2017 AFOSR MURIPO: Dr. Patrick Bradshaw, Human Performance and BiosystemsPI: Dr. Padmini Rangamani, University of CaliforniaMURI Website
This proposal seeks to address a fundamental question – What is the memory capacity of a brain and how does the brain process information with high energy efficiency? The storage capacity in a computer memory is measured in bits, each of which can have a value of 0 or 1. In the brain, information is stored in the form of synaptic strength, a measure of how strongly activity in one neuron influences another neuron to which it is connected. When two neurons on either side of a synapse are active simultaneously, that synapse becomes stronger, a form of memory.
We propose here a multidisciplinary, multiscale approach that will establish the relationships between energy homeostasis and memory storage from the organelle level to the organisms. We will conduct experiments in cell cultures of increasing complexity and in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and develop the theoretical and computational framework to identify the mechanisms underlying energy and information in these systems. Insights gained from the proposed work will have an impact on our understanding of how biological systems couple energy homeostasis and information processing.