Press Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191
Public Contact: Sherry Levy-Reiner (202) 707-1513
For reservations, call the Special Events line and leave name: (202) 707-1616

September 8, 1999

Leading Cognitive Neuroscientists to Speak at the Library Oct. 6 at Conference on the Science of Thought

Leaders in the fields of neuroimaging and cognition will discuss the broad-ranging implications of their work at a conference at the Library of Congress at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 6. The conference, "Understanding Our Selves: The Science of Cognition," is being organized by the Library of Congress and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with major funding from the Charles A. Dana Foundation.

All sessions will take place in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library's James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The conference is free and open to the public; however, reservations are required. Those wishing to attend should call (202) 707-1616 and leave their names.

"It is altogether fitting that the Library of Congress will be the site for this groundbreaking conference," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The knowledge that scientists are gaining about the brain is essential to understanding the great minds whose works are preserved here in the world's largest library."

Said Dr. Steven E. Hyman, NIMH director: "Thanks to a powerful combination of cognitive science and neuroimaging, we are beginning to see the living, thinking brain at work -- and to discover what goes wrong in mental illness. We are at the beginning of an exciting scientific journey that ultimately will pay dividends for public health."

Sessions will focus on:

  • current understanding of how the brain works when we are learning and how the brain is affected by disorders such as schizophrenia and depression;
  • how research is being applied to develop new, more effective treatments for mental illnesses; and
  • the promise of cognitive neuroscience: what lies ahead in research in the 21st century.

Special exhibits will include a demonstration by scientists from the National Foundation for Functional Brain Imaging, a nonprofit organization funded primarily by the Department of Energy and based in Albuquerque, N.M. The foundation's goal is to combine the neuroimaging strengths of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) into new diagnostic tools for the treatment of mental illness.

An earlier conference, "Discovering Our Selves: The Science of Emotion" examined the physical origin of emotional activity. "Understanding Our Selves: The Science of Cognition" will explore how the human nervous system produces mental activity.

Speakers at the conference include:

Sandra Blakeslee, science writer, The New York Times; co-author, Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Jonathan D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior, Princeton University; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh

Eric Courchesne, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California-San Diego

Martha Bridge Denckla, M.D., Director, Developmental Cognitive Neurology, The Kennedy Krieger Institute; Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Robert Desimone, Ph.D., Director, Division of Intramural Research Programs, and Chief, Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

Guinevere Eden, D.Phil., Assistant Professor, Institute for Cognitive and Computational Sciences, Georgetown University Medical Center

Steven E. Hyman, M.D., Director, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., Head, Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Rockefeller University

Steven E. Petersen, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine

V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California-San Diego; co-author, Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Bruce R. Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Massachusetts General Hospital NMR Center; Professor in Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Larry R. Squire, Ph.D., University of California-San Diego School of Medicine; VA Medical Center-San Diego

Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., Chief, Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

Since 1991, the Library and NIMH have collaborated in the LC/NIMH Project on the Decade of the Brain to advance the goals set forth in a proclamation by President George Bush designating the 1990s as the Decade of the Brain. Within the Library's Office of Scholarly Programs, the Project sponsors symposia and publications to update members of Congress, their staffs and the general public about the latest research on the brain.

NIMH is part of the National Institutes of Health, the Federal Government's primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Charles A. Dana Foundation, founded in 1950, is a private philanthropic foundation with major program interests in neuroscience and education.

Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and/or Tactile) will be provided if requested five business days in advance of the event. email [email protected] or call (202) 707-6362 TTY and voice to make a specific request. For other ADA accommodations, contact the Disability Employment office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.

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PR 99-124
ISSN 0731-3527

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