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Editorial overview: Systems neuroscience

Abstract : Systems neuroscience classically studies how neuronal circuits dynamically interact at varying spatial and temporal scales to process sensory information, represent the external environment to guide decision making, and execute movements. A recent explosion of techniques for studying neural dynamics has revolutionized this discipline and therefore our understanding of brain function. Indeed, these tools have provided unprecedented observations of neural activity and elegant means of manipulating specific components of these circuits, albeit in a more consolidated number of animal models. Such approaches have enabled systems neuroscientists to go beyond the description of reflexive behaviors or of the first stages of sensory processing, opening the way for the understanding of how cognitive processes such as memory are implemented at the level of large scale interacting circuits to support adaptive behavior. This volume of Current Opinion in Neurobiology provides a snapshot of the state of this field with an emphasis on the contextual modulation of multisensory processing, on memory circuits, or on the development of long-range interacting networks. It also offers an overview of recent meth-odological advances and new animal models with an emphasis on a meso-circuit level of description. Perhaps the most rapidly maturing aspect of neuroscience is our ability to measure the activity of large neural ensembles in action. For instance, in the olfactory bulb, Chong and Rinberg use imaging methods capable of monitoring complex spatiotemporal patterns of activity during the performance of odor-guided behaviors and examine ways in which such activity can be experimentally manipulated or even recapitulated in order to test the importance of such codes. In their review, Pakan et al. discuss how the recent development of genetic tools and imaging techniques has led to the urgent need to standardize experimental conditions and analysis methods. Sensory processing represents the most commonly studied aspect of systems neuroscience. Although other sensory modalities, such as vision, may receive more experimental attention, tremendous progress is being made in other sensory systems as well. In his contribution, Gu explores the primate vestibular network, focusing on a substantial cortical representation that enables the perception of self-motion and spatial orientation. Additionally, Bokiniec et al. examine the circuitry underlying the perception of innocuous thermal stimuli and highlight recent advances that address the functional organization of networks underlying the processing of skin surface temperature. How "non-sensory" signals (arousal, experience, prediction, attention, social context, etc.) affect the processing of sensory inputs is an important and Michael Long is an associate professor in the Neuroscience Institute at the NYU School of Medicine. He completed his graduate studies with Barry Connors (Brown University) and his postdoctoral work with Michale Fee (MIT). His laboratory studies the neural circuits that underlie skilled movements, often in the service of vocal interactions. To accomplish this, he has taken a comparative approach, examining relevant cellular and network mechanisms in the songbird, the rodent, and the human.
Keywords : Neuroscience Editorial
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Michael Long, Rosa Cossart. Editorial overview: Systems neuroscience. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Elsevier, 2018, 52, pp.iv-vi. ⟨10.1016/j.conb.2018.08.011⟩. ⟨hal-01963553⟩

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