29 October 2020
10:00 - 11:30 AM
Virtually via Zoom
Maurizio De Pitta (Bilbao, Spain)

Neuron-Glial Theory of Working Memory

Abstract: Working memory is crucial in executing many cognitive tasks that require holding and manipulating information for short periods of time. Neural correlates of working memory fall into two categories: 'active' and 'inactive.' In the active type, working memory is associated with the emergence of persistent neuronal firing following a stimulatory cue's presentation. In the inactive scenario, instead, working memory is encoded by a temporary change of synaptic traces that are void of neuronal firing, and that slowly relax back to their baseline. Although both mechanisms can be accounted for by neurons only, I discuss a novel theoretical framework that pinpoints glia as a possible further component in working memory in the brain. The neuron-glial theory of working memory adds a third "mixed" scenario for working memory, where both active and inactive mechanisms may coexist, and glial signaling could also carry mnemonic information. I will finally reflect on some venues to exploit the exploration of glial signaling, most notably in the context of cognitive reservoirs and learning.

Propedeutic readings:

De Pittà M., Neuron-glial interactions. In: Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience, D. Jaeger and R. Jung eds., Springer-Verlag New York, 2020.

De Pittà M., Gliotransmitter exocytosis and its consequences on synaptic transmission. In: Computational Glioscience, M. De Pittà and H. Berry eds.; chap. 10, pp. 245-287; Springer, Cham, 2019.

Brief Bio:  Maurizio De Pitta is joining the Krembil Research Institute, setting up his lab at the Institute by August 2021. He is currently ‘la Caixa’ Junior Leader Research Fellow at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics in Bilbao, Spain where he carries out a multidisciplinary research in applied mathematics with emphasis on translational and clinical topics in neuroscience. Maurizio pioneers computational approaches to quantify and replicate neuron-glial interactions in the brain, with the aim to elucidate their role in cognition and pathology. He is co-author of the first book on “Computational Glioscience” by Springer.

See below for link to join via Zoom:

Topic: KCN Event: Maurizio De Pitta

Time: Oct 29, 2020 10:00 Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 820 2674 7560

Passcode: 080204

Recording available on kcnhub youtube channel: