Suter Science Seminars
Saturday, October 10, 2009, 9 a.m.
Suter Science #106
Advances in Brain Research in the 21st Century
The opportunities in neuroscience research in the 21st
century are quite remarkable. I have been involved in
the field since completing my PhD at the University of Rochester about a decade after my attendance at EMU. In this presentation I intend to review the advances
in brain science that have occurred. These include extraordinary brain imaging
technologies that permit analysis of on-going brain function in humans with
minimal risk. The powerful technology of human genetics has given information on
the genes that cause forms of Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s
disease and Lou-Gehrig’s disease. These discoveries have made possible inquiries
into the mechanisms of brain cell deterioration that cause symptoms of memory
loss, movement difficulties, paralysis and mood changes, like depression.
I will conclude the presentation with a discussion of brain plasticity, by which I
refer to the constantly changing functions of our brains with each new experience
forming the basis of cognition and memory. One could add that the 20th century
was the century in science of the atom, computer chip and the gene; the 21st
century is going to be the century of the ‘synapse’ the assembly of communication
between nerve cells that is so fundamental to all of the communication and
intellectual capabilities that humans possess.
About the Presenter
Joseph B. Martin, M.D., Ph.D.
Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology
at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
Prior to this appointment, Dr. Martin served for ten years as dean of the
Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University. At Harvard, he helped establish the
Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, comprised of seven Harvard-affliliates,
intent on reducing the burden of cancer. In 2001, he formed the Harvard
Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair, a virtual community of over 500
neurology and neuroscientist faculty and researchers working together on
understanding the prevention, causes, and treatment of neurodegenerative
Dr. Martin completed a residency in neurology in 1966 and fellowship in
neuropathology in 1967 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland,
Ohio, and received his Ph.D. in anatomy from the University of Rochester