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Armstrong, E, Abarbanel HDI.  2016.  Model of the songbird nucleus HVC as a network of central pattern generators. Journal of Neurophysiology. 116:2405-2419.   10.1152/jn.00438.2016   AbstractWebsite

We propose a functional architecture of the adult songbird nucleus HVC in which the core element is a "functional syllable unit" (FSU). In this model, HVC is organized into FSUs, each of which provides the basis for the production of one syllable in vocalization. Within each FSU, the inhibitory neuron population takes one of two operational states: 1) simultaneous firing wherein all inhibitory neurons fire simultaneously, and 2) competitive firing of the inhibitory neurons. Switching between these basic modes of activity is accomplished via changes in the synaptic strengths among the inhibitory neurons. The inhibitory neurons connect to excitatory projection neurons such that during state 1 the activity of projection neurons is suppressed, while during state 2 patterns of sequential firing of projection neurons can occur. The latter state is stabilized by feedback from the projection to the inhibitory neurons. Song composition for specific species is distinguished by the manner in which different FSUs are functionally connected to each other. Ours is a computational model built with biophysically based neurons. We illustrate that many observations of HVC activity are explained by the dynamics of the proposed population of FSUs, and we identify aspects of the model that are currently testable experimentally. In addition, and standing apart from the core features of an FSU, we propose that the transition between modes may be governed by the biophysical mechanism of neuromodulation.

Ye, JX, Rozdeba PJ, Morone UI, Daou A, Abarbanel HDI.  2014.  Estimating the biophysical properties of neurons with intracellular calcium dynamics. Physical Review E. 89   10.1103/PhysRevE.89.062714   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the dynamics of a conductance-based neuron model coupled to a model of intracellular calcium uptake and release by the endoplasmic reticulum. The intracellular calcium dynamics occur on a time scale that is orders of magnitude slower than voltage spiking behavior. Coupling these mechanisms sets the stage for the appearance of chaotic dynamics, which we observe within certain ranges of model parameter values. We then explore the question of whether one can, using observed voltage data alone, estimate the states and parameters of the voltage plus calcium (V+Ca) dynamics model. We find the answer is negative. Indeed, we show that voltage plus another observed quantity must be known to allow the estimation to be accurate. We show that observing both the voltage time course V (t) and the intracellular Ca time course will permit accurate estimation, and from the estimated model state, accurate prediction after observations are completed. This sets the stage for how one will be able to use a more detailed model of V+Ca dynamics in neuron activity in the analysis of experimental data on individual neurons as well as functional networks in which the nodes (neurons) have these biophysical properties.