ESI Lecture by Christopher Petkov

Relational Codes and Fronto-temporal Neural Systems

The extent to which aspects of our neurobiology can find realistic animal models constitutes a pressing issue for neuroscience. This is most salient in the domain of language and cognition, aspects of which have uniquely specialized in humans. This talk will overview the revolution taking place in understanding the neurobiology of cognition and language, as it includes how the brain creates mental structures and which aspects engage evolutionarily conserved or convergent neural mechanisms. Our comparative neuroimaging and intracranial recording work in human and nonhuman primates is helping to identify conserved fronto-temporal neural and oscillatory processes, as well as how the human brain appears to have specialized. Primates remain indispensable neurobiological models for aspects of human cognition, and the identified conserved processes could further advance knowledge on neural dynamics and combinatorial codes vital for structuring the sensory world during learning and memory. I conclude with a summary of translational strands where insights from the discovery work have resulted in initiatives involving human patients suffering from cognitive and language problems arising from stroke, degeneration or encephalitis.