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January 26, 2016 — Art and science have more in common than you might think. Both value people who are willing to think creatively and experiment with new approaches as they explore how the human mind perceives reality. Though artists and scientists may sometimes speak different languages, there is much they can learn from each other.

Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute recognizes the exciting potential of building bridges between these disciplines. In this spirit, Eric Kandel, MD, and the Zuckerman Institute have invited artist Jeff Koons to be the Institute’s first artist-in-residence.

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NEW YORK, December 12, 2016 — Columbia scientists have traced the origins of mysterious signals in the brain that have captivated the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) community for the last decade. Using a recently developed imaging technique in mice, the Columbia team — led by Zuckerman Institute Principal Investigator Elizabeth Hillman, PhD, revealed synchronized, network-like neural activity coursing around the brain, even when the mouse was ‘at rest.’ The researchers further demonstrated that this neural activity could predict slowly changing patterns of blood flow in the brain, connecting their findings to the enigmatic signals detected in ‘resting-state’ fMRI. Taken together, this research provides a tantalizing new view of brain-wide neural activity that could lead to a better understanding of how distinct brain regions interact with each other, and how these connections — and the way they change with disease — can be studied in the human brain using fMRI.

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November 30, 2016 — “Why is the young brain is so good at learning language?”

This was the question posed by Zuckerman Institute Principal Investigator Sarah Woolley, PhD, at the beginning of her Presidential Special Lecture last weekend at the 2016 Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

Addressing an audience of several thousand neuroscientists, Dr. Woolley shared her pioneering studies of auditory perception — the process by which the brain learns to interpret what it hears.

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November 17, 2016 — The Society for Neuroscience honored Thomas M. Jessell, PhD, with its highest award, reserved for scientists whose outstanding research has advanced the entire field. Dr. Jessell, a world expert in the neuroscience of movement and a codirector of Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, accepted the prize on Sunday at the Society’s annual meeting in San Diego.

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November 8, 2016 — Leica Microsystems CMS GmbH has entered into an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with Columbia University in New York to commercialize SCAPE microscopy for Life Science applications. SCAPE (swept confocally aligned planar excitation) microscopy forms 3D images of living samples by scanning them with a sheet of laser light. Developed by Zuckerman Institute Principal Investigator Elizabeth Hillman, PhD, SCAPE’s unique capabilities allow scientists to perform fundamentally new kinds of experiments, from imaging individual neurons firing throughout the brain of adult fruit flies, to tracking calcium waves through cells in the beating heart of a zebrafish. SCAPE also stands to create new inroads for understanding diseases such as cancer, and for the development of new drugs and therapies.

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