Events Calendar

YINS Distinguished Lecturer: Arash Afraz (NIH)

YINS Distinguished Lecturer: Arash Afraz (NIH)

Event time: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 12:00pm
Yale Institute for Network Science See map
17 Hillhouse Avenue, 3rd floor
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

“Breaking the neural code with brain perturbations”

Speaker: Arash Afraz
Chief, Unit on Neurons, Circuits and Behavior (UNCB) 
National Institute of Mental Health

Abstract: A sensory stimulus such as the image of a face activates a cascade of neural responses in the visual system at different temporal and spatial scales. Some features of this complex pattern of activity are read-out by downstream neural structures, causally shape the perception of the stimulus and drive the behavior, I refer to these unknown features as “the neural code”. Other features of the neural response pattern are merely epiphenomenal, driven by perturbing a complex system with a complex stimulus. Development of a rigorous theory that explains visual perception based on its neural underpinning is impossible without exclusion of the neural epiphenomena and establishment of quantitative links between causally relevant neural events and perception. In this talk I will bring together evidence from electrical microstimulation, neuropharmacological perturbations and optogenetics to investigate the neural code for the case of object recognition behavior in non-human primate brain.  

Speaker bio: Arash Afraz received his MD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2003. In 2005 he joined the Vision Science Laboratory at Harvard and studied spatial constraints of face recognition under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick Cavanagh. Arash received his PhD in Psychology from Harvard University in 2009. Right after, he joined Dr. James DiCarlo’s group at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow to study the neural underpinnings of face and object recognition. Arash started at NIMH as a principal investigator in 2017 to lead the unit on Neurons, Circuits and Behavior (Afraz group). Arash’s research aims at bridging the causal gap between neural activity in inferior temporal cortex and visual perception.