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2017 guests

Zoltán Molnár (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom)
I obtained my M.D. (summa cum laude) at the Albert Szent-Györgyi Medical University, Szeged, Hungary where I studied physiology from Professor George Benedek and started my residency in Neurological Surgery in the Institute of Professor Mihaly Bodosi until I moved to Oxford in 1989. I obtained my D.Phil. at the University Laboratory of Physiology in the laboratory of Professor Colin Blakemore FRS studying the “Multiple mechanisms in the establishment of thalamocortical innervation”(thesis awarded the Biennial Rolleston Memorial Prize of Oxford and Cambridge Universities for 1994-1995). I continued my work on cerebral cortical development at Oxford as an MRC training fellow and Junior Research Fellow at Merton College. I also investigated thalamocortical development working with Professor Egbert Welker at the Institut de Biologie Cellulaire et de Morphologie, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, and learned optical recording techniques to understand early functional thalamocortical interactions in the laboratory of Professor Keisuke Toyama at Kyoto Prefectural School of Medicine, Japan. I was appointed to a University Lecturer position at the Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics associated with a Tutorship at St John’s College, Oxford from 2000. I was awarded the title Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in 2007 and appointed to Deputy Head of Department in 2013.

Matthew Apps ( Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom)
Matthew Apps is a cognitive neuroscientist in the Dept. of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. His research examines the neural and computational mechanisms underlying motivation, decision-making and social cognition. He obtained an ESRC funded PhD examining the neurocomputational mechanisms underlying social cognition and motivation in 2012 from Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) under the supervision of Prof. Narender Ramnani. He remained at RHUL for his first postdoctoral position examining the computational mechanisms that guide our ability to distinguish ourselves from other people in the laboratory of Prof. Manos Tsakiris. In 2013 he moved to Oxford as a postdoc on a project examining the neurobiology underlying motivation with Prof. Masud Husain. During this time he was awarded a 2-year fellowship at Somerville College, Oxford and in 2015 he became principal investigator on a BBSRC Anniversary Future Leader Fellowship grant with the aim of providing a biological framework for understanding apathy in healthy people and in neurological disorders.

Bernhard Englitz (Institute for Neurophysiology, Donders Institute for Neuroscience, Nijmegen, The Netherlands )
Interested in the computational principles of neural systems, Dr Englitz studied Cognitive Science and Mathematics in Osnabrück, Zurich and Leipzig, supported by the German national merit foundation. During a Fulbright fellowship, he worked at the Salk Institute with Dr Terry Sejnowski in San Diego, before starting his doctoral studies at the Max-Planck-Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig in collaboration with the Biological faculty at the university. Addressing the problem of synaptic transmission and signal representation in the auditory brainstem, Dr. Englitz leveraged computational methods for solving biological problems. In his postdoctoral studies, he worked on decoding methods for cortical representations of ambiguous stimuli, thus understanding perception in the context of stimulus history. Since 2014, he leads a research group on Computational Neuroscience at the Donders Center for Neuroscience in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The focus of his research is on the neural mechanisms of processing in complex stimulus conditions.

Guillaume Dumas (Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Laboratory, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France )
Guillaume Dumas is researcher in the department of neuroscience of the Institut Pasteur in Paris. Originally from engineering and theoretical physics, he did a PhD on cognitive neuroscience at the University of Paris 6 (UPMC) and then moved in postdoc at the Center for Complex System and Brain Science of Florida Atlantic University. He came back in France for working in the “Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions” unit of the Institut Pasteur, where he started as a postdoc before receiving his permanent position. He has been involved in many projects at the interface between Science and Society, from outreach in schools and radio to advocacy in policymaking and research institutions.

Emre Yaksi ( Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway)
Dr. Emre Yaksi was born on March 13, 1978 in Turkey. He received his B.Sc. (2001) in Molecular Biology at Middle East Technical University, Ankara-Turkey. He obtained his PhD (2007) in the laboratory of Dr. Rainer Friedrich at Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg-Germany. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow (2007-2010) in Dr Rachel Wilson’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School, Boston-USA. He leads his research team at NERF since December 2010 and appointed as an assistant professor at KU Leuven since October 2011. Since January 2015, Dr Yaksi is an associate professor at Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience-NTNU in Trondheim.

Athena Demertzi (Coma Science Group, University of Liège, Belgium Brain and Spine Institute, ICM, Paris, France )
Athena is a researcher in cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Her aim is to comprehend the neural basis of consciousness and self-consciousness in health and in disease. She wishes to clinically translate her research by providing biomarkers to predict the diagnosis and prognosis of non-communicating patients. To that end, she has conducted behavioral and neuroimaging studies in physiological (hypnosis), pathological (brain injury) and pharmacological (anesthesia) conditions. As  this type of research touches upon philosophical and ethical issues, she is deeply interested in the socio-ethical implications of our research findings. For that matter, she has conducted surveys with the goal to debrief opinions of healthcare professionals on the nature of consciousness, subjective experiences, and end-of-life options.
Athena graduated from the Faculty of Psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece, 2000-2005). Soon after, she pursued the Research Master’s in Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, and Psychopathology, at Maastricht University (The Netherlands, 2005-2007). Next, she joined the Coma Science Group as a doctoral student and received her PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Liège in 2012. Her postdoctoral research has been conducted at the Coma Science Group and at the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM, Paris) funded by the Belgian National Funds for Scientific Research (FNRS), the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM).

György Buzsáki (Buzsáki Lab, The Neuroscience Institute, New York University, New York, United States )
György Buzsáki is Biggs Professor of Neuroscience at New York University. He received his M.D. in 1974 from the University of Pécs in Hungary, then earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 1984 from the Academy of Sciences in Budapest. Buzsáki’s primary interests are mechanisms of memory, sleep and associated diseases. His main focus is “neural syntax”, i.e., how segmentation of neural information is organized by the numerous brain rhythms to support cognitive functions. He pioneered the experimental exploration of how coordinated, rhythmic neuronal activity serves physiological functions in the cerebral cortex. His mos-t influential work, the two-stage model of memory trace consolidation, demonstrates how the neocortex-mediated information during learning transiently modifies hippocampal networks, followed by reactivation and consolidation of these memory traces during sharp wave-ripple patterns of sleep. To achieve these goals he has introduced numerous technical innovations from using silicon chips to record brain activity to NeuroGrid, an organic, comformable electrode system used in both animal and patients. Buzsáki is among the top 1% most-cited neuroscientists, member of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academiae Europaeae and an external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and he sits on the editorial boards of several leading neuroscience journals, including Science and Neuron, honoris causa at Université Aix-Marseille, France and University of Kaposvar, Hungary. He is a co-recipient of the 2011 Brain Prize (with Peter Somogyi and Tamas Freund).