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Dynamical richness of cortical networks: role and modulation across brain states


The cerebral cortex, with all the different classes of neurons structured in micro- and macrocircuits, results  to be a perfect substrate for processing information as a multiscale high-dimensional analog computer.  Recent studies explored the relevance of having complex neuronal activities emerging from the transition  across brain states, at multiple temporal and spatial scales, in both humans and animal models. The  description of how the elements of the network pass between different dynamical phases, using possible  different pathways, is believed to be relevant for understanding how the brain works and what its potentials are. For instance, the richness of brain dynamics is often associated to the visit of critical states  close to boundaries separating different dynamical phases like the one crossed in the universal sleep- wake cycle, when brain activity transitions from asynchronous, strongly irregular, to highly stereotyped  spatiotemporal patterns like slow-wave activity. Indeed, the rise of complexity in this physiological  transition has been argued to be the necessary ingredient to optimally perform cognitive functions like  sensory-motor control and information processing.

This workshop will focus on how dynamical richness is modulated across brain and behavioral states.  How can dynamical complexity/unpredictability functionally coexist with neuronal engrams underlying  reliable behavior and cognition like visual perception, motor planning and execution? Does the echo of the  functional organization (and re-organization) of neuronal circuits reverberate across brain state transition?  If yes, which is its role?  

All these topics will be discussed bringing together both experimental and theoretical neuroscientists  reporting on the state of the art emphasizing open challenges.