SESSION 1: Brain studies: history and emerging issues

12 – 30 September

The Colloquium opened with a lecture on the mind-brain problem presented through the optic of neuro-imaging, before considering the ways in which the Brain is understood and studied – African and other. But understanding the Brain is more than pure science and the scientific method alone, so the challenge of free will and the moral brain will also be tabled. But is this enough? Science and society mixed in the final seminar of the opening week as neutrons and networks connected in an ever-changing world.

WEEK ONE: Seminars

Monday 12 September. Prof Balázs Gulyás. The Brain-Mind Problem: Grand Challenges in Exploring the Human Brain. Protea Auditorium, UJ Bunting Road Campus. 12h00-14h30.

Prof Balázs Gulyás: Interactive Seminar with Colloquium participants. JIAS Cartoon Room. 15h00-16h30. Members of the public: RSVP

Tuesday 13 September. Prof Vivienne Russell. History of African Neuroscience. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Wednesday 14 September. Prof Catherine Odora-Hoppers. Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Cognitive Justice: Re-Imagining the Mind and Responsibilities in the 21st Century. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Thursday 15 September. Prof Maureen Sie. The Moral Brain: Neuroscience, Free Will and Moral Agency. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Friday 16 September. Prof Martijn van den Heuvel. Exploring Brain Wiring: From Neurons to Networks. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09:00-12:00

WEEK TWO: Seminars and public events

Monday 19 September. Prof Willem Hendrik Gispen. The Roots of Western Brain Research. JIAS, Tolip Street, Westdene. 09h00-12h00.

Wednesday 21 September. Prof John Parkington, Prof Jose Braga, Prof Francis Thackeray, Dr Amélie Beaudet, Dr Julian Benoit, Prof Paul Manger. The Origins of the Brain: From Mammal-like Reptiles to Humans. Cate Druce Lecture Room, Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute. 09h00-14h45.

Co-organised with Wits University’s Evolutionary Studies Institute, the Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences and the Royal Society of South Africa.

SESSION 2: The cognitive brain

3 to 21 October

The focus of this session was on animal and human neurocognition. The significance of physiological and structural brain parameters such as neuronal connectivity and neocortical circuits was highlighted, and presenters and participants considered how the brain processes information. Special attention was paid to molecular mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease, and emerging avenues for treatment.

WEEK 1: Seminars

Monday 3 October. Dr Iris Oren. Neuronal Circuit Mechanisms of Memory in Health and Disease. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Tuesday 4 October. Prof Kevan Martin. The Behavioural Architecture of the Neocortex. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Wednesday 5 October. Prof Konstantin Anokhin. Animal Mind and Cognition. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Thursday 6 October. Prof Monica DiLuca. New Aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis: From Amyloid to Synaptic Dysfunction. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09:00-12:00

Friday 7 October. Prof Frans Verstraten. The brain as a gambler with a lot of prior knowledge. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

WEEK 2: Seminars and public events

Monday 10 October. Prof Christine Gispen-De Wied. Emerging Drug Therapies in Alzheimer’s Disease. JIAS Cartoon Room. 9h00-12h00

Thursday 13 October. Professor Andries Engelbrecht and colleagues. Artificial Intelligence. Centre for Scholarship, University of Pretoria.

SESSION 3: The creative brain

24 October to 28 October

During this session, artists and scientists from the United States, Europe and Africa considered issues such as the neural substrate of creativity and the creative process. Novelists, visual scientists and musicians crossed the bridge between art and (neuro)science.


Monday 24 October. Prof Hans Bertens. Literary art and the problem of language. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Tuesday 25 October. Dr Darya Zabelina. The Benefits of ‘Leaky’ Attention: What Science Has To Say About Mind-Wandering, Attention and Creativity. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

Wednesday 26 October. Yewande Omotoso. Where Fiction Comes From: Telling Lies and Other Creative Work. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

Thursday 27 October. Taga Nuwagaba. Art, Voice and Thought in Uganda. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

October 28 October. Brendon Bussy. Silent Noise / Noisy Silence. 09h00-12h00. JIAS Cartoon Room.

SESSION 4: The social brain

14-24 November

This session on social cognition focused on the role of mirror neurons and neurolinguistics. It also dealr with brain mechanisms related to stress, aggression and violence. Understanding these mechanisms may lead to treatment strategies for psychiatric disorders with social impairments.

WEEK 1: Seminars

Monday 14 November. Prof Ron de Kloet. Stress, Resilience and the Brain. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

Tuesday 15 November. Prof Carmen Sandi. The Emergence of Aggression – Roles of Stress and Neuroplasticity. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Wednesday 16 November. Prof Suzy Styles. Letting the Hitchhiker Drive: How Language Modulates Brain Development, Shapes Sensation, and Co-creates Conscious Experience. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

Thursday 17 November. Prof Jack van Honk. Translational neuroscience of basolateral amygdala lesions: Studies in Urbach-Wiethe disease. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00

Friday 18 November. Prof Larry Young. Oxytocin and the Natural Mechanisms of Social Attachment, Social Loss, and Empathy-related Behaviours: Implications for Autism. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

WEEK 2: Seminars and public events

Monday 21 November. Prof Minet de Wied. Empathy and Mimicry: Representations of the Social Brain. JIAS Cartoon Room. 09h00-12h00.

Wednesday 23 November. Dr Georgina Spies. HIV infection and early life stress: effects on brain morphometry and neurocognitive function. JIAS Cartoon Room. 14h00-17h00.

Thursday 24 November. Prof Garth Stevens. Why brain matters in South Africa. JIAS Cartoon Room. 13h00-15h00.

Thursday 24 November. Prof Ron de Kloet. Tipping the Balance towards Stress Resilience. Cleveringa Lecture. Co-organised with the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria. University of Johannesburg. 18h30-19h30.

(c) Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study

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