Meeting attendance report: Society for Neuroscience 34th annual meeting
San Diego Convention Center, California, USA
The purposes are to:
1) Deliver an oral presentation on our recent findings at the 34th annual
meeting of Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
2) Obtain up-to-date information on neuroscience
The SfN meeting is the world’s largest annual conference for researchers
working on neuroscience. This year, the meeting was held in San Diego,
a port town on the west coast of USA. More than 31,000 people had attended
the meeting during the five-day session from Oct. 23 to the 27. I delivered
my oral presentation at a session specialized for motion and depth
signal processing in the visual cortex, concerning linear and nonlinear
temporal interactions of spatial frequency tunings in the early visual
cortex and its implication for extracting motion-in-depth information.
We had a fruitful discussion after the session.
At sessions about shape representations in the higher visual area, plenty
of groups presented their new approaches to studying how visual objects
are coded in the cortex, especially in areas V4 and inferior temporal
cortex. One of such studies was by the group of Dr. M. S. Livingstone
(Harvard University). They reported their new approach to map nonlinear
receptive field profiles for cells in area V4, together with the fine
consistency with response profiles obtained from the non-Cartesian grating
stimuli. Another such study was reported by Dr. B. Jagadeesh (University
of Washington). She reported a new, highly computer-intensive way to
extract critical features for cells in inferior temporal cortex by examining
visual features shared by stimuli that elicit spikes. The group of Dr.
J. L. Gallant (University of California, Berkeley) examined several nonlinear
operations to explain nonlinear response profiles observed for cells
in areas V1 and V4. These theoretical and highly computer-aided approaches
seem to reduce difficulties in addressing high dimensionality inherited
in input/output relationship for cells in the higher cortical areas.
Among many attractive studies throughout the meeting, the most exciting
presentation for me and surely for many other researchers in the same
area was about a realization of in vivo two-photon calcium imaging of
the visual cortex. Dr. Kenichi Ohki (Japanese post-doc!) in Dr. R. Clay
Reid’s laboratory (Harvard University) presented their new technique
to visualize neural responses of visual cortex with single-cell resolution.
Thanks to this technique, one can obtain simultaneously hundreds of single-cell
activities, with a 3-D structure in the cortex in vivo. This might be
a new standard technique in neurophysiology for the coming decade. What
was impressive to me was that every time researcher came to talk to Dr.
Reid and suggested new protocols using this new technique, he replied,
with confidence, “Next, next, next.” Certainly, there are many things
we can do next, and studies with the technique would yield a breakthrough
for understanding functions in the cortex.
Benefits from the trip:
Through the meeting, we had many productive discussions concerning
our current studies. Several reports about shape representations in
the visual cortex had close relation to our current experiments. Discussions
with these authors were good opportunities for considering our future
studies. This conference also gave me nice occasions to talk with post-docs
working in the USA, about how they can manage to live as foreign researchers.
Perspective and future plans:
Several theoretical studies that were presented in the meeting could
potentially be background to support our experimental study. I will
further analyze our data with their findings as references. The in
vivo two-photon imaging technique is promising, so I will think of