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Scientific Lectures //

White Matter as a Transport System

Tomáš Paus, Ph.D. - Senior Scientist at Rotman Research Institute and Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Toronto

Presented: October 31, 2014

ABSTRACT: There are two ways to picture white matter: as a grid of electrical wires or a network of roads. The first metaphor captures the classical function of an axon as conductor of action potentials (and information) from one brain region to another. The second one points to the important role of axons in a bi-directional transport of biological molecules and organelles between the cell body and synapse. Given the wide variety of such cargoes, a well-functioning axonal transport is critical for a number of processes, including neurotransmission, metabolism and viability of neurons. This talk will emphasize the need for considering axonal transport when interpreting functional consequences of inter-individual variations in the structural properties of white matter.

BIOGRAPHY: Professor Tomáš Paus is the Tanenbaum Chair in Population Neuroscience, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and Senior Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute. He is an expert in mapping the human brain in health and disease using a variety of tools, including magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Over the past 10 years, Professor Paus has initiated or joined several large-scale studies of brain maturation and cognitive development during adolescence, thus pioneering a new discipline of population neuroscience that operates at an intersection of epidemiology, genetics and neuroscience. In this work, he and his colleagues explore the interplay between genes and environment in shaping the human brain and, in turn, trajectories of mental and cognitive health.

Professor Paus has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles, 13 book chapters, co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Transcranial Stimulation and wrote a book on Population Neuroscience. He received the Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award, Gold Medal of the Masaryk University, is an elected member of the International Neuropsychology Symposium and an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, serves as Associate Editor of the Human Brain Mapping and Social Neuroscience, and as a member of several Scientific Advisory Boards in Europe and North America.

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