Understanding how the brain learns and generates complex sequential behaviors, with a focus on the songbird as a model system.
The research in the Fee Lab has two main themes:
To understand the neural and biophysical mechanisms underlying the generation and learning of complex sequences
To develop advanced optical and electrical techniques for measurement of brain activity in behaving animals.
Dr. Fee's lab study how the brain learns and generates sequential behaviors, with a focus on the songbird as a model system. Dr. Fee's lab are currently trying to understand how circuitry in two forebrain nuclei, RA and HVC, produce the complex sequence of vocal/motor gestures that comprise the song. We have recently found neurons in nucleus HVC that generate only a single brief burst in the sequence, and may form an explicit representation of time in the brain.
Young songbirds learn their song by imitating a tutor. Young birds start by babbling, just as humans do, and gradually refine their highly variable juvenile songs to produce a good copy of the adult song. We are trying to understand the brain mechanisms that underlie this vocal imitation, and are focusing on a model called reinforcement learning. Reinforcement learning would suggest that the bird learns its song by ‘trial-and-error' search for the pattern of control parameters that will produce the correct song. We are currently exploring the neural origin of this ‘trial-and-error' search, and have identified a brain area that may be responsible for generating this creative vocal exploration.
The new format is designed to facilitate a more dynamic arena for interactions among alumni. It will begin with a faculty presentation followed by ample time for food, drink (includes beer and wine), and exchanging ideas. Our new format allows us to drop prices by more than half!
Dr. Fee joined the McGovern Institute in 2003 and is currently a full Professor and Associate Department Head, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1992. Before moving to MIT, he was a principal investigator in the Biological Computation Research Department at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey.
When: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Where: Broad Institute
Agenda: 6:00 pm, Registration
6:30 pm, Presentation
7:30 pm, Reception with food and drink (includes beer & wine)
9:00 pm, End of program
Cost: $35 for members of the MIT Club of Boston, NH or AMITA
$35 for guests of members
$25 for MIT10 members of the MIT Club of Boston
$25 for Broad Institute Employees
$25 for MIT Cardinal & Gray members of the MIT Club of Boston
$45 for all others
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