Shedding Light on Biology of Human Consciousness

Study in human participants lends insight into one of neuroscience’s greatest puzzles: how the brain transforms unconscious information into conscious thought - The Brain’s ‘Aha!’ Moment

Columbia scientists have identified the brain’s ‘aha!’ moment, that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today’s findings in humans, combined with previous research, provide compelling evidence that this moment, this feeling of having decided pierces consciousness when information being collected by the brain reaches a critical level.

The results of this study further suggest that this piercing of consciousness shares the same underlying brain mechanisms known to be involved in making far simpler decisions. Importantly, this study offers hope that the biological foundations of consciousness may well be within our grasp.

Robin Hanson CN3 presentation

Dr. Robin Hanson will give a presentation to the CN3 faculty and students on his new book ...
The Age of Em“Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth”

Time: 11am   Date: September 27, 2016
Place: 229 Krasnow
George Mason University
Fairfax, Va. 22030

Broadcast details: This onAir broadcast will be streamed live from this post as well as the BHM You Tube here.

HLAI 2016 conferences

HLAI 2016, the joint multi-level conference on Human-Level Artificial Intelligence focuses on the computational (re-)creation of human-level intelligence, i.e., human-level (or strong) Artificial Intelligence. Held on July 16-19, 2016 at the New School in NYC following IJCAI, 16 - International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

AGI, the Conference Series on Artificial General Intelligence
BICA, Annual International Conferences on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures
AIC, Workshops on Artificial Intelligence and Cognition
NeSy, Workshops on Neural-Symbolic Learning & Reasoning

MCWG Meeting February 8, 2016

Update on BRAIN
Overview of BRAIN Award Portfolio
Progress and Plans
BRAIN Team A: Cell and Circuit Technologies
BRAIN Team B: Neural Recording/Modulation Technologies
BRAIN Team C: Human Imaging and Non-Invasive Neuromodulation
BRAIN Team D: Training
BRAIN Team E: Understanding Circuit Function
Neuroethics Work Group
DOE Partnership
Coordination Activities

Center for Neural Engineering – PSU

The Penn State Center for Neural Engineering is a university-wide Center, bridging the campuses and Colleges of Engineering and Science at University Park, with the College of Medicine at Hershey. It is housed within facilities of the Department of Neurosurgery and theDepartment of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

The Center has resident core faculty, with a considerable number of faculty Affiliates drawn from University Park and Hershey.The Center enables the successful conduct of interdisciplinary research and acquisition of funding for projects that individual Penn State scientists could not perform on their own.

Steven Schiff

Director, Penn State Center for Neural Engineering
Brush Chair Professor, Engineering Science and Mechanics
Professor, Neurosurgery
Professor. Physics (Courtesy appointment)

Categories: Penn State Neuroscience, NIH BRAIN Researchers, Neural Engineering, Neuroethics people, Neuromodulation researchers, Mason Neuroscience Alumni

Research interests include neural engineering, neurosurgery, epilepsy, Parkinson's Disease, wave mechanics, brain machine interfaces, EEG, electrical fields, and control theory.

Implantable Brain MEMS-MAGSS

Principal Investigator(s): Steven J. Schiff and Srinivas Tadigadapa
Title: Implantable brain microelectromechanical magnetic sensing and stimulation (MEMS-MAGSS)
Category: 2016 NIH Grant Large-Scale Recording and Modulation
Project Number: 1R21EY026438-01
Lab: Center for Neural Engineering
University: Penn State Medical Center

We seek to offer proof-of-concept testing and development of a novel class of MEMS-MAGSS technology.

Retrieving memories from early Alzheimer’s

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a new study from MIT suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain — they just can’t be easily accessed.

The MIT neuroscientists report in Nature that mice in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can form new memories just as well as normal mice but cannot recall them a few days later.

"Memory retrieval by activating engram cells in mouse models of early Alzheimer’s disease"
By Roy et al | Nature, 2016 Mar 24

Elizabeth Marincola on open access

What happens when science, money, and freedom of information collide?

A free flow of information goes to the heart of science, says Elizabeth Marincola, but an arcane system has commoditized data instead. Can web-based, open-access publishing level advance knowledge -- and turn a profit?

Elizabeth Marincola is the CEO of the Public Library of Science, and the former President of the nonprofit membership organization Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and publisher of Science News, the award-winning magazine.

INS 2015 Annual Meeting

The 2015 INS Annual Meeting will be held October 15-16 in Chicago, IL, prior to the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. The INS public program will be held at the Northwestern University Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior Street on October 15.

The main meeting sessions will be held on October 16 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 230 South Columbus Drive. A meeting program with session descriptions and speaker bios is now available. Sign-up to get email notifications from INS.

Trees of the Brain Presentation

Mason Publishing, the George Mason University Libraries, and the University Bookstore present Mason University Professor Giorgio Ascoli, and his book Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind, in the kickoff of the Mason Author Series.

This inaugural event of the series, which is sponsored by the George Mason University Bookstore, was held in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room, on Tuesday, March 29th, at 2:30 p.m.

Neuroscience Digest – 11.23.15

Featured Opportunity:
BRAIN Initiative Funding Opportunities

Featured Images:
The Whole Brain Atlas – Harvard Med

Featured Open Education:
Fundamentals of Neuroscience- Harvard edX

Featured Print Media:
Academic neuroscience journals


BigNeuron: Building consensus among automated morphological reconstructions

By Todd A. Gillette, Hanchuan Peng, Xiaoxiao Liu, Yinan Wan, Giorgio A. Ascoli

A community effort to find out what is exactly the state-of-the-art of single neuron reconstruction, standardize the protocols, and establish a Big Data resource for neuroscience. is an authoritative source of information about the brain and nervous system for the public.

The site is a public information initiative of The Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and the Society for Neuroscience, all leading global nonprofit organizations working to advance brain research. Leading neuroscientists from around the world form the editorial board.

Brain Observatories

The authors of the original proposal for the Brain Activity Map (BAM) Project, which inspired the White House's BRAIN Initiative, are proposing the creation of a national network of neurotechnology centers.

These "brain observatories" would enhance and accelerate the BRAIN Initiative by leveraging the success and creativity of individual laboratories to develop novel neurotechnologies.

Brain Observatories Live Webcast Oct. 30, 2015

Allen Institute

Allen Institute's mission is to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Allen has been a major catalyst and facilitator of The BRAIN Initiative.

Launched in 2003 with a seed contribution from founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Allen Institute takes on large-scale initiatives designed to push brain research forward, enabling the global scientific community to more efficiently make discoveries that bring real-world utility.

Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind – by Giorgio Ascoli

The human brain is often described as the most complex object in the universe. Tens of billions of nerve cells-tiny tree-like structures—make up a massive network with enormous computational power.

In this book, Giorgio Ascoli reveals another aspect of the human brain: the stunning beauty of its cellular form. Doing so, he makes a provocative claim about the mind-brain relationship.

Harold Morowitz (1928-2016)

Founding Director, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies
Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
Eminent Scholar, GMU Molecular Neuroscience Department and Robinson Fellow

Biophysicist Harold Morowitz became a Robinson Professor after a long career of teaching and research at Yale University as Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and serving for five years as Master of Pierson College. Dr. Morowitz was interested in philosophical foundations of neurobiology and the problem of consciousness.

Skip to toolbar