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Components of heterogeneity impact neural synchronization

Research Achievements

Components of heterogeneity impact neural synchronization

IGERT student Shawn Burton, in the lab of Dr. Nathan Urban at Carnegie Mellon University, studies how physiological levels of cellular heterogeneity impact the ablity of small-amplitude correlated inputs to synchronize periodically firing neurons in the mouse olfactory bulb. In earlier working using whole-cell acute patch clamp recording in brain slices and a novel analytical framework, Burton produced the first quantitative description of intrinsic heterogeneity among real oscillating neurons in the brain. With Dr. Bard Ermentrout of the University of Pittsburgh, Burton developed a computational model to dissect out how specific components of heterogeneity impact neural synchronization. His most recent results show that heterogeneity in input response and in range of firing rates of mitral cells each results in a 30% reduction in synchronized firing. The work may lead to insights into the prominent aberrations in oscillatory synchrony observed in schizophrenia, autism, and epilepsy.