Events

Coming Soon

28 Feb

PC/155

Michael Anderson
Western University

Neural reuse, dynamics, and constraints: Getting beyond componential mechanistic explanation of neural function

This talk will review some of the evidence that structure-function relationships in the brain are complex, dynamic, and--most importantly--not adequately captured by the leading form of explanation in the neurosciences, componential mechanistic explanation (CME). In CME one identifies the spatial subparts of a system, discerns their functions, and determines how the parts are organized and interact to give rise to system-level function. However, in the brain neural sub-systems are not stable, function-determining interactions can be bottom up and also top-down, and function-relevant parts are not always spatial sub-parts of the system in question. In light of this, I will suggest that it would be more fruitful to look for the ways that function emerges from interacting structures via the imposition of enabling constraints, that temporary stabilize the system's configuration (i.e. enact a synergy) to achieve the cognitive or behavioural task at hand.


Host: Laurel Trainor
7 Mar

PC/155

Graham Thompson
Western University

Genes for altruism: inclusive fitness theory in the age of genomics

Genes have always been central to our understanding of social behaviour. This is evident from the gene-centric theory of kin selection that describes social evolution, and from the widespread use of figurative terms like ‘genes for altruism’ and ‘genes for selfishness’. Despite this understanding, however, it remains rare for empirical studies to look directly at the molecular variants that distinguish social from non-social breeding systems, and even fewer studies attempt to isolate the very genes under kin selection. Using the highly social honeybee as a model, I highlight some recent advances to our understanding of the evolutionary genetics of social life. Specifically, I show how kin selection theory can inform molecular biology to find real genes for altruism - first from identifying candidates from genome-wide association studies, to inferring their position within socially responsive gene networks, to finally testing the function of individual genes via social and genetic manipulations. The honeybee story parallels other advances in the bourgeoning field of sociogenomics.


Hosted with Biology
14 Mar

PC/155
The 2019 Brain Awareness Week (BAW) speaker for McMaster University is Dr. Stephen Lomber from the Department of Psychology and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Lomber will give the PNB Colloquium on Thursday, 14 March 2019, from 1430-1530 hrs.
Location: Psychology Complex, room PC-155.
Host: Paul Faure (x26393)

Title: Acoustic Experience Alters How You See the World

Abstract: Cortical plasticity is the neural mechanism by which the cerebrum adapts itself to its environment, while at the same time making it vulnerable to impoverished sensory or developmental experiences. Like the visual system, auditory development passes through a series of sensitive periods in which circuits and connections are established and then refined by experience. Current research is expanding our understanding of cerebral processing and organization in the deaf. In the congenitally deaf, higher-order areas of "deaf" auditory cortex demonstrate significant crossmodal plasticity with neurons responding to visual and somatosensory stimuli. This crucial cerebral function results in compensatory plasticity. Not only can the remaining inputs reorganize to substitute for those lost, but this additional circuitry also confers enhanced abilities to the remaining systems. In this presentation we will review our present understanding of the structure and function of “deaf” auditory cortex using psychophysical, electrophysiological, and connectional anatomy approaches and consider how this knowledge informs our expectations of the capabilities of cochlear implants in the developing brain.

Psychiatry talk, Dr. Lomber will present a Grand Rounds talk to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 at 0900 hrs.

Grand Rounds: Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 0900-1000 hrs, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.
Location: West 5th Campus, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Lower Auditorium Entrance Level B1.

Title: Auditory Cortex Plasticity Following Deafness and Cochlear Implant
Abstract: Current research is expanding our understanding of cerebral processing and organization following sensory loss. In the congenitally deaf, higher-order areas of "deaf" auditory cortex demonstrate significant crossmodal plasticity with neurons responding to visual and tactile stimuli. This crucial cerebral function results in compensatory plasticity. Not only can the remaining inputs reorganize to substitute for those lost, but this additional circuitry also confers enhanced abilities to the remaining systems. In this presentation we will review our present understanding of the structure and function of “deaf” auditory cortex, and following hearing restoration with cochlear implants, using psychophysical, electrophysiological, and connectional anatomy approaches.
15 Mar

PC/155

Donna Rose Addis
University of Toronto

TBA

Host: Margaret McKinnon
21 Mar
MINDS Colloquium - TBA
03.21.2019 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
28 Mar

PC/155

TBA


Ruth Hofrichter
McMaster University


Host: Mel Rutherford
4 Apr

PC/155


TBA

Host: Bruce Milliken

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1
Canada