Director of Biomathematics, Florida State University
"Modeling of the Neural Circuitry for Birdsong Production"
Mathematical models have been used in neuroscience since the dawn of modern neuroscience in the mid-twentieth century. Although experimental neuroscientists far outnumber computational neuroscientists, there is now general appreciation of the contribution that modeling and computer simulation can make to understanding the behavior of single neurons and neural circuits. In this presentation I will give a brief history of how mathematical modeling has entered into the field of neuroscience, and then consider the neural circuitry underlying the learned singing behavior of the male zebra finch. This is a good example of a learned repetitive behavior, with similarities to human speech learning or learning to play scales on a musical instrument.