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1.  Multivariate Phase–Amplitude Cross-Frequency Coupling in Neurophysiological Signals 
Phase–amplitude cross-frequency coupling (CFC)—where the phase of a low-frequency signal modulates the amplitude or power of a high-frequency signal—is a topic of increasing interest in neuroscience. However, existing methods of assessing CFC are inherently bivariate and cannot estimate CFC between more than two signals at a time. Given the increase in multielectrode recordings, this is a strong limitation. Furthermore, the phase coupling between multiple low-frequency signals is likely to produce a high rate of false positives when CFC is evaluated using bivariate methods. Here, we present a novel method for estimating the statistical dependence between one high-frequency signal and N low-frequency signals, termed multivariate phase-coupling estimation (PCE). Compared to bivariate methods, the PCE produces sparser estimates of CFC and can distinguish between direct and indirect coupling between neurophysiological signals—critical for accurately estimating coupling within multiscale brain networks.
PMCID: PMC4090099  PMID: 22020662
Cross-frequency coupling (CFC); multiscale brain networks; multivariate analysis; neuronal oscillations; phase–amplitude coupling (PAC)
3.  Exploring the Function of Neural Oscillations in Early Sensory Systems 
Neuronal oscillations appear throughout the nervous system, in structures as diverse as the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, subcortical nuclei and sense organs. Whether neural rhythms contribute to normal function, are merely epiphenomena, or even interfere with physiological processing are topics of vigorous debate. Sensory pathways are ideal for investigation of oscillatory activity because their inputs can be defined. Thus, we will focus on sensory systems as we ask how neural oscillations arise and how they might encode information about the stimulus. We will highlight recent work in the early visual pathway that shows how oscillations can multiplex different types of signals to increase the amount of information that spike trains encode and transmit. Last, we will describe oscillation-based models of visual processing and explore how they might guide further research.
PMCID: PMC2891629  PMID: 20582272
LGN; retina; visual coding; oscillations; multiplexing
4.  Retinal Oscillations Carry Visual Information to Cortex 
Thalamic relay cells fire action potentials that transmit information from retina to cortex. The amount of information that spike trains encode is usually estimated from the precision of spike timing with respect to the stimulus. Sensory input, however, is only one factor that influences neural activity. For example, intrinsic dynamics, such as oscillations of networks of neurons, also modulate firing pattern. Here, we asked if retinal oscillations might help to convey information to neurons downstream. Specifically, we made whole-cell recordings from relay cells to reveal retinal inputs (EPSPs) and thalamic outputs (spikes) and then analyzed these events with information theory. Our results show that thalamic spike trains operate as two multiplexed channels. One channel, which occupies a low frequency band (<30 Hz), is encoded by average firing rate with respect to the stimulus and carries information about local changes in the visual field over time. The other operates in the gamma frequency band (40–80 Hz) and is encoded by spike timing relative to retinal oscillations. At times, the second channel conveyed even more information than the first. Because retinal oscillations involve extensive networks of ganglion cells, it is likely that the second channel transmits information about global features of the visual scene.
PMCID: PMC2674373  PMID: 19404487
LGN; retina; visual coding; natural stimuli; oscillations
5.  Feedforward Excitation and Inhibition Evoke Dual Modes of Firing in the Cat’s Visual Thalamus during Naturalistic Viewing 
Neuron  2007;55(3):465-478.
Thalamic relay cells transmit information from retina to cortex by firing either rapid bursts or tonic trains of spikes. Bursts occur when the membrane voltage is low, as during sleep, because they depend on channels that cannot respond to excitatory input unless they are primed by strong hyperpolarization. Cells fire tonically when depolarized, as during waking. Thus, mode of firing is usually associated with behavioral state. Growing evidence, however, suggests that sensory processing involves both burst and tonic spikes. To ask if visually evoked synaptic responses induce each type of firing, we recorded intracellular responses to natural movies from relay cells and developed methods to map the receptive fields of the excitation and inhibition that the images evoked. In addition to tonic spikes, the movies routinely elicited lasting inhibition from the center of the receptive field that permitted bursts to fire. Therefore, naturally evoked patterns of synaptic input engage dual modes of firing.
PMCID: PMC2587266  PMID: 17678858

Results 1-5 (5)