity circuit of the retina by Briggman, Helmstaedter & Denk, 2011

13(wk7)

Vision II

lecture/intro

 

14(wk7)

Vision II

Journal club

Explicit information for category-orthogonal object properties increases along the ventral stream by Hong, Yamins, Majaj & DiCarlo 2016

15(wk8)

Chemical Senses I

lecture/intro

Olfactory stimuli and receptors, glomerular maps, combinatorial code.

16(wk8)

Chemical Senses I

Journal club

A novel multigene family may encode odorant receptors: A molecular basis for odor recognition. Buck and Axel. 1991

17(wk9)

Chemical Senses II

lecture/intro

Higher olfactory processing – processing in the olfactory bulb and cortical areas.

18(wk9)

Chemical Senses II

Journal club

Random convergence of olfactory inputs in the Drosophila mushroom body by Caron, Ruta, Abbott & Axel, 2013

19(wk10)

Chemical Senses III

lecture/intro

Gustation – taste receptors, pathways.

  • Coffee break –

Special topic (extra lecture): Convergence of taste and olfactory information by Dr Cary Zhang.

20(wk10)

Chemical Senses III

Journal club

Candidate Taste Receptors in Drosophila by Clybe, Warr and Carlson, 2000.

 

Course Type: 
Elective
Credits: 
2
Assessment: 
Careful reading of the research article set for each journal club; Each student is asked to write a 1-page summary of the paper in their own words (Homework: 70%). The summary should include the context/rationale for the experiments, methods, results and
Text Book: 
1. Principles of Neural Science (MIT Press) by Kandel, Schwartz, Jessell, Siegelbaum, Hudspeth
2. Auditory Neuroscience (MIT Press) by Schnupp, Nelken and King
3. Principles of Neural Design (MIT Press) by Peter Sterling and Simon Laughlin
Reference Book: 
1. Vision by David Marr
Prior Knowledge: 

The course is aimed at students with a background in neuroscience (either at the BSc/MSc level or having successfully completed some of the basic neuroscience course offered at OIST). It assumes knowledge in cellular neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. Most relevant courses at OIST will include: B26 (Introduction to Neuroscience, required); B05 (Cellular Neurobiology; desirable), A405 (Emerging technologies in life sciences; desirable), B09 (Learning and behaviour; desirable), A310 (Computational neuroscience; highly desirable).
B26 is the most important (in terms of subject matters listed on the course’s website), so a pass in this course (or in the exam, without taking the course) is a pre-requisite.