Title: Discovering latent structure in neural spike trains with negative binomial generalized linear models
The steady expansion of neural recording capability provides exciting opportunities to discover unexpected patterns and gain new insights into neural computation. Realizing these gains requires statistical methods for extracting interpretable structure from large-scale neural recordings. In this talk I will present our recent work on methods that reveal such structure in simultaneously recorded multi-neuron spike trains. We use generalized linear models (GLM’s) with negative-binomial observations, which provide a flexible model for spike trains. Interpretable properties such as latent cell types, features, and hidden states of the network are incorporated into the model as latent variables that mediate the functional connectivity of the GLM. We exploit recent innovations in negative binomial regression to perform efficient Bayesian inference using MCMC and variational methods. We apply our methods to neural recordings from primate retina and rat hippocampal place cells.