ECE/BME Seminar Speaker - Stefano Panzeri


ECE/BME Seminar Speaker - Stefano Panzeri


Mathematical Methods to Crack the Neural Code for Perceptual Decision-Making

Stefano Panzeri Full Professor with Tenure; Research Institute Director, Italian Institute of Technology

Faculty Host: Yannis Paschalidis

Refreshments at 1:45pm

Abstract: Perceptual decision-making is an essential cognitive process. Its key computation is that of transforming information about sensory stimuli into an appropriate behavioral output. A fundamental gap in our knowledge is understanding how this key computation is implemented by populations of neurons. New experimental tools for both recording and perturbing activity of neural populations, in rodents performing cognitive tasks, are becoming available. However, progress addressing fundamental questions about the population code for perceptual decisions is still limited by the lack of appropriate quantitative mathematical methods that ideally exploit and combine these new experimental tools. We developed a comprehensive mathematical framework - Intersection Information - to analyze these data and combine observation and perturbation of neural activity, and eventually crack the neural code. In this talk, I will present this mathematical framework and illustrate its significance with investigations of the role of millisecond scale action potential timing and of functional coupling between neurons in perceptual decision making.

Bio: Stefano Panzeri is a computational neuroscientist who works at the interface between theory and experiments and investigates how circuits of neurons in the brain encode sensory information and generate behavior. Stefano received his PhD in Computational Neuroscience in 1996 from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA). From 1997 to 2001 he was a Marie Curie and Medical Research Council Research Fellow, at Universities of Oxford and Newcastle. From 2001 to 2008 he was Assistant and then Associate Professor at the University of Manchester. From 2008 to 2012 he worked as Senior Scientist at Italian Institute of Technology. From 2012 to 2014 he was Full Professor with Tenure at University of Glasgow. He has worked as Summer Visiting Scholar at Harvard Medical School since 2015. From 2014, he works as Full Professor with Tenure, and Research Institute Director, at the Italian Institute of Technology.


2:00pm on Tuesday, March 5th 2019

End Time



110 Cummington Mall, ENG 245



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Hosting Professor

Yannis Paschalidis