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Snowbird Symposium Fall 2018

"Of Mind and Math:​​ Big Data Analysis and Computational Approaches in Neuroscience"

October 19, 2018
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort


POSTER ABSTRACT SUBMISSION: Abstract deadline: October 5, 2019; 5:00PM; SUBMIT HERE:

(If you are attending the Symposium, you must also register for the meeting)

9:00AM-12:00PM SCIENTIFIC SESSION I (Cliff Lodge, Ballrooms 1&2)
12:00-1:45PM Lunch (Cliff Lodge, Magpie Room)
1:45-5:00PM SCIENTIFIC SESSION II (Cliff Lodge, Ballrooms 1&2)
5:00-6:30PM Poster session and mixer (Cliff Lodge, Ballroom Mezzanine); sponsored by the SfN Intermountain Chapter; Hard Deadline: October 13, 2017, 5:00PM. ABSTRACT submittal 
6:30-8:00PM Dinner, Cliff Lodge, Golden Cliff/Eagles Nest
8:00-9:00PM Keynote Speaker
9:30-11:00PM Mixer, Cliff Lodge, Golden Cliff/Eagles Nest



KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Nancy Kopell, PhD, William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Founder and Director of the Cognitive Rhythms Collaborative, and Co-Director of CompNet (Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology), Boston University 

Nancy Kopell

Title: "Coordination, Modulation and Functional Implications of Brain Rhythms"

Research Summary: The neuroscience community is just beginning to understand how rhythms take part in cognition and how flexible are the kinds of computations that can be made with rhythms.  In this talk, I will discuss some case studies demonstrating this enormous flexibility and their important functional interactions. Each of the case studies is about some form of coordination and a twist on something that is already familiar.  Examples include the interaction of multiple intrinsic time scales in a cortical rhythm in response to a period input; the ability of a slow rhythm in the striatum to modulate two other rhythms in different phases of its period; the ability of a parietal rhythm to control the formation, adaptation and termination  of a kind of working memory.


Speaker: Adrienne Fairhall, PhD, Professor, Department of Physiology & Biophysics, Director of Computational Neuroscience Center, University of Washington

Adrienne Fairhall

Title: "Variability and robust motor learning"

Research Summary: Variability is an essential part of exploration and learning. We discuss where variability arises in the birdsong learning circuit and how it contributes to robust yet flexible learning.

 Speaker: Brad Aimone, PhD, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Data-driven and Neural Computing Department, Center for Computing Research, Sandia National Laboratories

Bradley Aimone

Title: "Computing as a Constraint to Understand the Brain: A Case Study in Neural Plasticity"

Research Summary: Neuroscience and computing researchers often allude to one other; but the two fields have rarely directly leveraged each other’s knowledge in advancing their theories.  In this talk, I will show that strengthening this interaction has value for both disciplines: the realities of computer science can help constrain our understanding of the brain; and in turn, advances in neuroscience can help computing evolve past the end of Moore’s Law.  I will describe two specific examples of how intersecting neuroscience and computing research has advanced our insight into two specific neural processes with substantial open questions about their function: adult neurogenesis and neuromodulation.  Both of these processes introduce spatial and temporal scales that are challenging for modern systems neuroscience techniques, but are amenable to computational studies.  Our simulations of these processes have helped us formulate novel hypotheses for the functional importance of long-time scale neural plasticity within the brain.  We can already show experimental validation for some of these hypothesis.  Finally, we are able to use these emerging neural perspectives to demonstrate the fundamental benefit of leveraging the brain within computer science by showing the impact of both neurogenesis and modulation on artificial neural network computing applications.

Speaker: Alla Borisyuk, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Utah

Alla Borisyuk

Title: "Testable predictions from modeling: from molecules diffusion to networks"

Research Summary: Borisyuk's research focuses on mathematical models of various processes in the nervous system. The models she builds are informed by known biology, yet they are idealized enough that they can be efficiently analyzed and simulated. As a result, the models give insights into the mechanisms behind the observed phenomena, as well as yield testable predictions for future experiments. She is particularly interested in how the large-scale dynamics of neural activity is shaped by low-level processes such as single cell properties, network architecture, synaptic platicity, etc. In her talk she will give examples from recent applications, including odor coding in the olfactory system, calcium dynamics in astrocytes, and motion of molecules in the synaptic cleft.

Speaker: Jeffrey Anderson, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Utah

Jeff Anderson

Title: "10 Things You Must Know About Drugs, Sex, Religion, and Personality: # 7 Will Blow Your Mind"

Research Summary: The early history of neuroscience was about perception. How are sensory stimuli captured by the brain? For generations of neuroscientists, primary sensory areas have been models to understand the circuitry and physiology of the brain. But now mature tools exist to study thorny, controversial, and profound questions that go beyond the mechanics of cells and synapses. What makes us different from each other? How do we experience joy, love, and meaning? The next generation of neuroscientists will have unique insights into these questions that could transform how we understand the human condition in fundamental ways. And this will require new, deeply uncomfortable approaches to communicating our ideas to much wider audiences.

Speaker: Neda Nategh, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Utah

Neda Nategh

Title: "Understanding the brain computations underpinning our robust vision during eye movements"

Research Summary: We move our eyes several times a second to scan the visual scene, and every time our eyes move a huge image shift is projected onto the retina, causing dramatic discontinuities in retinal images of the visual scene. The brain must bridge these disruptions in real time to produce stable visual perception across rapid eye movements. This talk will present a combined experimental and computational approach, including awake behaving electrophysiological recording as well as statistical modeling, for understanding how the brain constructs the visual world during eye movements, and the neural computations underpinning this active process.

 Graduate student speakers: 

Pablo Maldonado: NP graduate student (Maricq lab): "TBA"

Joshua Barrios: NP graduate student (Douglass lab): "TBA"

: NP graduate student ( lab): ""

: NP graduate student ( lab): ""

: Postdoctoral Fellow ( lab): “”


Last Updated: 8/16/18