UW Medicine Faculty Present the Leading Edge of Research

Since its launch in 1976, the Science in Medicine Lecture Series has recognized the School of Medicine faculty research achievements and provided an opportunity for researchers to explore topics outside of their immediate fields.

Lectures are organized into the four categories described below. Speakers are nominated by members of the School of Medicine scientific community and final selection is determined by a committee of peers from the Council on Research and Graduate Education (CORGE).

Science in Medicine Lecture Series

Peer-selected UW Medicine faculty present lectures on the forefront of research.

New Investigator Lectures | The New Investigator Lectures provide an important forum for the recognition of exceptional junior faculty members’ current scientific research.

Science in Medicine Lectures | Science in Medicine Lecturers recognizes the body of research for established faculty members as well as recent exciting discoveries.

Collaborative Science Lecture | These lectures will be given collaboratively by two UW SOM faculty members, who exemplify the interdisciplinary collaborative teams that are necessary to solve complex problems in medicine and science.

Distinguished Scientist Lecture | The Distinguished Scientist Lecture recognizes an accomplished School of Medicine senior faculty member, honoring outstanding achievements in their field of research.

Annual Lecture | The Annual Lecture recognizes a prominent, nationally recognized scientist from another research institution, whose research has had a profound impact on their field.

Upcoming Science in Medicine Lecture:

“Dynamic neural coding of social behavior in the hypothalamus”

Zoom Webinar

In-Person Location: Orin Smith Auditorium – South Lake Union Campus

Director, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Leadership Chair
Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology

The hypothalamus controls both physiological homeostasis and innate survival behaviors such as mating, aggression and predator defense.  The prevailing view is that the circuitry controlling the latter behaviors is primarily organized as a series of “labeled lines,” in which specific cell types control specific behaviors through dedicated circuitry. I will present evidence that population coding and neural dynamics play a previously unsuspected and important role in controlling social behaviors in the hypothalamus. More specifically, we have found that line attractor-like dynamics in the hypothalamus may represent a neural mechanism for encoding scalable, persistent motive states that underly such behaviors.  These findings suggest that attractor dynamics may play a much broader role in controlling behavior, beyond the primarily cognitive functions mediated by the cortico-hippocampal areas in which they have been described previously.