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Mar 14 2024

LIN Seminar: “Birdsong Learning: From Intrinsic Neuronal Properties to Network Encoding of Sequences of Vocal Movements and Error” by Daniel Margoliash (University of Chicago)

March 14, 2024


4289 SELE

Please join us on March 14th, 2024 at 4pm for a LIN Seminar featuring "Birdsong Learning: From Intrinsic Neuronal Properties to Network Encoding of Sequences of Vocal Movements and Error" by Dr. Daniel Margoliash (University of Chicago).

Margoliash Lab

Host: Angie Salles

Abstract: How does a bird sing its beautiful song? While the study of birdsong learning has contributed many insights into neuroethological mechanisms of learning and memory, just as in other systems there has been less progress on how individual movements (notes and syllables) are encoded into sequences yielding a song. Here we address this problem, introducing new concepts in neuronal network organization. Going beyond synaptic organization, first we demonstrate that classes of song system neurons express variation in their intrinsic (non-synaptic functional) properties related to learned temporal–sequential features of the individual birds’ songs. The shared properties of cells within individual birds motivates a reexamination of prior results, focusing on the “HVCx” class of multibursting neurons. A central result that emerges is that during singing the population of HVCx is organized as multiple distinct sequences of spike bursts, not the single sequence previously assumed. This yields a novel network feature, multiple prior moments in song being represented simultaneously at any given realtime moment during singing. The resultant model provides a description of how song, “temporal credit” (integrating delayed feedback into motor control), and error are encoded, not for moment-to-moment control of song output but for its learning-dependent regulation. The model depends on known lateral inhibitory network interactions with spike rebound intrinsic properties of HVCx. Whereas zebra finches have highly stereotyped songs, we hypothesize how our results may extend broadly among birds and to speech and language patterns in humans.


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

Jul 17, 2023

Date updated

Feb 15, 2024