With the Neural Architectures exhibition as a backdrop, the Brain and Mind series continues as two scientists examine brain mapping and connectome research -- the effort to build comprehensive graphics of neural connections.
Surya Ganguli is a fellow at the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology in the Keck Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and is supported by a career award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Interfaces in Science Program. At Sloan-Swartz, he conducts research on theoretical principles underlying the organization of neural circuitry mediating learning, memory, and sensorimotor processing. Before joining UCSF, he received his Ph.D. in string theory at the Berkeley Center for Theoretical Physics and the Theory Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His undergrad days at MIT saw him studying electrical engineering and computer science, mathematics, and physics.
Professor Richard Hahnloser heads the Birdsong Research Group at the University of Zurich's Institute of Neuroinformatics. He is also Dean of the joint master's degree program in Neural Systems and Computation, offered in collaboration with the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Faculty at the University of Zurich and by the Department of Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). This program is an interdisciplinary research platform that offers theoretical and laboratory training in neural computation and systems neuroscience. Hahnloser earned his Ph.D. at the Institute of Neuroinformatics at ETH Zurich in 1999 and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Seung Lab) at MIT and the Biological Computation Research group at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs.
Richard Hahnloser describes a significant obstacle to reconstructing neural networks of the brain. To map out the connections in a one millimeter sphere of a brain would require more data than it would take to draw every square inch of the planet in Google Earth.