Open Lecture w/Professor Bill PHILLIPS

Event Start Date:
20. April 2016
Event End Date:
20. April 2016
Event Venue:

Evolutionary and developmental transformations of apical function in neocortical pyramidal cells

Prof. Bill PHILLIPS, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK

An OPEN MEETING the 20th of April, 2016, 14.00-16.00: Runde Auditorium, Domus Medica (next to Rikshopitalet and Gaustad Hotel)


14.00 – 14.20   Introduction: Bridging levels from brain cells to experience, Johan F. Storm, University of OsloPhillips, Larkum 2015

14.20 – 15.20   Evolutionary and developmental transformations of apical function in neocortical pyramidal cells, Prof. Bill PHILLIPS, University of Stirling

15.20- 16.00   Discussion and Questions

About lecturer:
Bill Phillips is Emeritus Professor at the University of Stirling, Scotland. He has worked on theories of neural computation, psychophysics and neurophysiology of visual event perception, and developed the theory of Coherent Infomax as a computational goal for neural systems.

About the lecture:
In reptilian 3-layer cortex and in immature mammalian 6-layer neocortex apical inputs provide excitatory drive to pyramidal cells. In mature neocortex apical input modulates response to basal input by amplifying signals that are relevant in the current context while suppressing those that are irrelevant or interfering as hypothesized by the theory of coherent infomax. This context-sensitive flexibility depends upon HCN channels that have a long post-natal developmental time-course, and which tend to isolate distal apical input from the soma unless they are closed by the adrenergic system. Adrenergic arousal turns apical amplification (AA) on when we awake and turns it up when we attend, thus suggesting that AA is closely related to conscious state, as others have suggested. Computational studies indicate that AA can be used in algorithms for Gestalt organization, contextual disambiguation, priming, attention, and invariant object recognition. It is likely that malfunctions of AA are involved in the altered conscious states that occur in several neurodevelopmental and psychotic disorders. For an open-access review see:

All are welcome.

Sponsored by: The Human Brain Project, and SERTA; the Changing Brain

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