The Killam Seminar Series presents: Paying the brain's energy bill: energy use and coding precision in neocortex during food scarcity
Nathalie Rochefort, Professor of Visual Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, UK
Abstract: How have animals managed to maintain metabolically expensive brains given the volatile and fleeting availability of calories in the natural world? I will first review studies in support of three strategies that involve: 1) a reallocation of energy from peripheral tissues and functions to cover the costs of the brain, 2) an implementation of energy-efficient neural coding, enabling the brain to operate at reduced energy costs, and 3) efficient use of costly neural resources during food scarcity. I will then present a recent study from the lab showing metabolic state-dependent mechanisms by which the mammalian cortex regulates coding precision to preserve energy in times of food scarcity. Altogether, these results show energy-saving mechanisms that make energy-costly brains fit for survival.
Bio: Nathalie Rochefort studied biology and epistemology at the University Paris-VII and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. She then obtained a European PhD in Neuroscience from the University Paris-VI and the Ruhr-Universität-Bochum in Germany. By using in vivo imaging methods in the cat and the mouse visual cortex, her work during her PhD and post-doctoral training has contributed to a new understanding of how visual information is processed in the intact brain. She joined the University of Edinburgh in 2013 to establish her research group and has been awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship as well as a Marie Curie Career Integration grant.
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Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts, the MNI's Killam Seminar Series invites outstanding guest speakers whose research is of interest to the scientific community at the MNI and McGill University.