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NeuroLecture Speaker Series

Spring 2014

Shinobu Kitayama

Shinobu Kitayama, PhD
University of Michigan
Center for Japanese Studies and Department of Psychology

Cultural Neuroscience: Current Evidence and Future Prospect  
3:00 pm, Friday, April 18th at MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium

Cultural neuroscience is an emerging field that examines the interdependencies among culture, mind, and the brain. By investigating brain plasticity in varying social and ecological contexts, it seeks to overcome the nature-nurture dichotomy. In the present talk, after a brief overview of the field, I will illustrate its potential by reviewing evidence for cultural variations in brain mechanisms underlying cognition (i.e., holistic attention), emotion (i.e., emotion regulation), and motivation (i.e., self-serving bias). Directions for future research will be discussed.

 Peter Tse

Peter Tse, PhD
Dartmouth College

Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences

Chunking of visual features in space and time: Behavioral and neuronal mechanisms
4 pm, Monday, March 10, 2014 - DMS 104

We can learn arbitrary feature conjunctions when the to-be-combined features are present at the same time (Wang et al., 1994). This learning is underpinned by increased activity in visual cortex (Frank et al., 2013). I will discuss data that suggest that this kind of feature-conjunction perceptual learning requires attention, is not strongly retinotopic, and can even link features that do not appear at the same time.

Ioulia Kovelman

Ioulia Kovelman, PhD
Assistant Professor

University of Michigan
Center for Human Growth & Development

Building a Vision: Shared Multimodal Pediatric fNIRS Brain Imaging Facility at the University of Michigan
4:00 pm,  Tues, February 18 - MIKC 124 Wells Fargo Auditorium

Kovelman's research interests are in language and reading development in monolingual and bilingual infants, children, and adults. It includes both typical and atypical language and reading development using a variety of behavioral and brain imaging methods (fMRI, fNIRS).

David Raizen

David M. Raizen, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Neurology

Using the worm to catch Z's: somnogen discovery in C. elegans
11 am, Fri. February 7, 2014 - DMS 104

Quiescent behavioral states are universal to the animal world with the most famous and mysterious of these being sleep. Despite the fact that we spend one third of our life sleeping, and despite the fact that all animals appear to sleep, the core function of sleep remains a mystery. In addition, the molecular basis underlying sleep/wake regulation is poorly understood.

Raizen uses C. elegans as a model system to address these questions. C. elegans offers many experimental advantages including powerful genetic tools as well as a simple neuroanatomy.

Growth of C. elegans from an embryo to an adult is punctuated by four molts, during which the animal secretes a new cuticle and sheds its old one. Prior to each molt the worm has a quiescent behavioral state called lethargus. Lethargus has several similarities to sleep including rapid reversibility to strong stimulation, increased sensory arousal threshold, and homeostasis, which is manifested by an increased depth of sleep following a period of deprivation. Similarity to sleep at the molecular genetic level is demonstrated by the identification of signaling pathways that regulate C. elegans lethargus in the similar fashion to their regulation of sleep in mammals and arthropods. For examples, cAMP signaling promotes wakefulness and epidermal growth factor signaling promotes sleep in C. elegans and other organisms. The Raizen lab has identified new regulators of sleep like behavior in C. elegans and is currently studying how these regulators function to regulate sleep. By studying the purpose and genetic regulation of nematode lethargus, they hope to identify additional novel sleep regulators, and to gain insight into why sleep and sleep-like states had evolved, a central biological mystery.

Past NeuroLecture Speakers

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University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  NV  89557-

(775) 784-1110
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