Organization of the Cerebral Cortex: Photographs of the Congress in Louisville, KY 2013

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to host a congress in Louisville regarding the organization of the cerebral cortex. My co-chair was my good friend Ioan Opris from Wake Forest. The congress emphasized the organization of the cerebral cortex from the perspectives of anatomy, anthropology, physiology, and pathology. The speakers included several members of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine.  It was heavily attended by members of our local chapter of the Society for Neurosciences. I was markedly impressed with the presentations of all speakers. I was however particularly impressed by some speakers that detailed the potential of using the modular organization of the cortex with neuroprosthetic agents. It is possible, as of present, to code interlaminar activities within and between minicolumns in order to restore blocked higher cognitive functions in non-human primates.  Furthermore the emergence of higher cognitive functions may be evident in small units of functions, such as the minicolumn with only 80 to 100 cells present.

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A photograph of yours truly (Manuel Casanova) opening the congress. My introduction was meant to honor the work of Vernon B Mountcastle and Patricia Goldman Rakic.

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Pasko Rakic from Yale University opened the congress.  His presence made a difference in the congress.  His positive attitude was only surpassed by his jovial character.

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Jon Kaas from Vanderbilt gave one of the best lectures relating brain organization (focusing on columnarity) and comparative anatomy. Had never met him in person, he struck me as a true gentleman.

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Apostolos Georgopoulos made pioneering discoveries on cortical modularity while standing side by side with Vernon Mountcastle. He trained at a time when neurophysiologists had to design the electrical circuits for each experiment and tool their own electrodes.

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Sam Deadwyler from Wake Forest showed that he had moved from the hippocampus and into the frontal cortex. His lecture was significant not only for the potential of neuroprosthetics but also for neuroethical implications.

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Gregg Gerhardt has been Sam Deadwyler’s companion in arms. His lecture about electrode technology complemented the efforts of many others on neurophyiological recordings. You can see from the photograph that he was markedly effusive in his presentation.

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Valentin Dragoi from the University of Texas gave a stellar presentation on the cortical mechanisms of visual behavior. Valentin is for sure a rising superstar within the field.

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My own presentation (Manuel Casanova) was in regards to abnormalities of the columnar organization in the human brain.  The main focus of my lecture was autism.

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Estate Sokhadze talked about many of the outcome measures he has collected in human conditions reflective of abnormal cerebral cortical organization. Tato is my close friend and collaborator.

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Ioan Opris from Wake Forest was the co-chair for the congress. Ioan’s findings on causal relationships to inter-laminar prefrontal cortical microcircuits have been implemented by conformal microelectrode stimulations that may be the “software” of neural prosthetics in the near future.

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Oleg Favorov’s work stands unmatched in his attempt to establish the functional role of the minicolumn in the cerebral cortex.  Oleg was probably the person Mountcastle most often quoted in regards to the minicolumn.

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The charismatic Jeffrey Hutsler gave an interesting lecture from the standpoint of the subplate and cortical organization. It seems that abnormalities within the subplate region may be involved in many mental disorders.

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Mikhail (Misha) Lebedev from Duke had the honor of closing our congress. His lecture on coding brain waves stemming from different networks and how the same may be used to guide prosthetic limbs was amazing.

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After hours having fun at the Louisville Slugger’s Museum. Many thanks to Jack Hillerich for this opportunity.

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After hours having fun at the Louisville Slugger’s Museum. Many thanks to Jack Hillerich for this opportunity.

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The “Bad Boys” of cerebral cortical organization.  This was a group photograph taken by the giant bat outside Louisville Slugger’s Museum. My eternal gratitude to all of the participants. (From left to right: Jeffrey Hutsler, Oleg Favorov, Valentin Dragoi, Jon Kaas, Manuel Casanova, Pasko Rakic, Ioan Opris, Estate Sokhadze, Apostolos Georgopoulos, Mikhail Lebedev)

2 responses to “Organization of the Cerebral Cortex: Photographs of the Congress in Louisville, KY 2013

  1. Very fascinating wish I was there.. Any chance that video presentations may be available on you tube?

  2. Unfortunately we did not tape the presentations. However, we have a book to be published by Springer this coming year. The book will include contributions from all of the participants and many more.

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