Talairach Lecture

Zarin Machanda, PhD
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Usen Family Career Development Professorship at Tufts University
Assistant Professor, Biology

What Can Chimpanzees Tell Us About Human Leadership?

Sunday, June 23: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Room: Hall D 2
Leadership is crucial for effective collective action, especially when groups become large and complex. Some have argued that human leadership is unique, especially in our high degrees of egalitarianism and group decision-making. Chimpanzees, our closest living relative, are more despotic than humans, but exhibit variation in how dominant individuals maintain social status. Yet little is known about how individuals acquire leadership skills, or how differences in leadership strategies shape collective decision-making. In this lecture, Dr. Machanda will explore leadership in chimpanzees to better understand the evolutionary origins of human leadership.

Dr. Machanda co-directs the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, a long-term study of wild chimpanzees living in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Using over three decades of behavioral, physical, and physiological data from this population, Dr. Machanda will discuss the biological mechanisms that correlate with individual differences in leadership in chimpanzees and explore how males and females differ in leadership strategies, how leadership might impact group-level cooperation and leadership styles shapes reproductive success and longevity. Dr. Machanda will also discuss a novel project integrating data on captive and wild chimpanzees to better understand some of the cognitive and decision-making mechanisms that relate to leadership.

          Keynote Speakers

Emily Finn, PhD.

Assistant Professor
Dartmouth College

Imaging Subjective Experience

Monday, June 24: 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Room: Hall D 2 
Faced with ambiguous input, different individuals often come to different interpretations. When, how, and why do people diverge in their subjective experience of a stimulus? This talk will cover recent work using behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational approaches to understand how features of individuals, features of external input, and brain activity interact to give rise to idiosyncratic percepts of complex information.

Seong-Gi Kim, PhD.

Director of Neuroscience Imaging Research Center in the Institute for Basic Science
Emeritus Professor of Biomedical Engineering in Sungkyunkwan University

Animal fMRI at the Circuit Level: Insights into Human fMRI Research

Monday, June 24: 4:45 PM - 5:30 PM
Room: Hall D 2 
BOLD fMRI has been widely used for human brain research. With the growing availability of high-field MRI systems and advancements in technology, achieving mesoscale resolution in fMRI is becoming increasingly feasible. To push the boundaries of our brain imaging research beyond traditional high-resolution activation mapping, determining causal relationships among activation sites is imperative.

To evaluate the feasibility of circuit-level mapping using fMRI, we conducted high-resolution fMRI in well-defined animal models at ultrahigh magnetic fields. Our investigations have focused on three main avenues: determining the neural correlates of cortical laminar-specific mapping, conducting sensory-evoked fMRI with and without neural manipulations at localized sites to assess information flow, and performing effective connectivity mapping by integrating neural activation and silencing. The implications of these circuit-level findings for human fMRI will be also discussed.

Emma Burrows, PhD.
Research Team Head
Translational Behaviour Group


Can Mice Help Us to Understand Complex Brain Conditions?

Tuesday, June 25: 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM
Room: Hall D 2 
Mapping high-risk candidate genes to biological pathways using animal model systems is a common approach to understand the aetiology underlying complex brain conditions, for discovery of new therapeutics or repurposing existing ones. Many brain conditions lack overt biomarkers and thus assessment of cognitive, behavioural and motor function is integral to diagnosis and in some cases to map progression or improvement following treatment. Functional correlates in preclinical animal models have been, to date, approximate and do not reflect methods used in clinical populations presenting an issue with translation. Dr Burrows will discuss recent advances in the use of technology for assessing behavioural changes in mice with a focus on direct translation to clinical studies.

Mac Shine, PhD.
Joint-NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow/Bellberry Fellow at the University of Sydney

The Neural Basis of Cognition: Insights from Neurobiology and Non-linear Dynamics

Tuesday, June 25: 5:30 PM - 6:15 PM
Room: Hall D 2 
Much of human neuroscience research to date has focused on statistical approaches that describe relatively stationary patterns of localized neural activity or blood flow. While these patterns are often interpreted in light of dynamic, information-processing concepts, the static, local, and inferential nature of the statistical approach makes it challenging to directly link neuroimaging results to plausible underlying neural mechanisms. In my talk, I will argue that combining neuroanatomical principles and dynamical systems theory together with functional neuroimaging and computational modelling provides a crucial mechanistic framework for understanding the link between neurobiological structure and cognitive function. In particular, I will outline how distinct arms of the ascending arousal system can shape and constrain ongoing brain state dynamics in ways that underlie our perceptual and cognitive capacities.

Luis Concha, PhD.
Associate Professor
National Autonomous University of Mexico

Connections and Disconnections in Epilepsy

Wednesday, June 26: 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Room: Hall D 2 
Epilepsy is a very common neurological disorder with different causes and manifestations. While neuroimaging helps locate lesions that cause seizures, some epilepsies reveal widespread morphological and functional abnormalities. In the last decades there have been considerable advances that allowed us to appreciate epilepsy as a network disorder. Diffusion-weighted MRI and analyses of structural connectivity derived from tractography have shown how these alterations have far-reaching neurological and cognitive consequences, and are related to prognosis. This talk will provide an overview of this active field of research, indicate its applications in the clinic, and identify the next challenges that need to be addressed by the community with the overall goal to better serve patients afflicted with epilepsy.

Nicola Palomero-Gallagher, PhD.
Senior Researcher
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine Research Center

Neurotransmitter Receptors Link Structural and Functional Segregation Patterns in the Brain

Wednesday, June 265:15 PM - 6:00 PM
Room: Hall D 2 
The interaction between neurotransmitters and their receptors plays a pivotal role in mediating signal transduction within the nervous system and ultimately enables brain function. Receptors can be visualized with various methods at granularity levels ranging from the molecular to the whole-brain perspective. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization enable visualization of receptor subunit proteins and of their encoding genes, respectively, at the highest spatial resolution, whereas that of in vitro receptor autoradiography is at the microcircuit level. However, this latter method has the enormous advantage of revealing receptors in their native configuration (i.e., as functional protein complexes embedded in the cellular membrane). Despite its relatively low spatial resolution and limited number of suitable radiotracers, PET enables dynamic imaging and is thus crucial for the analysis of receptor changes associated with the progression and pharmacological treatment of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Of interest for translational neuroscience, radioligands which can be applied both in vivo and in vitro have demonstrated a good correspondence between the receptor distribution patterns revealed by in vitro autoradiography and PET imaging. Thus, post mortem data serves as a valuable source of data to create biologically informed computational models aimed at simulating in vivo receptor densities even for receptor types for which no PET radioligand is available.

Lucia Melloni, PhD.
Research Professor
New York University
Research Group Leader
Max Planck Institute

Advancing science and theory development through open science adversarial collaboration

Thursday, June 27: 10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Keynote Lectures 
Room: Hall D 2 
There are many mysteries in the universe. One of the most significant, often considered the final frontier in science, is understanding how our subjective experience, or consciousness, emerges from the collective action of neurons in biological systems. Despite decades of research, a comprehensive explanation for how consciousness emerges from neural activity remains elusive due to conflicting theories and confirmation biases. To address this, we advocate for adversarial collaboration—a model of team science aimed at rigorously testing theories of consciousness by bringing together diverse perspectives. This presentation serves three purposes: First, it offers a concise overview of the current state of consciousness science, where theories have developed in parallel, often showing signs of confirmation bias. Second, it proposes adversarial collaboration as a means to bridge theoretical divides and facilitate rigorous theory testing. The focus is on contrasting the Global Neuronal Workspace (GNW) Theory and the Integrated Information Theory (IIT) through uniform experimental methods. Third, it discusses the COGITATE consortium's efforts in implementing this approach, particularly through two experiments across six laboratories.