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Damage to the hippocampus is frequently associated with epilepsy, stroke, and dementia (Alzheimer's disease), and is considered to underlie the memory deficits characteristic of these neurological conditions. The essential goals of this multi-laboratory effort include: (1) experimental study of hippocampal neuron and neural network function - how does the hippocampus encode information?, (2) formulation of biologically realistic models of neural system dynamics - can that encoding process be described mathematically to realize a predictive model of how the hippocampus responds to events that need to be remembered?, (3) microchip implementation of neural system models - can the mathematical model be realized as a set of electronic circuits to achieve parallel processing, rapid computational speed, and miniaturization?, and (4) creation of hybrid neuron-silicon interfaces - can structural and functional connections between electronic devices and neural tissue be achieved for long-term, bi-directional communication with the brain? By integrating solutions to these component problems, the team is realizing a microchip-based model of hippocampal nonlinear dynamics that can perform the same memory function as part of the hippocampus.
Date of Conference: April 29 2009-May 2 2009