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David W. Tank

David Tank

Henry L. Hillman Professor of Molecular Biology
Professor of Molecular Biology and Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Ph.D. 1983, Cornell University

Action potentials are a nearly universal form of electrochemical dynamics in single neurons that result from the coordinated interaction of thousands of ion channel protein molecules. The characterization of the ionic current components of the action potential and the Hodgkin/Huxley equations describing how these currents interact were milestones in the history of experimental biophysics and quantitative modeling of biological dynamics. Are there analogous forms of "universal dynamics" produced in neural circuits by the synaptic connections and feedback loops ubiquitous in brain anatomy? Can they be understood by the use of mathematical models like those developed for the action potential? These are the key questions that drive research in my laboratory.