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CPIN Neurotalk

All CPIN students are invited to attend Neurotalk, a series of informal neuroscience-themed discussion sessions.

Facebook page located at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CPINneurotalk/

Previous CPIN Neurotalk:

CPIN Neurotalk 20: Big Data in Neuroscience

Grad Room, northeast corner of Spadina & Harbord, in the Second Cup, downstairs.
Date & time: Thursday, June 23 at 5:30pm
Moderated by: Vladislav Sekulic, Physiology

The rise of ever growing data sets in neuroscience has resulted in the ushering of a new era of "Big Data". From neuroimaging data,diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), multi unit recordings, and gene sequencing, modern techniques for studying the brain increasingly possess the capability of gathering huge amounts of data. This presents special challenges not only in terms of the significant technical feats required to acquire the data, but also the non-trivial issues in analyzing, synthesizing, and generating understanding from the data.

This month we will broadly explore issues related to Big Data in Neuroscience and society. In general, how do we make sense of all the data?What are some of the additional challenges that large data sets create above and beyond the "standard" difficulties in deciphering neural activity? How does the collection and public dissemination of large data sets as well as the development of portable EEG equipment affect how non-scientists participate in the study of the brain?

We will also go over some well known "Big Data" projects in Neuroscience, from the microcircuit level all the way up to publicly available clinical datasets, all of which are changing the landscape of neuroscience research.

Join us for a discussion of these Big issues!

Related reading and media:

Beautiful 3-D Brain Scans Show Every Synapse (Brainbow technique): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvXuq9jRWKE 

See-through brains (CLARITY technique): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-NMfp13Uug

Nature Neuroscience issue: Focus on Big Data issue: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n11/full/nn.3856.html

Architectonic Mapping of the Human Brain beyond Brodmann: http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(15)01072-7

A brain in a supercomputer: https://www.ted.com/talks/henry_markram_supercomputing_the_brain_s_secrets


Previous CPIN Neurotalk:

CPIN Neurotalk 19: The Interface of Physics and Neuroscience

Grad Room, northeast corner of Spadina & Harbord, in the Second Cup, downstairs.
Date & time: Thursday, March 31 at 5:00pm
Moderated by: Sara Mahallati, Institute of Biomedical Engineering

This month we will explore the following topics:

Physics has contributed to neuroscience through the tools and devices which are based on physical principles: EEG: electrical waves and fields, TMS: magnetic fields, fMRI: magnetic resonance and most recently optogenetics. We want to discuss in what ways physics has enabled us to extend our exploration of neural systems.

Beside the technical advances, adopting a theoretical physics approach to study the organization in neural systems has resulted in promising findings.Theoretical physics is about the search for mathematical descriptions of nature while never confronted with the raw data. However in neuroscience we are investigating systems with enormously diverse components, dealing with complex data. Is searching for underlying universal principles, or laws in physics sense of the term, for organization in neural systems a suitable approach?

Neurotalk 19

Previous CPIN Neurotalk:

CPIN Neurotalk 18: The Neuroscience of Creativity

**NOTE: LOCATION STILL AT GRAD ROOM FOR THIS MONTH ** - Grad Room, northeast corner of Spadina & Harbord, in the Second Cup, downstairs.
Date & time: Friday, Feb. 26 at 4:00pm
Moderated by: Tsukiko Miyata, Dept. of Medical Biophysics

Our everyday life is surrounded by creativity. We go to an art gallery, and harmonies of colours melt our heart. We go to a concert and let our body move to our favourite music. We go to a movie and chew over the quality of the story and effects. Scientists let their imaginations drive their research toward groundbreaking discoveries and inventions.

Creativity is one of the few unique traits us human beings have acquired to embellish our lives. What triggers us to appreciate innovative and/or aesthetic experiences? Is artistry a faculty anyone can achieve? What sparks creative thinking?

This month, we are going to explore these questions with help of current knowledge in Neuroscience. Let’s rack our brains about why our brain is hungry for creativity!

Related reading and media:

Neuroscience of genius, creativity, and improvisation with Heather Berlin

Benefits of playing musical instruments

Music and memory: The iPod project

Music, the food of neuroscience:

Brain correlates of music and emotions:

Neurotalk 18

Previous CPIN Neurotalk:

CPIN Neurotalk 17: The Neuroscience of Dreams

**NOTE NEW LOCATION & TIME*** - Grad Room, northeast corner of Spadina & Harbord, in the Second Cup, downstairs.
Date & time: Friday, January 15th at 4:00pm

Moderated by: Kairavi Shah

By the time we die, about 6 years of our time is spent dreaming. Our discussion this month is inspired by this phenomenon of Dreams –a strange mystery of our minds and brains. For centuries, dreams have intrigued philosophers and scientists alike, and yet we haven’t been able to solve it. 

Our dreams can take us into a whole new world of limitless possibilities. We can bend the laws of nature; we can fly or walk through a wall, go back in time or travel to the future and even visit new dimensions and much more. Dreams have been inspirations behind many scientific discoveries. They often mirror our deepest fears or rejoice our happiest moments – but what really are dreams and what does neuroscience has to say about this bizarre yet extremely common phenomenon? According to science,do dreams serve a purpose? Why do dreams have survived the process of natural selection?

Scientific research has demonstrated that dreaming is not unique to humans.Other animals such as cats, dogs and even rodents can dream. What does that tell us about the evolutionary advantage of dreaming? 

Neuroscience has also shown that specific brain wave patterns can tell us that a person is dreaming. Can molecular and cellular processes of the brain explain the production of dreams? If so, do we have a “dream area” in our brain and can damage to such an area abolish the creation of dreams?

Where is science in explaining dreams and where is it headed? Would science ever be able to explain the phenomenon of dreams, or better yet have the ability to change or recreate them? Can we stimulate brain regions to implant dreams?

Join us for an exhilarating journey through the past, present and future of the neuroscience of dreams. 

Robert Stickgold - Sleep, Memory and Dreams: Fitting the Pieces Together

The Mind After Midnight: Where Do You Go When You Go to Sleep?

BBC Documentary - Why Do We Dream? 

Neurotalk 17 

Previous CPIN Neurotalk:

CPIN Neurotalk 16: Exploring the hidden mind of forgotten memories

Our discussion this month is inspired by curiosity to understand the landscape of one’s remembered thoughts. Memories may be positive recollections of time well spent, or they may trigger strong negative emotions from prior discomfort or trauma.Memory-expert Elizabeth Loftus once said, “Memory, like liberty, is a fragile thing.” What exactly does this mean? Is it possible to manipulate one’s memories?

Many people have been in situations which they later would rather forget. Horrific automobile accidents. Terrorist attacks. Relationship breakups. How may modern neuroscience be used one day to change unwanted memories? When ethically can this be useful or disastrous? Where are we now, and where are we going?

Join us for a stimulating discussion on the neuroscience of erasing memory.

Location: GSU Pub (16 Bancroft Ave.), upstairs portion
Date & time: Thursday, December 3rd at 5:30pm

Moderated by Julianne Baarbé
Institute of Medical Science
University of Toronto

Related resources:

Nature publication: “Bidirectional switch of the valence associated with a hippocampal contextual memory engram” http://europepmc.org/articles/pmc4169316

A mouse. A laser beam. A manipulated memory. by Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu at TEDxBoston

How reliable is your memory? by Elizabeth Loftus at TEDGlobal

The riddle of experience vs. memory by Daniel Kahneman at TED2010


Previous CPIN Neurotalk:

CPIN Neurotalk 15: Finding the mind in the brain 

Our discussion this month is inspired by questions of the relation between "mind" and "brain". Neuroscientists often study the brain by reading out electrical values from neural tissue, supposed to be the basis of the "mind", indeed, of subjective experience. Yet these two types of phenomena seem, at first glance, to be very unlike one another. How can data obtained from third-person, "objective" study of the brain be reconciled with first-person accounts and models of mental states?

Furthermore, what are the implications of these questions for clinicaltreatment and neuroscientific practice? Are there ethical concerns that can beraised by the equating of "mind" with "brain"? 

Join us for a tour of neurophilosophy! 

Location: GSU Pub (16 Bancroft Ave.), upstairs portion

Date & time: Friday, November 6th at 5:30pm

Moderated by Ayda Ghahremani

Institute of Medical Science

University of Toronto

Related resources:

Decoding mental states from brain activity in humans

Consciousness & the Brain: John Searle at TEDxCERN

A neural portrait of the human mind, Nancy Kanwisher

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain (Patricia Churchland)

November 2016