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The thalamus integrates the macro systems of the brain to facilitate complex adaptive brain dynamics

Dr James M Shine @jmacshine

25 February 2021


 The thalamus is well-placed to arbitrate the interactions between distributed neural assemblies in the cerebral cortex. Different classes of thalamocortical connections are hypothesized to promote either feed-forward or feedback processing modes in the cerebral cortex. This activity can be conceptualized as emerging dynamically from an evolving attractor landscape, with the relative engagement of distinctly distributed circuits providing differing constraints over the manner in which brain state trajectories change over time. In addition, inputs to the distinct thalamic populations from the cerebellum and basal ganglia, respectively, are proposed to differentially shape the attractor landscape, and hence, the temporal evolution of cortical assemblies. The coordinated engagement of these neural macrosystems is then shown to share key characteristics with prominent models of cognition, attention and conscious awareness. In this way, the crucial role of the thalamus in mediating the distributed, multi-scale network organization of the central nervous system can be related to higher brain function.

Development of subject-specific representations of neuroanatomy via a domain-specific language

Dr. Antonia Machlouzarides-Shalit

15 December 2020


Watch Antonia Machlouzarides-Shalit become a PhD whilst she defends her thesis before a panel of judges. In the field of brain mapping, she identified the need for a tool that is grounded in the detailed knowledge of individual variability of sulci. As such, she developed a new brain mapping tool called NeuroLang, which utilises the spatial geometry of the brain. By bridging classical neuroanatomy with computational brain mapping, she identifies and labels subject-specific sets of sulci, examines individual and group-level morphologies, and establishes a data-driven approach to quantifying sulcal stability.

Atlasing white matter connections in the living human brain

Dr. Katrine Rojkova

4 December 2020


Watch Katrine Rojkova become a PhD whilst she defends her thesis before a panel of judges. Presenting on the mapping of white matter connections, Rojkova's atlas will strengthen the capacity of clinicians to further understand the mechanisms involved in brain recovery and plasticity, and assist in the diagnosis of disconnection or abnormality within specific tracts of individual patients with various brain disease.

Structural Connectivity of the Cerebral Cortex

Co-hosted by: Dr Hiromasa Takemura (Japan), 

Dr Stephanie Forkel & Dr Michel Thiebaut de Schotten (France)

12-13 November 2020 



 CNSeminars joined forces with the journal, Brain Structure and Function (BSAF), and the Springer Neuroscience Network to host the first BSAF 'Structural Connectivity of the Cerebral Cortex' Special Issue symposium. Co-hosted by Dr Hiromasa Takamura, Dr Stephanie Forkel and Dr Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, this 2-day event featured 10 different experts who presented various topics related to structural connectivity followed by a brief Q&A.

The 5th Dementia - a documentary

Serene Meshel-Dillman

22 October 2020


Serene Meshel-Dillman delivers a documentary on The 5th Dementia, a diverse band featuring former professionals who now struggle to remember anything at all due to illnesses: Alzheimer's, Dementia, Parkinson's. When the music starts, these men and women, leading lives with almost no social interaction, dive right into songs from their generation without a single page of sheet music. Memories otherwise entirely unreachable are unlocked. Through uniquely personal stories, from inspiring daily triumphs to the sobering toll of slow mental decline, viewers of The 5th Dementia Documentary will see an emotional, revealing look at this inexplicable phenomena. See the film's trailer and watch the Q&A with the filmmaker on the CNSeminars YouTube Channel.


More info here: or on Twitter

The use & misuse of in silico lesion-deficit mapping

Parashkev Nachev, University College London

1 October 2020


Once thought to require nothing more sophisticated than mass-univariate statistics, lesion-deficit mapping is increasingly recognized to be amongst the most complex problems in neuroscience. Its distinctive strength, inference to neural necessity, is paradoxically the source of its greatest vulnerability: dependence on the parameterisation of the lesioned brain as a whole, at least whereas nearly everywhere- the lesions are large in proportion to the mapped substrate. Such dependence violates the foundational assumptions of mass-univariate analysis, voiding its conclusions of all force. First demonstrated by combining simulated functional ground truths with real lesion data, it is a vulnerability some have tried to rectify through the same in silico approach, retaining the mass-univariate framework it has revealed to be critically deficient. Dr Nachev discusses what simulations can and cannot licitly do here, and sketches out a path to evaluating the high-dimensional multivariate models that lesion-deficit mapping will always require, whether we like it or not.

My Love Affair with the Brain: The Life and Science of Dr Marian Diamond

Gary Weimberg & Catherine Ryan

27 August 2020


How can you not fall in love with a woman who carries around a preserved human brain inside a giant flowery hat box? Meet Dr Marian Diamond, a renowned academic and research scientist, and prepare to be smitten. Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg’s film follows this remarkable woman over a 5-year period and introduces the viewer to both her many scientific accomplishments and the warm, funny, and thoroughly charming woman herself, who describes her 60-year career researching the human brain as “pure joy.” See the film's trailer and watch the Q&A with the filmmakers on the CNSeminars YouTube Channel.

More info here: or

Study guides -  From 5th grade to Nobel prize winner:

SciAm on this film:

This House believes that Russia has contributed the most to Asphasiology

For: Dr Olga Dragoy, Moscow, Russia

Against: Dr Leo Bonilha, South Carolina, USA

24 July 2020


Hear two asphasiology experts, Dr Olga Dragoy and Dr Leo Bonilha, debate on whether Russia has contributed the most to this field of research. See which expert you believe won the debate. 

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