Thursday, May 22, 2008

UCI Center for Cognitive Neuroscience DTI Workshop Announcement

UCI Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Workshop
DTI Workshop
L. Tugan Muftuler, PhD
Center for Functional Onco-Imaging
University of California, Irvine

Tomorrow, Friday, May 23, 2008
SSPA 2112

Outline for the Workshop:

1) Brief overview of DTI physics
2) Constructing DTI parameter maps, tractography and their meaning
3) Applications and examples
4) Live demo of how to process DTI data and get DTI maps, reconstruct white matter fiber tracts.

Links to the two free programs that will be demonstrated at Friday's workshop are included below if you are interested in doing some reading them before coming to the workshop.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

CCNS Investigators selected to receive Department of Defense research grant

CCNS members, Mike D'Zmura (PI), Ramesh Srinivasan, Kourosh Saberi, & Greg Hickok have won one of 34 grants award by the Department of Defense's Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program (see DoD announcement below). The project is titled, "Silent Spatialized Communication Among Dispersed Forces," which is a fancy way of saying we are studying how to make mental telepathy a reality. The project team also includes scientists at CMU and University of Maryland. More on this later...

DoD announcement:

64 Universities to Receive $200 Million in Research Funding

The Department of Defense announced today 34 awards to academic institutions to perform multi-disciplinary basic research. The total amount of the awards is expected to be $19.7 million in fiscal 2008 and $200 million over five years. Awards are subject to the successful completion of negotiations between the academic institutions and DoD research offices that will make the awards: the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

The awards are the result of the fiscal year 2008 competition that ARO, ONR, and AFOSR conducted under the DoD Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The MURI program supports multi-disciplinary basic research in areas of DoD relevance that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline. Therefore, a MURI effort typically involves a team of basic researchers with expertise in a variety of disciplines. For a research area suited to a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together scientists and engineers with different disciplinary backgrounds can accelerate both basic research progress and transition of research results to application.

To assemble a team with the requisite disciplinary strengths, most MURI efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions, as well as multiple academic departments. Based on the proposals selected in the fiscal 2008 competition, a total of 64 academic institutions are expected to participate in the 34 research efforts. Three non-U.S. academic institutions will participate in two of the MURI efforts, but will receive no funding from the MURI program.

The MURI program complements other DoD basic research programs that support traditional, single-investigator university research by supporting multi-disciplinary teams with awards larger and longer in duration than traditional awards. The awards announced today are for a three-year base period with a two-year option contingent upon availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress. Consequently, MURI awards can provide greater sustained support than single-investigator awards for the education and training of students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering fields critical to DoD, as well as for associated infrastructure such as research instrumentation.

The MURI program is highly competitive. ARO, ONR, and AFOSR solicited proposals in 18 topics important to DoD and received a total of 104 proposals. The 34 proposals announced today were selected for funding based on merit review by panels of experts in the pertinent science and engineering fields.

The list of projects selected for fiscal 2008 funding may be found at: .

Thursday, March 6, 2008

UCI CCNS Seminar Announcement: Dr. David Eagleman

UCI Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar Announcement

David M. Eaglman, PhD
Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry
Baylor College of Medicine

Time and the brain

Most of the actions our brains perform on a daily basis -- such as perceiving, speaking, and driving a car -- require timing on the scale of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. New discoveries in neuroscience are contributing to an emerging picture of how the brain processes, learns, and perceives time. We will demonstrate new temporal illusions in which durations dilate, perceived order of actions and events are reversed, and time is experienced in slow motion. Questions addressed include: Does your brain work in ‘real time’, or do you experience a delayed version of the world? How and why does the brain dynamically recalibrate its timing judgments? Does subjective time really slow down during a car accident?

Friday, March 14, 2008
Herklotz Conference Center

Lunch and beverages will be served, compliments of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience ( This lecture is part of the Human Brain Mapping Series.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Perception is more than meets the eye...

As a visual neuroscientist, I am interested in the science of seeing. The act of seeing starts when an image of the surroundings enters the eye. However, there is more to perception than meets the eye. What people see is not simply a translation of the image entering the eye. Thus people interested in visual perception investigate how our brains create what we actually perceive.

To bring a better understanding of visual perception to the general public, I
will be speaking in an exhibit on perception at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art:

Take Your Time by Olafur Eliasson

Special Event:
February 07, 2008
6:30 p.m.
Phyllis Wattis Theater

Talk Description
Eliasson’s celebrated projects integrate art, science, and natural phenomena to create multisensory experiences that engage the observer. The first U.S. survey of his work, Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, is currently on view in the fifth-floor galleries. This program features the artist in conversation with exhibition curator Grynsztejn and special guests in an evening of conversation and tabletop experiments about time, space, and perception.

The program for the evening includes:

Kenneth Libbrecht, the head of the physics department at California Institute of Technology, who's been working on the art & science of snowflakes. You can see more here:
and here:

Alyssa Brewer, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Irvine; she tracks visual perception (in people & animals) through mapping visual fields in the brain. She'll address how our visual perception works via a view of the ocean. She's here:

TJ Clark, art history from UC Berkeley, will look closely at Nicolas Poussin's painting The Sight of Death--paying particular attention to the treatment of reflections in the water surface. You can check out his faculty profile here:

Artist Olafur Eliasson will conclude the evening by looking at after-images in visual perception. More information on his SF MOMA exhibit can be found here:

Olafur Eliasson, artist
Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Friday, February 1, 2008

Seminar Announcement: Melina Uncapher

UCI Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar Announcement

Melina Uncapher, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Stanford University

From experience to memory: characterizing neural correlates of episodic encoding

Date: Monday, February, 4th
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: SSPA 2112


How are the complex neural representations of our experiences translated into those that will endure across time? And what do these transformed neural representations look like? Functional neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI have provided the opportunity to observe changes in the brain that temporally coincide with the birth of these experiential (or 'episodic') memories. Despite such powerful techniques, however, the precise neural and cognitive mechanisms responsible for the formation of memories remain unclear. Efforts to localize these mechanisms should account for at least three parameters of a neural representation of a memory. Namely, such a representation should: 1) reflect the specific processing engendered by the experience, 2) comprise a single (distributed) representation, unifying the multiple constituent elements of the experience, and 3) be enduring across time. In this talk, I will discuss an emerging conceptual framework for how the brain creates episodic memories, based on a number of fMRI studies aimed at addressing the foregoing parameters.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Program in Cognitive Neuroscience - UC Irvine

A new doctoral-level program in Cognitive Neuroscience has recently been established here at UC Irvine. Although it is housed in the Department of Cognitive Sciences, it is a multidisciplinary program with participation from faculty members with primary appointments in departments ranging from Neurobiology and Behavior to Radiology. The program is approved to commence with the 2008-2009 academic year. A formal announcement with links to program details will follow. In the meantime, check out the list of participating faculty:

Alyssa Brewer - Human vision, fMRI, neurology
Lawrence Cahill - Memory, Emotion, functional imaging
Nicole Gage - Development, autism, language, MEG
Emily Grossman - Biological motion, fMRI, TMS
Gregory Hickok - Speech/language, fMRI, neuropsychology
Donald Hoffman - Visual perception, EEG, fMRI
Mary-Louise Kean - Language processing, fMRI, neuropsychology
Leonard Kitzes - Mammalian auditory system
Jeffery Krichmar - Memory, vision, Computational neuroscience
David Lyon - Primate visual system
James McGaugh - Neurobiology of memory
Tugan Muftuler - fMRI, cognition
Michael Rugg - Memory, fMRI, EEG
Kourosh Saberi - Hearing, fMRI
John Serences - Attention, vision, fMRI
George Sperling - Vision, memory, attention, fMRI
Ramesh Srinivasan - Consciousness, sensory systems, EEG
Norman Weinberger - Auditory cortex physiology, plasticity, learning, and memory
Fan-Gang Zeng - Hearing, clinical audiology

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

ERP Boot Camp

The ERP Boot Camp, an NIMH-funded summer workshop on the ERP
technique, will be held July 7-17 2008 at UC-Davis. Please forward
this announcement to students, postdocs, and faculty who might be
interested in attending.

The ERP Boot Camp is an 11-day introduction to the ERP technique. It
is intended for beginning and intermediate ERP researchers, or people
who are interested in getting started in ERP research. It is designed
for both basic scientists and clinical researchers.

The topics will include:

1) Where do ERPs come from? What do they mean?

2) ERP components

3) The design and interpretation of ERP experiments

4) EEG data acquisition

5) Filtering, artifact rejection, and artifact correction

6) Measuring and analyzing ERP components

7) ERP localization

8) Setting up and running an ERP lab

The Boot Camp consists of lectures on these topics, accompanied by
discussions of classic and contemporary ERP papers and guided lab
activities. It is led by Steve Luck, and the faculty includes many
distinguished ERP researchers from UC Davis and other universities.

Participants at previous Boot Camps have come from around the world
and have ranged from beginning graduate students to full professors.
They have included psychologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists,
neurologists, and speech pathologists. However, predoctoral students
should not apply unless they will have had at least 6 months of
intensive ERP experience before attending the Boot Camp.

We highly encourage the participation of individuals from
underrepresented groups.

Funding is available from NIMH to defray some or all of the costs of
attending the Boot Camp, but is limited to U.S. citizens and
permanent residents. International participants are encouraged to
apply, but they must obtain their own funding.

For more information about the Boot Camp and the application
procedures, see

Applications are due on March 31, 2008.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Graduate student reviews in Journal of Neuroscience

Journal of Neuroscience has a new section (at least, it's new to me) for graduate students and postdocs to write short reviews of recent papers. The format is described as being like a journal club, and as a venue for which junior scientists can "test their analytical and writing skills". Notably, the journal states that overly critical reviews of competitors, or glowing reviews of friend's work will not be considered (although the one I read was pretty glowing). And, they waive the submission fee for this format.

What a great idea. It's wonderful to see a high impact journal take a leadership role in training young scientists.