Three papers and a commentary

Love this gif so much.


Three papers:

1) Maintenance of persistent activity in a frontal thalamocortical loop Zengcai V. Guo, Hidehiko K. Inagaki, Kayvon Daie, Shaul Druckmann, Charles R. Gerfen & Karel Svoboda; Nature 2017 (link)


2) Thalamic amplification of cortical connectivity sustains attentional control L. Ian Schmitt, Ralf D. Wimmer, Miho Nakajima, Michael Happ, Sima Mofakham & Michael M. Halassa; Nature 2017 (link)


3) Thalamic projections sustain prefrontal activity during working memory maintenance Scott S Bolkan, Joseph M Stujenske, Sebastien Parnaudeau, Timothy J Spellman, Caroline Rauffenbart, Atheir I Abbas, Alexander Z Harris, Joshua A Gordon & Christoph Kellendonk; Nature Neuroscience 2017 (link)

plus a really nice commentary :

The thalamic paradox László Acsády; Nature Neuroscience (link)

and finally if you have time and want a nice reminder about how ridiculous awful scientific publishing is check this out:


Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

By Stephen Buranyi (link)

I can’t help but quote this small chunk of the article. The story of the great downfall. Bold emphasis was added by me.

“At the start of my career, nobody took much notice of where you published, and then everything changed in 1974 with Cell,” Randy Schekman, the Berkeley molecular biologist and Nobel prize winner, told me. Cell (now owned by Elsevier) was a journal started by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to showcase the newly ascendant field of molecular biology. It was edited a young biologist named Ben Lewin, who approached his work with an intense, almost literary bent. Lewin prized long, rigorous papers that answered big questions – often representing years of research that would have yielded multiple papers in other venues – and, breaking with the idea that journals were passive instruments to communicate science, he rejected far more papers than he published.

What he created was a venue for scientific blockbusters, and scientists began shaping their work on his terms. “Lewin was clever. He realised scientists are very vain, and wanted to be part of this selective members club; Cell was ‘it’, and you had to get your paper in there,” Schekman said. “I was subject to this kind of pressure, too.” He ended up publishing some of his Nobel-cited work in Cell.

Suddenly, where you published became immensely important. Other editors took a similarly activist approach in the hopes of replicating Cell’s success. Publishers also adopted a metric called “impact factor,” invented in the 1960s by Eugene Garfield, a librarian and linguist, as a rough calculation of how often papers in a given journal are cited in other papers. For publishers, it became a way to rank and advertise the scientific reach of their products. The new-look journals, with their emphasis on big results, shot to the top of these new rankings, and scientists who published in “high-impact” journals were rewarded with jobs and funding. Almost overnight, a new currency of prestige had been created in the scientific world. (Garfield later referred to his creation as “like nuclear energy … a mixed blessing”.)

It is difficult to overstate how much power a journal editor now had to shape a scientist’s career and the direction of science itself. “Young people tell me all the time, ‘If I don’t publish in CNS [a common acronym for Cell/Nature/Science, the most prestigious journals in biology], I won’t get a job,” says Schekman. He compared the pursuit of high-impact publications to an incentive system as rotten as banking bonuses. “They have a very big influence on where science goes,” he said.

And so science became a strange co-production between scientists and journal editors, with the former increasingly pursuing discoveries that would impress the latter. These days, given a choice of projects, a scientist will almost always reject both the prosaic work of confirming or disproving past studies, and the decades-long pursuit of a risky “moonshot”, in favour of a middle ground: a topic that is popular with editors and likely to yield regular publications. “Academics are incentivised to produce research that caters to these demands,” said the biologist and Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner in a 2014 interview, calling the system “corrupt.”




Friday Paper Post – Posted on Saturday Dec 28th

I hope everyone has had a chance to spend some quality time with family and friends as the year wraps up!

A sprinkling of papers are below:

1) Cortical neural populations can guide behavior by integrating inputs linearly, independent of synchrony Mark H. Histed and John H. R. Maunsell ; PNAS 2013 (link)

  • Mark Histed presented this work COSYNE this year and I’m really looking forward to revisiting what appeared to be an a very interesting result!

2) Awake reactivation predicts memory in humans Bernhard P. Staresina, Arjen Alink, Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, and Richard N. Henson ; PNAS 2013 (link)

3) Primary Visual Cortex Represents the Difference Between Past and Present Nora Nortmann, Sascha Rekauzke, Selim Onat, Peter König and Dirk Jancke ; Cerebral Cortex 2013 (link)

  • I think this paper is very interesting!

4) Stereotyped connectivity and computations in higher-order olfactory neurons Mehmet Fişek & Rachel I Wilson ; Nature Neuroscience 2013 (link)

5) An electroconvulsive therapy procedure impairs reconsolidation of episodic memories in humans Marijn C W Kroes, Indira Tendolkar, Guido A van Wingen Jeroen A van Waarde, Bryan A Strange & Guillén Fernández ; Nature Neuroscience 2013 (link)

6) Selective Injection System into Hippocampus CA1 via Monitored Theta Oscillation Jyoji Tsutajima, Takato Kunitake, Yoshihiko Wakazono, Kogo Takamiya ; PLoS One 2013 (link)

7) Unilateral Lateral Entorhinal Inactivation Impairs Memory Expression in Trace Eyeblink Conditioning Stephanie E. Tanninen, Mark D. Morrissey, Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi ; PLoS One 2013 (link)

8)  Declining NAD+ Induces a Pseudohypoxic State Disrupting Nuclear-Mitochondrial Communication during Aging Ana P. Gomes, Nathan L. Price, Alvin J.Y. Ling, Javid J. Moslehi, Magdalene K. Montgomery, Luis Rajman, James P. White,7 Joao S. Teodoro, Christiane D. Wrann, Basil P. Hubbard, Evi M. Mercken, Carlos M. Palmeira, Rafael de Cabo, Anabela P. Rolo, Nigel Turner, Eric L. Bell, and David A. Sinclair ; Cell 2013 (link)

  • This last paper is definitely outside of my usual comfort zone, but the hype in the mainstream news brought it to my attention.  Kind of fun to check out a paper in another field.


Friday Paper List – April 19th

I might have mentioned I am always reading up on how there are serious problems with the current state of scientific publishing. I found this blog post: Scientific publishing as it was meant to be, which is about a new type of submission for the journal Cortex, really really interesting! I definitely think it is worth a read.

Also I just read this article over at the New York Times website about an interesting development in economics research. I can’t help but wonder what we would find if we re-examined all of the data from pivotal neuroscience publications.

Random links aside, plenty of exciting new papers this week and I’m kind of in a rush to make the post so I’ll just get right to the list of papers. Enjoy!

Quickly making this post as I fly by!

1) Hippocampal place-cell sequences depict future paths to remembered goals Brad E. Pfeiffer & David J. Foster ; Nature 2013 (link)

Commentary on the above paper here:

Navigation with a cognitive map Brandy Schmidt & A. David Redish ; Nature 2013 (link)

2) Representation of Three-Dimensional Space in the Hippocampus of Flying Bats Michael M. Yartsev and Nachum Ulanovsky ; Science 2013 (link)

3) Bat and Rat Neurons Differ in Theta-Frequency Resonance Despite Similar Coding of Space James G. Heys, Katrina M. MacLeod, Cynthia F. Moss, Michael E. Hasselmo; Science 2013 (link)

Commentary on the above two papers here:

3D Mapping in the Brain Caswell Barryand Christian F. Doeller ; Science 2013 (link)

4) Tracking Individuals Shows Spatial Fidelity Is a Key Regulator of Ant Social Organization Danielle P. Mersch, Alessandro Crespi, Laurent Keller ; Science 2013 (link)

There was a really awesome invited talk from Deborah Gordon this year at Cosyne. Ant research looks fascinating!

5)  A Neural Marker of Perceptual Consciousness in Infants Sid Kouider, Carsten Stahlhut, Sofie V. Gelskov, Leonardo S. Barbosa, Michel Dutat, Vincent de Gardelle, Anne Christophe, Stanislas Dehaene, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz ; Science 2013 (link)

6) Visual Scene Perception in Navigating Wood Ants David D. Lent, Paul Graham, and Thomas S. Collett ; Current Biology 2013 (link)

Weird, this is a very different type of any study that happened to catch my eye earlier in the week.

7) The Mechanical Variables Underlying Object Localization along the Axis of the Whisker Lorenz Pammer, Daniel H. O’Connor, S. Andrew Hires, Nathan G. Clack, Daniel Huber, Eugene W. Myers, and Karel Svoboda ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)

8) Distinct Dendritic Arborization and In Vivo Firing Patterns of Parvalbumin-Expressing Basket Cells in the Hippocampal Area CA3 John J. Tukker, Ba ́lint Laszto ́czi, Linda Katona, J. David B. Roberts, Eleftheria K. Pissadaki, Yannis Dalezios, La ́szlo ́ Ma ́rton, Limei Zhang, Thomas Klausberger, and Peter Somogyi ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)

9) Cortical-Like Receptive Fields in the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus of Marmoset Monkeys Soon Keen Cheong, Chris Tailby, Samuel G. Solomon, and Paul R. Martin ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)

10) The Postsubiculum and Spatial Learning: The Role of Postsubicular Synaptic Activity and Synaptic Plasticity in Hippocampal Place Cell, Object, and Object-Location Memory David Bett, Cassie H. Stevenson, Kate L. Shires, Michael T. Smith, Stephen J. Martin, Paul A. Dudchenko, and Emma R. Wood ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)

11) Auditory Closed-Loop Stimulation of the Sleep Slow Oscillation Enhances Memory Hong-Viet V. Ngo, Thomas Martinetz, Jan Born, and Matthias Mo ̈ lle ; Neuron 2013 (link)

12) Dynamic Coding for Cognitive Control in Prefrontal Cortex Mark G. Stokes, Makoto Kusunoki, Natasha Sigala, Hamed Nili, David Gaffan, and John Duncan ; Neuron 2013 (link)

13) Ambient Illumination Toggles a Neuronal Circuit Switch in the Retina and Visual Perception at Cone Threshold Karl Farrow, Miguel Teixeira, Tamas Szikra, Tim J. Viney, Kamill Balint, Keisuke Yonehara, and Botond Roska ; Neuron 2013 (link)

14) A phase transition in the first passage of a Brownian process through a fluctuating boundary with implications for neural coding Thibaud Taillefumier and Marcelo O. Magnasco ; PNAS 2013 (link)

I am getting a lot of exposure to theoretical neuroscience lately. This paper reminds me of how I feel as I learn more about theory. It’s just amazing how over my head some of this stuff is.

15) Intra-day signal instabilities affect decoding performance in an intracortical neural interface system Ja ́nos A Perge, Mark L Homer, Wasim Q Malik, Sydney Cash, Emad Eskandar, Gerhard Friehs, John P Donoghue and Leigh R Hochberg ; J Neural Engineering 2013 (link)

16)  Acute stress enhances adult rat hippocampal neurogenesis and activation of newborn neurons via secreted astrocytic FGF2 Elizabeth D Kirby, Sandra E Muroy, Wayne G Sun, David Covarrubias, Megan J Leong, Laurel A Barchas, Daniela Kaufer; eLife 2013 (link)

17) A genetic polymorphism affecting reliance on personal versus public information in a spatial learning task in Drosophila melanogaster Julien Foucaud, Anne-Sophie Philippe, Celine Moreno and Frederic Mery ; Proc R Soc B 2013 (link)

18)  Artificial vision with wirelessly powered subretinal electronic implant alpha-IMS Katarina Stingl, Karl Ulrich Bartz-Schmidt, Dorothea Besch, Angelika Braun, Anna Bruckmann, Florian Gekeler, Udo Greppmaier, Stephanie Hipp, Gernot Hörtdörfer, Christoph Kernstock, Assen Koitschev, Akos Kusnyerik, Helmut Sachs, Andreas Schatz, Krunoslav T. Stingl, Tobias Peters, Barbara Wilhelm and Eberhart Zrenner ; Proc R Soc B 2013 (link)

19) Optogenetically Induced Seizure and the Longitudinal Hippocampal Network Dynamics Shin-ichiro Osawa, Masaki Iwasaki, Ryosuke Hosaka, Yoshiya Matsuzaka, Hiroshi Tomita, Toru Ishizuka, Eriko Sugano, Eiichi Okumura, Hiromu Yawo, Nobukazu Nakasato, Teiji Tominaga, Hajime Mushiake; PLoS One 2013 (link)