This center leverages the strengths of Carnegie Mellon in cognitive and computational neuroscience and those of the University of Pittsburgh in basic and clinical neuroscience to support a coordinated cross-university research and educational program of international stature.


Oberlaender Lecture @ 6014 Biomedical Science Tower 3
Feb 22 @ 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Department of Neurobiology
And University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute
Present A Special Research Seminar:

“An On-Switch for Cortical Output:
Structure and Function of L5 Pyramidal Tract Neurons In Vivo”

Marcel Oberlaender, PhD

Max Planck Group Leader
Center for Advanced European
Studies and Research
Tübingen, Germany

February 22, 2017
10:00 AM
6014 Biomedical Science Tower 3

Andrew Miri Lecture @ Mellon Institute Conference Room 348
Feb 22 @ 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Wednesday, February 22

Departmental Seminar

Andrew Miri, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Columbia University

“Motor cortical influence during movement execution”

Host: Aaron Mitchell, Ph.D.

Abstract: When and how the motor cortex influences movement remains uncertain. The behavioral consequences of motor cortical inactivation suggest a circumscribed role. Yet across a broad array of behaviors including those that survive inactivation, motor cortical activity is correlated with muscle activation and motor cortical stimulation activates muscles. We addressed this ambiguity using measurement and perturbation of motor cortical activity together with electromyography in mice during two forelimb movements that differ in their requirement for motor cortical involvement. Rapid optogenetic silencing and electrical stimulation identified a short-latency pathway from motor cortex to spinal motor neurons activated only during one behavior. Analysis of motor cortical activity revealed a dramatic difference between behaviors in the coordination of firing patterns across neurons that can account for this differential pathway engagement. These results indicate a variation in the functional impact of motor cortex on downstream circuits that could enable behavior-specific control, helping to reconcile previous observations.

12:00 p.m.
Mellon Institute Conference Room

CNBC Colloquium Elizabeth Brannon @ 6014 Biomedical Science Tower 3
Mar 2 @ 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Developmental and evolutionary foundations of the human mathematical mind
Elizabeth M. Brannon, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Chair
The University of Pennsylvania

Thursday, March 2, 2017
4:00 p.m.
6014 Biomedical Science Tower 3

The ability to use numbers is one of the most complex cognitive abilities that humans possess and is often held up as a defining feature of the human mind. Alongside the uniquely human symbolic system for representing number we possess an approximate number system (ANS) that is evolutionarily ancient and developmentally conservative. In my talk I will illustrate the signatures of the ANS with experimental data from human babies and nonhuman primates. I will describe behavioral and neurobiological data that demonstrates how the human and nonhuman primate mind privileges numerical information over other types of quantitative information. I will argue that this numerical privilege implicates the biological importance of number in our evolutionary history. Finally, I will report on efforts to harness the ANS to improve math performance and discuss some of the limitations of this work.

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