Today, we had the privilege of spending a day with a genuine pioneer in computational neuroscience.
This talk will review two of the major types of gamma (~40 Hz) oscillations in the cortex: oscillations evoked by sensory simulation, which are transient; and longer-lasting, so-called persistent gamma oscillations. Sensory-evoked oscillations have been proposed, by Wolf Singer and colleagues, to play a role in perception. Persistent gamma occurs in background EEG rhythms, especially in the hippocampus during locomotion. The cellular mechanisms of the two sorts of oscillation – as studied in vitro and with modeling – are (for the most part) different. Gamma oscillations also occur in other contexts as well: during slow-wave sleep, and in the memory phase of certain cognitive tasks. The cellular mechanisms here are less understood, but probably resemble persistent gamma. Intrinsic cell properties, excitatory and inhibitory synapses, and gap junctions all play roles, but the details depend on the oscillation type and cortical region.
Roger D. Traub (b. February 26, 1946 in Washington, DC) majored in mathematics at Princeton University. He started graduate school in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967, and shortly after passing his Ph.D. qualifying exam, he moved to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine where he received his M.D. in 1972. Dr. Traub has subsequently pursued a career as a neurologist, professor and researcher at several institutions. He currently holds an appointment with the Department of Physical Sciences, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, NY) and keeps teaching at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Traub has received numerous distinctions, including two IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards (1983, 1989), an American Epilepsy Society’s Research Recognition Award in 1991, a Principal Research Fellowship awarded by the Wellcome Trust (UK) in 1997 and recently, a Humboldt Research Award (2007). He has served as Action Editor or Editorial Board Member for several journals.
Dr. Traub’s research focuses on realistic and detailed modeling of brain waves and seizures in an effort to treat and cure epilepsy. He has made significant contributions to elucidating the mechanisms by which intrinsic cell properties, chemical synapses, and gap junctions can cooperate to shape population output. For more information, visit http://www.downstate.edu/pharmacology/faculty/traub.html