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Hermundstad Lab / Publications
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3 Publications

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    10/26/21 | A connectome of the central complex reveals network motifs suitable for flexible navigation and context-dependent action selection.
    Hulse BK, Haberkern H, Franconville R, Turner-Evans DB, Takemura S, Wolff T, Noorman M, Dreher M, Dan C, Parekh R, Hermundstad AM, Rubin GM, Jayaraman V
    eLife. 2021 Oct 26;10:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.66039

    Flexible behaviors over long timescales are thought to engage recurrent neural networks in deep brain regions, which are experimentally challenging to study. In insects, recurrent circuit dynamics in a brain region called the central complex (CX) enable directed locomotion, sleep, and context- and experience-dependent spatial navigation. We describe the first complete electron-microscopy-based connectome of the CX, including all its neurons and circuits at synaptic resolution. We identified new CX neuron types, novel sensory and motor pathways, and network motifs that likely enable the CX to extract the fly's head-direction, maintain it with attractor dynamics, and combine it with other sensorimotor information to perform vector-based navigational computations. We also identified numerous pathways that may facilitate the selection of CX-driven behavioral patterns by context and internal state. The CX connectome provides a comprehensive blueprint necessary for a detailed understanding of network dynamics underlying sleep, flexible navigation, and state-dependent action selection.

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    08/11/21 | Structured patterns of activity in pulse-coupled oscillator networks with varied connectivity.
    Kadhim KL, Hermundstad AM, Brown KS
    PLoS One. 2021 Aug 11;16(8):e0256034. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256034

    Identifying coordinated activity within complex systems is essential to linking their structure and function. We study collective activity in networks of pulse-coupled oscillators that have variable network connectivity and integrate-and-fire dynamics. Starting from random initial conditions, we see the emergence of three broad classes of behaviors that differ in their collective spiking statistics. In the first class ("temporally-irregular"), all nodes have variable inter-spike intervals, and the resulting firing patterns are irregular. In the second ("temporally-regular"), the network generates a coherent, repeating pattern of activity in which all nodes fire with the same constant inter-spike interval. In the third ("chimeric"), subgroups of coherently-firing nodes coexist with temporally-irregular nodes. Chimera states have previously been observed in networks of oscillators; here, we find that the notions of temporally-regular and chimeric states encompass a much richer set of dynamical patterns than has yet been described. We also find that degree heterogeneity and connection density have a strong effect on the resulting state: in binomial random networks, high degree variance and intermediate connection density tend to produce temporally-irregular dynamics, while low degree variance and high connection density tend to produce temporally-regular dynamics. Chimera states arise with more frequency in networks with intermediate degree variance and either high or low connection densities. Finally, we demonstrate that a normalized compression distance, computed via the Lempel-Ziv complexity of nodal spike trains, can be used to distinguish these three classes of behavior even when the phase relationship between nodes is arbitrary.

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    07/01/21 | Efficient and adaptive sensory codes.
    Młynarski WF, Hermundstad AM
    Nature Neuroscience. 2021 Jul 01;24(7):998-1009. doi: 10.1038/s41593-021-00846-0

    The ability to adapt to changes in stimulus statistics is a hallmark of sensory systems. Here, we developed a theoretical framework that can account for the dynamics of adaptation from an information processing perspective. We use this framework to optimize and analyze adaptive sensory codes, and we show that codes optimized for stationary environments can suffer from prolonged periods of poor performance when the environment changes. To mitigate the adversarial effects of these environmental changes, sensory systems must navigate tradeoffs between the ability to accurately encode incoming stimuli and the ability to rapidly detect and adapt to changes in the distribution of these stimuli. We derive families of codes that balance these objectives, and we demonstrate their close match to experimentally observed neural dynamics during mean and variance adaptation. Our results provide a unifying perspective on adaptation across a range of sensory systems, environments, and sensory tasks.

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