Statistical analysis of neuronal data: Development of quantitative frameworks and application to microelectrode array analysis and cell type classification

Cotterill, Ellese (2017-10-01)


With increasing amounts of data being collected in various fields of neuroscience, there is a growing need for robust techniques for the analysis of this information. This thesis focuses on the evaluation and development of quantitative frameworks for the analysis and classification of neuronal data from a variety of contexts. Firstly, I investigate methods for analysing spontaneous neuronal network activity recorded on microelectrode arrays (MEAs). I perform an unbiased evaluation of the existing techniques for detecting ‘bursts’ of neuronal activity in these types of recordings, and provide recommendations for the robust analysis of bursting activity in a range of contexts using both existing and adapted burst detection methods. These techniques are then used to analyse bursting activity in novel recordings of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neuronal networks. Results from this review of burst analysis methods are then used to inform the development of a framework for characterising the activity of neuronal networks recorded on MEAs, using properties of bursting as well as other common features of spontaneous activity. Using this framework, I examine the ontogeny of spontaneous network activity in in vitro neuronal networks from various brain regions, recorded on both single and multi-well MEAs. I also develop a framework for classifying these recordings according to their network type, based on quantitative features of their activity patterns. Next, I take a multi-view approach to classifying neuronal cell types using both the morphological and electrophysiological features of cells. I show that a number of multi-view clustering algorithms can more reliably differentiate between neuronal cell types in two existing data sets, compared to single-view clustering techniques applied to either the morphological or electrophysiological ‘view’ of the data, or a concatenation of the two views. To close, I examine the properties of the cell types identified by these methods.