November 1, 2006, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM in S-5 Osmond Building

Speaker: John A. White, Ph.D., Chair ad interim, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

Note: This seminar will be available as an open broadcast to the Penn State community at:

You will need a sound card and speakers to view this properly. We will have this broadcast in room H4151 at Hershey.

Dr. White is one of the world's leaders in biomedical engineering, and is an expert on the experimental real time dynamic clamping of neurons, and the computational and theoretical aspects of synchrony between neurons. His work is of broad interest to the Science and Engineering community at Penn State.


The hippocampal formation is crucial for remembering epidodes in one's life, and evidence suggests that synchronous activity throughout the hippocampus is essential for the mnemonic functions of this brain structure. We have studied the mechanisms of synchronization using electrophysiological and computational methods. More recently, we have exploited methods for introducing real-time control in cellular electrophysiology. These techniques allow us to "knock in" virtual ion channels that can be controlled with great mathematical precision, and to immerse biological neurons in real-time, virtual neuronal networks. These manipulations allow us to test computationally-based hypotheses in living cells. From this work, I will discuss which properties of single cells seem crucial for coherent activity in the hippocampal formation. I will also discuss work on the consequences of precise spike timing in neuronal network function.

Future Neural Engineering Seminar Speakers:

November 15 - Jian-Young Wu of Georgetown University

November 29 - Diego Contreras, University of Pennsylvania,

December 13 - Tarik Haydar, Childen's National Medical Center/George Washington University