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Type of Event

Event Calendar

Monday, April 15, 2019

Mon, Apr 15, 2019

Biology Monday Seminar

Enjoy a seminar with Dr. Alo Baso, College of the Holy Cross.

Basu headshot

Biology Monday Seminar: "Neuronal Complexity and Hippocampus-Dependent Cognition"

Alo Basu, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at College of the Holy Cross, will present "Neuronal Complexity and Hippocampus-Dependent Cognition."

There is strikingly little understanding, at present, of how cellular and circuit-level variation in the mammalian brain relates to variation in cognition. Following from case studies of brain damage and disease in humans, current understanding of brain-behavior relationships is largely based on results of physical, chemical, pharmacological and genetic "lesions" that result in changes to neuronal morphology, circuit physiology and cognition in experimental systems. We have developed a mouse model of D-serine deficiency which reveals the limitations of the current paradigm, including the pitfalls of hypothesis testing as regards variability in neuronal structure and cognitive function. Further, we have uncovered deleterious effects of standard laboratory housing conditions on cognition in mice that suggest that the range of behavior that is being routinely observed in translational neuroscience is limited. We propose that the analysis of variability in hippocampal neuronal morphology and behavior can be combined with noninvasive environmental enrichment to test assumptions about how complexity of hippocampal neurons relates to hippocampus-dependent cognition in mice.

Photo of an ancient Greek urn decorated with illustrations of mythological scenes

"Imagining the Underworld: Life after Death in Ancient Greek Religion"

How did the ancient Greeks imagine the underworld? Their depictions of the life after death reveal the variety of conflicting ideas in the Greek tradition, from the continuative existences after death that preserve cultural memories to the compensatory afterlives that rectify the incompleteness of justice in the mortal world to the grand cosmic visions that bring together life and death, mortal and immortal, chthonic and celestial, into a single system. All these imaginings of afterlife make use of familiar tropes, names and images from the Greek mythic tradition, and each of the authors of an afterlife vision thinks with and through an imagined underworld in different ways for different ends.