Top brain scientists to speak at Cornell Neurotech symposium

The third annual Cornell Neurotech Mong Family Foundation Symposium on Sept. 27 features three renowned neuroscientists who will discuss their research and techniques to explore the brain: Michale Fee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Gail Mandel, Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University; and Kamil Ugurbil, University of Minnesota. Andrew Bass, Cornell senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will give opening remarks.

The symposium, in G10, Biotechnology Building, begins at 1:30 p.m. and concludes at 5 p.m. with a public reception. It is free and the public is invited.

“We have three pioneers in neuroscience and neurotechnology speaking at the symposium. They will cover some of the most exciting developments in neurotechnology, neuroscience, and neurological disease and treatment, with topics ranging from molecular and cellular to neural circuits and whole brain. The symposium matches really well with the diverse interests of Cornell faculty and students,” said Chris Xu, the Mong Family Foundation Director of Cornell Neurotech and professor of applied and engineering physics in Cornell Engineering.

“This year’s Mong speakers are again some of the most accomplished and awarded talents in studies of the brain. Their work spans a broad spectrum, including studies of how birds learn to sing, the neurobiological basis of the autism spectrum disorder Rett Syndrome, and the latest in human brain imaging by the person who co-invented functional magnetic resonance imaging,” said Joseph Fetcho, co-director of Cornell Neurotech and professor of neurobiology and behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The symposium is supported by a multimillion-dollar seed grant from the Mong Family Foundation, through Stephen Mong ’92, M. Eng. ’93, MBA ’02, to Cornell Neurotech. The gift is intended to seed collaborative efforts across campus at the interface of technology and brain, and to bring individuals at the forefront of neurotechnology to campus through the Cornell Neurotech Mong Family Foundation Symposium.

Other initiatives supported by the Mong family include the Mong Fellowships, awarded annually to six pairs of fellows, each collaborating on projects at the interface between technology and studies of the function and dysfunction of the brain. This year’s projects cover a broad scope, from the application of microfluidics to reveal the molecular signatures of neurons to efforts to apply machine learning with deep brain simulation to cure neurological diseases.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences; Jenna Powers is Research Support Coordinator for the Cornell NeuroNex Technology Hub.

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Jeff Tyson