David DiGregorio - A synaptic mechanism for encoding time within neural circuits

Thursday, October 20, 2022
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Stanford Neurosciences Building
290 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
Gunn Rotunda (E241)

Join us at the Gunn Rotunda in the Stanford Neurosciences Building to learn about the latest cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond

Wu Tsai Neuro's weekly seminar series is back to being held in-person starting in Fall 2022. Masking is strongly encouraged for the health and safety of our community

Join the speaker for coffee, cookies, and conversation after the talk

A synaptic mechanism for encoding time within neural circuits


Sensations, thoughts, and actions are dynamic events that require the brain to encode the passage of time. For many tasks, such as playing music or sports, accurate execution requires the precise estimation of time intervals in the range of milliseconds to seconds. But how neuronal elements within brain circuits represent “time” is not understood. The cerebellar cortex is a prototypical brain circuit important for fine-tuning precise motor and cognitive behaviors on the subsecond time scale. Synaptic connections between neurons change their strength dynamically during brief bouts of activity, and we hypothesize that this short-term plasticity could therefore act as a cellular substrate for encoding time within neural networks. I will summarize our experimental findings describing the characterization of synaptic diversity within the cerebellum, the molecular underpinnings of such diversity, and the computational impact of synaptic diversity for encoding time within neural circuits.

David DiGregorio

Institut Pasteur

(Visit lab website)

Dr. David DiGregorio received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Stanford University. He earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the UCLA School of Medicine, specializing in the biophysics of presynaptic calcium signaling. Dr. DiGregorio then performed a postdoctoral fellowship at University College London with Prof. Angus Silver, focused on the biophysical mechanisms determining synaptic strength and short-term plasticity at central nervous system synapses. In 2005, Dr. DiGregorio was recruited by the French National Center for Research (CNRS) to head an independent research team and is now a Director of Research (1st class; equivalent to Full Professor). In 2010, Dr. DiGregorio joined the Institute Pasteur to lead of a research unit. He is now the Director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Institute Pasteur. In parallel, Dr. DiGregorio is directing a transversal initiative designed to leverage the multidisciplinary environment at the Pasteur Institute (e.g., immunology, microbiology, cell and infection biology) to explore holistic approaches to understanding the nervous system and its associated diseases. Dr. DiGregorio leads a multidisciplinary research team (Unit of Synapse and Circuit Dynamics) comprised of neurophysiologists, computational neuroscientists, and physicists specializing in optics and statistical analyses. Dr. DiGregorio’s research program is focused on identifying the biological rules governing how synaptic function and integration contribute to the temporal dynamics of neural circuit activity underlying precisely timed behaviors.

Hosted by - Jennifer Raymond

About the Wu Tsai Neuro Seminar Series

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute seminar series brings together the Stanford neuroscience community to discuss cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond.

Topics include new discoveries in fundamental neurobiology; advances in human and translational neuroscience; insights from computational and theoretical neuroscience; and the development of novel research technologies and neuro-engineering breakthroughs.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held Thursdays at 12:00 noon PT.

Sign up to learn about all our upcoming events