3-part series begins on March 2nd. Organized by Mark D'Esposito, MD, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology; Director, Wheeler Laboratory for Advanced Brain Sciences (Wheeler LABS)
The Modular Brain
Mark D'Esposito, MD, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology; Director, Wheeler Laboratory for Advanced Brain Sciences (Wheeler LABS)
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 2pm via Zoom
The brain is widely assumed to be a modular system. In this talk, I will discuss a series of empirical findings from fMRI studies that begin to elucidate the neural architecture of modular processing by showing that brain modules execute discrete processes and connector hubs are likely integrating and sending information across modules in support of goal-directed cognition. I will also discuss how a better understanding of this type of large scale organization of the brain may lead to new approaches in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of neurological and psychiatric (or cognitive) disorders.
Imaging the Fibers of the Brain: What They Tell Us About Brain Function, Stroke, and Recovery
Nina Dronkers, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, UCB, and Adjunct Professor of Neuroscience, UCD
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 2pm via Zoom
The human brain is made up of approximately 100 billion neurons that support such functions as language, cognition, and motor functions. But, neurons do not work in isolation; they communicate with other neurons via a complex system of fibers that connect them. Previously, a brain dissection was the only way to see these fibers. But now, a variation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging known as “Diffusion MRI” allows us to trace fiber bundles in the living brain. We now see how they connect certain brain regions, how they are affected after a brain injury, and what role they play in recovery. We have learned that these fibers are just as important as the neurons they connect, in supporting the complex functions that make us human.
Sardines, Sea Lions and Surgery - How a Berkeley MRI scanner ended up at the center of a new approach to treat epilepsy
Ben Inglis, PhD, Manager & Physicist, Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center; Scientific Director, Wheeler Laboratory for Advanced Brain Sciences (Wheeler LABS)
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 2pm via Zoom
In October, 2020, a 7-year old epileptic California sea lion named Cronut (after the croissant-donut hybrid baked goodie) underwent an experimental brain surgery. Neurosurgeons from UCSF implanted several thousand progenitor interneuron cells into Cronut's brain. Scientists at Berkeley and UCSF hope that these new inhibitory cells will migrate throughout Cronut's hippocampus and suppress the epileptic spiking of excitatory neurons. The goal is to reduce, perhaps even eliminate, Cronut's frequent seizures. But how did Cronut end up on an operating table in the South Bay, the first higher mammal to receive this experimental treatment? How did he develop the epilepsy that might require such an invasive procedure? And how on earth did an MRI scanner in Berkeley end up at the nexus between climate change, ecology and cutting-edge medicine? All will be revealed in this not-so-tall but fishy tale.