Chris Rozell - faculty host
"The Modular Brian"
Mark D’Esposito, M.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology
Director, Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center
University of California, Berkeley
Sponsored by CABI
What type of system is the brain? The brain is widely assumed to be one of many modular systems in nature, which are thought to be computational tractable and favored by evolution. While focal brain lesions lead to very specific cognitive deficits, suggesting a modular structure, other focal lesions can have a widespread impact on cognition, suggesting that some cognitive processes emerge from interactions between many brain regions that are not functionally organized as modules. Thus, how information is functionally segregated yet integrated across modules remains an open question. In this talk, I will discuss a series of empirical findings that begin to elucidate the neural architecture of modular processing by showing that modules execute discrete processes and connector hubs are likely integrating and sending information across modules in support of goal-directed cognition.
Dr. D’Esposito earned his medical degree in 1987 at the SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse and then completed seven years of training in Neurology at Boston University Medical Center and Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. In 1993, he joined the faculty in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 2000, he was recruited to the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley to become Professor of Neuroscience, and the Director of the newly created Henry H. Wheeler, Jr. Brain Imaging Center. Dr. D’Esposito’s research investigates how the brain supports high-level cognitive processing, how the brain recovers from injury and potential treatments for the injured brain. He also practices Neurology at the Northern California VA Medical Center where he is the Chief of the NeuroRehabilitation Unit.