Co-ordinator

Dr. Veronika Krieghoff
Dr. Veronika Krieghoff
IMPRS Co-ordinator
Phone: +49 341 9940-2261
Fax: +49 341 9940-2221

Summer School 2010

1st International Summer School on Multimodal Approaches in Neuroscience

July 19 - 21, 2010, Leipzig, Germany

This was the first Summer School of the newly established International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication (IMPRS NeuroCom) which took place at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. In addition to poster sessions and workshops, leading researchers gave lectures covering different aspects of the cutting-edge topic "Multimodal Approaches in Neuroscience". The Summer School was organized into three theme modules:

Multimodal Functions

To grasp the very core of cognitive neuroscience requires in depth understanding of how physiological, psychological, and computational dynamics interface with each other. Current neuroscientific approaches are leading the way by combining techniques in order to tackle such complexity. However, too frequently we are still viewing activation in specific brain areas in a rather ‘localisationalist’ manner, even though shared physiology and computations in an area, as evidenced by animal and clinical research, often confirm that more than one function is linked to one brain region or even a network of brain regions. The module will cover multimodal functions in specific brain regions from a physiological and cognitive perspective covering evidence from non-human and human primates.

Multimodal Structures

"Form follows Function" – one of the concepts of the "Staatliches Bauhaus" school of design, architecture, and applied arts, founded in 1919 in Weimar, less than 100 km away from Leipzig, can also be applied to the organization of biological organisms. The principle that the shape of a biological structure (in the context of our Summer School: the brain or parts thereof) reflects its function or purpose, can nowadays be explored with a wide variety of methodological approaches. "Classical" anatomical techniques (e.g., histology, (immuno-)histochemistry, "classical" tract tracing) have set the stage for structural brain research, but they can be applied only ex vivo, i.e., in post-mortem brains. More recently, magnetic resonance imaging has revolutionized the field of anatomical research since it allows studying brain structures noninvasively in vivo – with ever increasing spatial resolution. The spectrum of functional techniques spans from a temporal resolution in the range of milliseconds (e.g., electrophysiological stimulation and recording techniques) up to months and years (e.g., lesion experiments) and from a spatial resolution in the range of micrometers (e.g., patch-clamp recordings) up to centimeters (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation).

In this context, the achievements of the three eminent scientists we have invited to give a talk are brilliant examples of how these complementary techniques can be skillfully combined to answer burning questions about form and function in the brain. Jon Kaas (Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, USA), by combining "classical" anatomical and electrophysiological techniques, has made seminal contributions towards our understanding how complex primate brains have evolved from ancestor forms which had comparatively fewer cortical areas. Simon Eickhoff (Univ. Hospital Aachen and Research Center Juelich, Germany) is an expert in integrating anatomical data from human post-mortem brains and functional imaging data from living brains based on a computerized atlas system. Saad Jbabdi (Centre for Functional Magnetic Imaging of the Brain, Univ. Oxford, UK) has extensively worked on brain networks in humans by combining diffusion tensor imaging with other structural and functional magnetic resonance techniques.

Multimodal Functions

To grasp the very core of cognitive neuroscience requires in depth understanding of how physiological, psychological, and computational dynamics interface with each other. Current neuroscientific approaches are leading the way by combining techniques in order to tackle such complexity. However, too frequently we are still viewing activation in specific brain areas in a rather ‘localisationalist’ manner, even though shared physiology and computations in an area, as evidenced by animal and clinical research, often confirm that more than one function is linked to one brain region or even a network of brain regions. The module will cover multimodal functions in specific brain regions from a physiological and cognitive perspective covering evidence from non-human and human primates.

 
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