Deciphering the brain - the past and present of brain science from molecular and cellular perspectives.

Dr Kojiro Yano (Department of Physiology)

Saturday, 28 January, 2006; 7:30-9:30pm

Seminar room, No1. Newnham Terrace, Darwin College

You may have read magazine or newspaper articles saying like "Twenty-first century's life science will be dominated by brain science" or "Brain is the last biological frontier". Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, the only Japanese medical Nobel laureate for his work on immunogenetics, turned to brain science because he thought brain science was the most challenging but most interesting field in life science. This idea seems to be shared by Francis Crick, who won Nobel prise for his work with James Watson on the double helix structure of DNA.
I will start my talk with an explanation as to why the brain science is so fascinating to the scientific giants. To put it simply, it is because there are many unknowns about the brain, and we still have a number of difficult theoretical and experimental setbacks to be addressed. If we are to shed a light on the deepest mystery of the mind, we have to develop an approach which is entirely different from what we have for other organs. To introduce the approaches which are unique to the brain science, I would like to discuss some important research methods from a historical point of view. Then I will explain modern molecular and cellular techniques for brain science and finally I will show how basic neuroscience can be translated into cure for neurological and psychiatric diseases.