ELEN E6906: Information Representation in Sensory Systems

Course Overview

In the last 20 years, patch-clamp recording and gene cloning techniques have made it possible to uncover how sensory stimuli are detected. Detailed studies have been made about the electrical responses of the key sensory receptor cells of the vertebrate body and from many cells of invertebrates. A large number of important molecules from sensory receptors have now been identified, cloned, and sequenced, making possible a detailed understanding of even complex signaling cascades of vision and olfaction.

This interdisciplinary course focuses on the cellular mechanism of sensory transduction. Whenever possible, the course will introduce computational models of sensory subsystems. Topics covered include: Introduction to Sensory Systems, Mechanisms of Sensation, Channels and Transduction, Modeling and Analysis of Stochastic Channels, Chemoreception and the Olfactory System, Information Representation in the Olfactory System, Mechanoreceptors and Touch, Detection of Movement and Sound, Photoreception and Vision, Time Encoding and Machine Learning.

Professor Lazar

  Interests in Computational Neuroscience: In Silico: Time Encoding and Information Representation in Sensory Systems, Spike Processing and Computation in the Cortex. In Vivo: Olfactory System of the Drosophila Melanogaster.
  Further information about the instructor is available under URL: http://www.ee.columbia.edu/~aurel.

Applicable Degree Programs

Most courses 4000-level and above can be credited to all degree programs. All courses are subject to advisor approval.

Lecturer: Professor Aurel A. Lazar
  Office hours: Fridays, 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM, EST, Room 819 CEPSR
  E-mail address: aurel "at" ee.columbia.edu
  Class Web Site: Offered by CourseWorks
Day and Time: Fridays, 9:10 AM - 12:00 PM
Class Location: 415 Schapiro (CEPSR)
Credits for course: 3 points
Prerequisites ELEN E4011 or ELEN ECBM W4060 or ELEN E4810 or ELEN E6711 or the instructor's permission
Required text(s): Gordon L. Fain, Sensory Transduction, Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA, 2003.
Reference text(s): Johnson, D., and Wu, M.-S., Foundations of Cellular Neurophysiology, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995.
Purves, D., Augustine, G.J., Fitzpatrick, D., Katz, L.C., LaMantia, A.-S., McNamara, J.O. and Williams, S.M., Neuroscience, third edition, Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA, 2001.
Scholkopf, B. and Smola, A.J., Learning with Kernels - Support Vector Machines, Regularization, Optimization and Beyond, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002.
Wahba, G., Spline Models for Observational Data, SIAM, Philadelphia, PA, 1990.
Homework(s): Three presentations of research papers
Project(s) Implementation of a simple olfactory system in Matlab. (Strongy motivated students with prior background in Neuroscience can request working on an individual project - instructor's approval required.)
Hardware requirements: Laptop for demos
Software requirements: Matlab (student version)