Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, LONDON, WC1N 3AR, UK, T: +44 (0) 20 7679 1176, F: +44 (0) 20 7679 1173

Workshop on:
Theta Oscillations in the Brain: Neural Mechanisms and Functions

6-8 September 2004
By invitation only

Venue: B10 Seminar Room, Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR

Please see map at:

Supported by The Gatsby Foundation

|Index|Objective|Speakers|Programme|References|Travel information|


Theta activity is one of the prominent oscillatory patterns in the EEG of animals and humans. The mechanisms and functional role of theta oscillations is currently a hot topic, with 5 papers in the journals Nature and Science in 2002-3. These oscillations and the associated neuronal machinery represent the most promising avenue for the understanding of the mechanism of temporal coding and its relationship to plasticity in the mammalian brain. Theta is most easily recorded from the hippocampus of rodents but occurs in other cortical and subcortical structures as well, and has recently been demonstrated in the human neocortex. It provides a convenient bridge between behaviour and cellular physiology since it is correlated with behaviour and also occurs in anaesthetised animals and slice preparations where its cellular physiology and pharmacology can be explored. Several functions have recently been suggested for hippocampal theta, including roles in binding together the activity in different cortical areas, providing the temporal context for long-term potentiation and long-term depression, and acting as a clock signal against which single spikes in pyramidal cells can be timed. The cellular mechanisms by which the theta rhythm is generated are also becoming better understood. It is clear that pyramidal cells have intrinsic properties which cause them to oscillate given the appropriate synaptic and modulatory inputs. Furthermore, work has suggested a role for the inhibitory interneuronal networks in the generation and synchronisation of theta. Finally it has recently been demonstrated that theta can be recorded from the human brain using implanted electrodes or magnetoencephalography. Taken together these advances provide a wealth of new data and concepts on the role of theta oscillations in brain function which should provide the basis for an exciting and stimulating discussion meeting.

Organisers: Neil Burgess and John O'Keefe