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The role of spatiotemporal waves in coordinating regional dopamine decision signals
The neurotransmitter dopamine is essential for normal reward learning and motivational arousal processes. Indeed these core functions are implicated in the major neurological and psychiatric dopamine disorders such as schizophrenia, substance abuse disorders/addiction and Parkinson's disease. Over the years, we have made significant strides in understanding the dopamine system across multiple levels of description, and I will focus on our recent advances in the computational description, and brain circuit mechanisms that facilitate the dual role of dopamine in learning and performance.
I will specifically describe our recent work with imaging the activity of dopamine axons and measurements of dopamine release in mice performing various behavioural tasks. We discovered wave-like spatiotemporal activity of dopamine in the striatal region, and I will argue that this pattern of activation supports a critical computational operation; spatiotemporal credit assignment to regional striatal subexperts. Our findings provide a mechanistic description for vectorizing reward prediction error signals relayed by dopamine.

Oct 15, 2020 04:00 PM in London

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Arif Hamid
Dr @Howard Hughes Medical Institute
I am currently a Hannah Gray Fellow at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Postdoctoral researcher at Brown University in Rhode Island, in the US. Originally from, and finishing highschool in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I completed a BS in Neuroscience at University of Minnesota, and PhD in Neuroscience from University of Michigan. My research interests are in brain mechanisms for how we learn the relationships or structures in our worlds, and how we choose the best way to interact with our environments. These questions significantly overlap with therapeutic demands of neurological and psychiatric disorders, but also have direct applications in AI and machine learning. By studying the biology of reinforcement learning, I look forward to building a research program that is at the intersection of computational, systems and mechanistic neuroscience. Outside of the lab, I enjoy activities within my local communities, especially supporting young underrepresented scholars.