TSVP Talk: "Can We Hope for Simplicity When Describing the Brain?" by Dr. Leenoy Meshulam

Date

Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 16:00 to 17:10

Location

L4E48, Zoom

Description

Dr. Leenoy Meshulam is visiting OIST until 2022/07/31 through the "Theoretical Sciences Visiting Program" (TSVP). Find out more about the TSVP in this news article or the program website.
She will present her research in this seminar in an accessible manner. All students and researchers are welcome and encouraged to ask questions after the talk. Guests from outside OIST are welcome to join via Zoom.

Title: Can We Hope for Simplicity When Describing the Brain?

Abstract: Every moment, whether we are listening to a symphony or shooting a basketball, millions of neurons in our brain furiously interact with each other. This interaction allows the brain to execute highly complex computations, involving the concerted activity of many individual units. To understand such complexity in other systems, we routinely use simplified models. For example, to understand the weather system we do not follow every water molecule in the air, but rather rely on the interaction between coarse-grained quantities of density and pressure. To achieve such intuitive understanding for the brain we seek theoretical approaches that can simplify the rich dynamics of neural activity. I will show how by drawing on concepts from statistical physics such as Ising models and renormalization group, we can capture the collective nature of neural activity. Additionally, I will explain how the scaling we have uncovered in the system allows us to remain optimistic, and how it hints that emergent simplicity does indeed exist in the highly complex system that is the brain.

Profile: Leenoy Meshulam is a Swartz Theory Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Washington, Seattle. She works at the interface of physics and neuroscience, mainly drawing on theoretical frameworks from statistical physics and dynamical systems to uncover principles of brain function.  She is particularly interested in how function emerges from the coordinated activity of large neuronal populations. Dr. Meshulam received her PhD from Princeton University in 2018. Prior to that she completed her undergraduate and masters at Tel Aviv University, Israel. Here at OIST she is looking forward to fruitful interactions and collaborations. 
She will be visiting until July 31st, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: leenoy.meshulam@oist.jp

Language: English, no interpretation.
Target audience: General audience / all students and researchers at OIST.
Freely accessible to all OIST members and guests without registration.

This talk will also be broadcast online via Zoom:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID:    981 1749 8672
Passcode:    666863

 

 

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