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Silicon Valley: Monthly Lunch: "The BRAIN Initiative and Stories of Hunting Cell Types in the Brain" with John Ngai (PhD '87)
$20.00, including lunch, tax, and gratuity and $5.00 for those not eating the buffet (please indicate “not eating” after your name when you register)

About the Event

The human brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons which in turn are thought to comprise hundreds if not thousands of distinct cell types, each tailored for a specific functional role in the processing of sensory information, generation of motor output, and for providing the biological basis of memory, behavior and cognition. Elucidating the properties of neural circuits and how they subserve these complex emergent properties of the brain requires a “parts list” that describes the cell types that comprise these circuits and their roles in processing and integrating information. However, since the description of diverse neuronal cell types over a century ago by Ramon y Cajal, we have barely scratched the surface of understanding the diversity of cell types in the brain and how each individual cell type contributes to nervous system function. Most approaches for classifying neurons are insufficient to fully describe or predict the vast number of different cell types that comprise the mammalian brain. In my presentation, I will discuss recent advances in single cell RNA profiling technologies (also known as single cell RNA-sequencing or single cell RNA-seq) that have revolutionized our ability to unravel the cellular diversity underlying complex biological systems, including the mammalian brain. I will highlight work from my lab in the broader framework of the US BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), whose goal is to develop and deploy new technologies for unraveling the complexity of the human brain in health and disease.

Additional Details

  • Please RSVP by 5 pm on August 15th
  • Those who have not registered will have to wait at the door as registered alumni are seated first
  • Pay at the door
  • Registrants must pay whether they show up or not as we are charged based on the number of RSVPs we receive.

About the Speaker

John is the Coates Family Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the QB3 Functional Genomics Laboratory at UC Berkeley. He received his B.A. in Chemistry and Biology (magna cum laude) from Pomona College in 1980 and his Ph.D. in Biology from Caltech in 1987. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, in 1993 Dr. Ngai joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he currently studies the regulation of neural stem cells and the diversity of neuronal cell types using high-throughput genomics technologies. He was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a McKnight Foundation Scholars Award in Neuroscience, and a Pew Scholars Award in the Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Ngai was previously Head of the Neuroscience Graduate program (1999-2011), Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (2011-2013), and a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Biology (2011-2015) at UC Berkeley. He currently serves on the Academic Advisory Committee of the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute in Shenzhen, China and on the Executive Committee of the Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute Executive Committee. On the national level, Dr. Ngai has served on the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders National Advisory Council and on numerous National Institutes of Health grant review panels, including as chair of the Training and Workforce Development study section and several BRAIN Initiative review committees. He is deeply interested in leveraging new technologies to promote discoveries in the biological sciences and in identifying and mentoring tomorrow’s scientific leaders.

Questions? Contact: Peter Tong: peter@ipventure.com

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