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Romani Lab / Publications
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4 Publications

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    12/17/15 | Neural Network Model of Memory Retrieval.
    Recanatesi S, Katkov M, Romani S, Tsodyks M
    Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2015 Dec 17;9:149. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2015.00149

    Human memory can store large amount of information. Nevertheless, recalling is often a challenging task. In a classical free recall paradigm, where participants are asked to repeat a briefly presented list of words, people make mistakes for lists as short as 5 words. We present a model for memory retrieval based on a Hopfield neural network where transition between items are determined by similarities in their long-term memory representations. Meanfield analysis of the model reveals stable states of the network corresponding (1) to single memory representations and (2) intersection between memory representations. We show that oscillating feedback inhibition in the presence of noise induces transitions between these states triggering the retrieval of different memories. The network dynamics qualitatively predicts the distribution of time intervals required to recall new memory items observed in experiments. It shows that items having larger number of neurons in their representation are statistically easier to recall and reveals possible bottlenecks in our ability of retrieving memories. Overall, we propose a neural network model of information retrieval broadly compatible with experimental observations and is consistent with our recent graphical model (Romani et al., 2013).

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    02/01/15 | Theta sequences are essential for internally generated hippocampal firing fields.
    Wang Y, Romani S, Lustig B, Leonardo A, Pastalkova E
    Nature Neuroscience. 2015 Feb;18(2):282-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.3904

    Sensory cue inputs and memory-related internal brain activities govern the firing of hippocampal neurons, but which specific firing patterns are induced by either of the two processes remains unclear. We found that sensory cues guided the firing of neurons in rats on a timescale of seconds and supported the formation of spatial firing fields. Independently of the sensory inputs, the memory-related network activity coordinated the firing of neurons not only on a second-long timescale, but also on a millisecond-long timescale, and was dependent on medial septum inputs. We propose a network mechanism that might coordinate this internally generated firing. Overall, we suggest that two independent mechanisms support the formation of spatial firing fields in hippocampus, but only the internally organized system supports short-timescale sequential firing and episodic memory.

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    01/15/15 | Effects of long-term representations on free recall of unrelated words.
    Katkov M, Romani S, Tsodyks M
    Learning & Memory. 2015 Jan 15;22(2):101-8. doi: 10.1101/lm.035238.114

    Human memory stores vast amounts of information. Yet recalling this information is often challenging when specific cues are lacking. Here we consider an associative model of retrieval where each recalled item triggers the recall of the next item based on the similarity between their long-term neuronal representations. The model predicts that different items stored in memory have different probability to be recalled depending on the size of their representation. Moreover, items with high recall probability tend to be recalled earlier and suppress other items. We performed an analysis of a large data set on free recall and found a highly specific pattern of statistical dependencies predicted by the model, in particular negative correlations between the number of words recalled and their average recall probability. Taken together, experimental and modeling results presented here reveal complex interactions between memory items during recall that severely constrain recall capacity.

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    01/01/15 | Short-term plasticity based network model of place cells dynamics.
    Romani S, Tsodyks M
    Hippocampus. 2015 Jan;25(1):94-105. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22355

    Rodent hippocampus exhibits strikingly different regimes of population activity in different behavioral states. During locomotion, hippocampal activity oscillates at theta frequency (5-12 Hz) and cells fire at specific locations in the environment, the place fields. As the animal runs through a place field, spikes are emitted at progressively earlier phases of the theta cycles. During immobility, hippocampus exhibits sharp irregular bursts of activity, with occasional rapid orderly activation of place cells expressing a possible trajectory of the animal. The mechanisms underlying this rich repertoire of dynamics are still unclear. We developed a novel recurrent network model that accounts for the observed phenomena. We assume that the network stores a map of the environment in its recurrent connections, which are endowed with short-term synaptic depression. We show that the network dynamics exhibits two different regimes that are similar to the experimentally observed population activity states in the hippocampus. The operating regime can be solely controlled by external inputs. Our results suggest that short-term synaptic plasticity is a potential mechanism contributing to shape the population activity in hippocampus.

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