The 38th Annual Mildred Trotter Lecture
Combinatorial Creatures: Cortical Plasticity Within and Across Lifetimes
Leah Krubitzer, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Center for Neuroscience
University of California, Davis
Hosted by: The Department of Neuroscience
This is a hybrid in-person and virtual event.
The talk will take place in the Eric P. Neuman Education Center (EPNEC), Seminar Room B, and a reception will follow on the EPNEC veranda.
Virtual attendees can join via zoom.
Webinar link: https://wustl-hipaa.zoom.us/j/93046993776
The neocortex is one of the most distinctive structures of the mammalian brain, yet also one of the most varied in terms of both size and organization. Multiple processes have contributed to this variability including evolutionary mechanisms (i.e., changes in gene sequence) that alter the size, organization and connections of the neocortex, and activity dependent mechanisms that can also modify these same features over shorter time scales.
Because the neocortex does not develop or evolve in a vacuum, when considering how different cortical phenotypes emerge within a species and across species, it is also important to consider alterations to the body, to behavior, and the environment in which an individual develops. Thus, changes to the neocortex can arise via different mechanisms, and over multiple time scales. Brains can change across large, evolutionary time scales of thousands to millions of years; across shorter time scales such as generations; and across the life of an individual – day-by-day, within hours, minutes and even on a time scale of a second.
The combination of genetic and activity dependent mechanisms that create a given cortical phenotype allows the mammalian neocortex to rapidly and flexibly adjust to different body and environmental contexts, and in humans permits culture to impact brain construction during development.