Top neuroscientists to discuss how large-scale brain systems work

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Eight top neuroscientists exploring how brain networks communicate with each other are scheduled to make presentations at the fifth annual Swartz Symposium, to be held on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Anlyan Center, 300 Cedar St.

The symposium, “The Organization and Function of Large-Scale Brain Circuits,” features speakers who will address a wide variety of perspectives from which neuroscientists are exploring the mysteries of the human brain.

“We have gathered senior investigators who employ different approaches to research in order to answer questions of how our brains are organized,” says Dr. Michael Higley, assistant professor of neurobiology and a co-host of the event. 

Neuroscience historically studied local neuronal circuits to answer questions such as “How does the retina detect color?” notes co-host, Xiao-Jing Wang, professor of neurobiology and director of the Swartz Initiative in Theoretical Neurobiology at Yale.

“But cognition engages multiple interacting brain regions,” says Wang, who is also a speaker at the symposium and a member of the Yale Kavli Institute for Neuroscience. “This symposium focuses on the cutting-edge challenge of understanding how large-scale brain systems actually work.”

Individual talks will focus on the complex processes by which the brain accomplishes seemingly simple functions such as paying attention or making a decision. They will also explore how breakdowns in the brain’s communication networks contribute to psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia.

The Swartz Initiative at Yale is one of 11 centers or initiatives created by the Swartz Foundation, which supports researchers who explore the application of physics, mathematics, and computer engineering principles to neuroscience.

The symposium begins at 8:50 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

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