Department of Mathematics, FSU
Title: French Ducks Roam Free Across Your Brain
Abstract: Rhythms in the brain are vital for all aspects of physiological development and function. At the cellular level, neural rhythms tend to manifest as electrical signals known as bursts, consisting of long periods of inactivity interspersed with rapid trains of closely spaced action potentials. Bursts are the basic units of neural information and have been proposed to support numerous functional roles, such as synchronization between neuronal populations, attention, synaptic plasticity, and memory and awareness. In this seminar, we examine the dynamics of bursting from the viewpoint of canard (French: duck) theory. We explain the origins and properties of bursting in various contexts, such as in hormone and neurotransmitter secretion in the pituitary gland. We also discuss how the predictions from canard theory can be tested in vitro.