Mapping human cerebral cortex: Structure, function, connectivity, development and evolution

  • Life Sciences
Speaker David Van Essen, Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
Date & Time


Location

Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010 United States

Life Sciences

Life Sciences lectures bring together scientists and scholars to discuss diverse topics related to fundamental questions in biology. The lectures are open to the public and are held at the Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium at the Simons Foundation headquarters in New York City. Tea is served prior to each lecture.

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On April 3, 2019, David Van Essen provided an overview of basic principles of cortical organization and connectivity from studies of laboratory animals and analyses of individual variability in humans. He also highlighted a new map (‘parcellation’) of the human cerebral cortex based on data from the Human Connectome Project.

His talk was part of the Simons Foundation Life Sciences lecture series.

About the Lecture

The cerebral cortex is the dominant structure of the human brain and is chiefly responsible for what makes us unique as a species and as individuals. Recent advances in noninvasive imaging combined with invasive approaches in animal models are transforming our understanding of the human brain’s structure, function, connectivity, evolution, health and development.

In this lecture, David Van Essen discussed progress in understanding the human cerebral cortex in the context of health and disease. His presentation included an overview of basic principles of cortical organization and connectivity from studies of laboratory animals and analyses of individual variability in humans. He also highlighted a new map (‘parcellation’) of the human cerebral cortex based on data from the Human Connectome Project. Comparisons of cortical organization across species reveal valuable insights about what makes us uniquely human.

About the Speaker

David Van Essen is the alumni endowed professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. He trained at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard University, and his research career has focused on the cerebral cortex of humans and nonhuman primates.

He has served in many leadership positions, including chair of the Anatomy and Neurobiology Department at Washington University in St. Louis and president of the Society for Neuroscience. He has received many awards for excellence in teaching and research and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Past Lectures

What do we mean by ‘autism risk genes’?

David Ledbetter, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, Dascena

Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D.
Director, Seaver Autism Center
Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences
Vice Chair for Research and Vice Chair for Mentoring, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Heather Mefford, M.D., Ph.D.
Full Member, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

David Ledbetter and Joseph Buxbaum discussed whether there are genes for which mutations confer risk specific to autism or whether these genes are really conferring general risk of disrupted brain development. The discussion was moderated by Heather Mefford.

Small molecules, genes and antisense oligonucleotides: Industry perspectives on treatment development for ASD

Federico Bolognani, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Head of Clinical Science, Axial Therapeutics

Stuart Cobb, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Neurogene; Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Yael Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Business Development, Ultragenyx

Randy Carpenter, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Rett Syndrome Research Trust; Co-Founder, Allos Pharma

Federico Bolognani, Stuart Cobb, and Yael Weiss joined a panel to discuss new industry developments on the use of small molecules, gene therapy and antisense oligonucleotides as treatment approaches for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The panel discussion was moderated by Randall Carpenter.

New research results from the Australian Autism Biobank study

Jake Gratten, Ph.D.Group Leader, Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Naomi Wray, Ph.D.National Health and Medical Research Council Leadership Fellow – Group Leader, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Affiliate Professor, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland

Jake Gratten and Naomi Wray presented findings from the Australian Autism Biobank study, an initiative to establish an Australian resource of biospecimens, phenotypes and genomic data for autism research.

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