Fermilab Lecture Series presents Connectomics: Mapping the Brain – Friday

Harvard University's Jeff Lichtman gives a talk on mapping the human brain on Friday at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium.

Harvard University’s Jeff Lichtman gives a talk on mapping the human brain on Friday at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium.

People are fond of making maps. They have mapped the Earth, vast swaths of the sky and the human genome. Now they’ve begun an effort to map in minute detail the human brain.

On Friday, Aug. 9, in Ramsey Auditorium, scientist Jeff Lichtman will give a talk on mapping the brain through an approach called connectomics, which uncovers ways information is stored in neural networks through a vast wiring diagram of our most complex organ. The talk, part of the Fermilab Lecture Series, begins at 8 p.m.

In his research, Lichtman has focused on the dramatic rewiring of neural connections through the development of techniques such as a “Brainbow,” which allows select imaging of particular classes of central neurons. Recently his efforts have focused on developing new electron microscopy methods to map the entire wiring diagram of the developing and adult brain. Connectional maps of the brain may have value in developing models of both how the brain normally works and how it fails when subsets of neurons or synapses are missing or misconnected. Such maps might also provide information about how brain circuits develop and age.

Jeff Lichtman is the Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Santiago Ramon y Cajal Professor of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. He received an A.B. from Bowdoin and an M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University, where he worked for 30 years. He is a member of the newly established Center for Brain Science at Harvard.

Tickets are $7. They can be purchased online before noon on Friday or at the Fermilab box office until 4 p.m. that day. Attendees can also purchase tickets at the door on the evening of the talk beginning at 7 p.m. For more information or to reserve a seat, visit the Fermilab Lecture Series Web page.