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Plenary Speakers

Terrence J. Sejnowski

Plenary_SejnowskiTerrence Sejnowski is a pioneer in computational neuroscience and his goal is to understand the principles that link brain to behavior. His laboratory uses both experimental and modeling techniques to study the biophysical properties of synapses and neurons and the population dynamics of large networks of neurons. New computational models and new analytical tools have been developed to understand how the brain represents the world and how new representations are formed through learning algorithms for changing the synaptic strengths of connections between neurons.

He has published over 400 scientific papers and 12 books, including The Computational Brain, with Patricia Churchland. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, one of only 10 living persons to be a member of all 3 national academies. Sejnowski received his PhD in physics from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University. He is now an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and holds the Francis Crick Chair at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

He is also a Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he is co-director of the Institute for Neural Computation and co-director of the NSF Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center. Sejnowski is the President of the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Foundation, which organizes an annual conference attended by over 1600 researchers in machine learning and neural computation and is the founding editor-in-chief of Neural Computation published by the MIT Press.

He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society. He has received many honors, including the NSF Young Investigators Award, the Wright Prize for interdisciplinary research from the Harvey Mudd College, the Neural Network Pioneer Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Hebb Prize from the International Neural Network Society and the Rosenblatt Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dominique M. Durand

Plenary_DurandDominique M. Durand is E.L. Linsedth Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosciences and Director of the Neural Engineering Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He received an engineering degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Electronique, Hydrolique, Informatique et Automatique de Toulouse, France in 1973. In 1974, he received a M.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Reserve University in Cleveland OH., worked several years at the Addiction Research Foundation of Toronto, Canada and in 1982 received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

He received an NSF Young Investigator Presidential Award as well as the Diekhoff and Wittke awards for graduate and undergraduate teaching and the Mortar board top-prof awards at Case Western Reserve University. He is an IEEE Fellow and also Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering and Fellow of the Institute of Physics. He serves on five editorial boards of peer-reviewed scientific journals and he is the editor-in-chief and founding editor of the Journal of Neural Engineering. His research interests are in neural engineering and include computational neuroscience, neurophysiology and control of epilepsy, non-linear dynamics of neural systems, neural prostheses and applied magnetic and electrical field interactions with neural tissue.

He has obtained funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles and he has consulted for many biotechnology companies and foundations.

Jerrold L. Vitek

Plenary_VitekJerrold L. Vitek is Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Vitek received his medical degree as well as a doctorate of neurophysiology from the University of Minnesota in 1984 and completed his residency in Neurology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1988, Dr. Vitek accepted a faculty position in the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. There, he spent two years studying motor systems in animal models of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and worked with Drs. F. Lenz and M. DeLong to establish the functional neurosurgery program at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In 1990, he accepted a position at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA to develop and direct the program for functional and stereotactic neurology. During that time, his program gained both national and international recognition. While at Emory, he also ran a basic science laboratory directed at studying the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders and delineating the mechanism(s) underlying the beneficial effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS). From Emory, he went on to the Cleveland Clinic where he continued to serve as a practicing physician in the field of movement disorders and deep brain stimulation and became the Director of the Neuromodulation Research Center. This center focused on the development of new applications for DBS, improving current application and advancement of functional surgery and DBS techniques for the treatment of neurological disease.

Dr. Vitek accepted the Chair of Neurology position at the University of Minnesota in June of 2010 where he continues to see patients specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and management of movement disorders, performing electrophysiology and mapping during DBS surgery and DBS programming. Dr. Vitek is also the Director for the Center for Neuromodulation Research at the University of Minnesota and a principal investigator on numerous basic, preclinical and clinical studies investigating the pathophysiology of movement disorders, mechanisms of DBS and the application of DBS for the treatment of neurologic disorders.

Bruce Wheeler

Bruce Wheeler44_0391-1Prof. Wheeler’s research interests lie in the application of electrical engineering methodologies to neuroscience. His work influenced the development of neural spike sorting technologies, demonstrated that microelectrode array recording from brain slices was possible and productive, and has been a leader in the development of lithography to control cells, especially neurons, in culture. This work aims at basic science understanding of the behavior of small populations of neurons, in hopes of creating better insight into the functioning of the brain. Bruce Wheeler moved to the University of Florida in 2008, after 28 years at the University of Illinois, mostly in the ECE Dept.. He founded the Bioengineering Department at Illinois and served as acting department chair at both Illinois and Florida. He currently serves as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the world¹s largest bioengineering society, and was Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, AIMBE and BMES.