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January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Neuroscience

PI: Bagrat Amirikian

Three-dimensional Lattice Model of the Motor Cortex: Emergence of Topologically Ordered Neuronal Structures With Coherent Properties

The long-term goal of this research project is to elucidate a relationship between the structure and function of fundamental distinct areas in the neocortex, in general, and the motor cortex, in particular, by a combination of theoretical methods with experimental approaches. The researchers are working to advance the understanding of whether and how the spatio-structural constraints on intrinsic connectivity affect the segregation of neurons into functional modules. They are working on a three-dimensional lattice model that allows for a fundamentally novel approach to studying directional operations performed in the motor cortex by providing means for explicit exploration of the link between the underlying local cortical structure and global collective properties of interacting cells that are substrates of this structure. The model will allow the researchers to bridge theoretical frameworks and experimental data in the domain of very large-scale simulations of networks of simplified neurons. Two principal developments in science and technology make this research possible: extension of quantitative studies of local cortical connectivity into the spatial domain, and the emergence of high-performance parallel supercomputers.

Group Members

Pavlos Gourtzelidis, Research Associate
Douglas Hart, Graduate Student
Thomas Naselaris, Graduate Student