Title: “Which brains are we studying? And why are we studying them? ” 

Date: Saturday 11 July 2020, 15:30-17:00

Neuroscientists use a broad range of organisms (from worms, flies and zebrafish to rodents and primates, and now to organoids) to study brain function and behaviour. This Brain Debate aims at illustrating why different scientists study different systems and what can be achieved with different approaches. Animal preparations are frequently presented as ‘model organisms’. Does this suggest that the ultimate goal of animal work should be to understand and treat the human brain? Translating animal brain research to clinical implications is certainly a key goal of a large part of the research carried out. The neuroscientific community may, however, have diverse views on the purpose of studying many systems, on what can be achieved with different brain ‘models’, and on what the ultimate goals of each research field and envisioned applications may be. In this Brain Debate, we will discuss the merits of focused and comparative approaches and reflect on our scientific mission and on our vision for the field.

Speakers and discussants:

  1. Angela Roberts (Cambridge)
  2. Christian Lüscher (Geneva)
  3. Emre Yaksi (Trondheim)
  4. Gilles Laurent (Frankfurt)
  5. Guo-li Ming (Philadelphia)
  6. Tracy Bale (Maryland)
  7. Peter Dayan (Tübingen)
  8. Irene Tracey (Oxford)


Trevor Robbins (Cambridge)