(in order of appearance)
Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
V.S. Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute.
Ramachandran initially trained as a doctor and subsequently obtained a Ph.D. from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. Ramachandran’s early work was on visual perception but he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology, which have had a profound impact on the way we think about the brain. He has been called “The Marco Polo of neuroscience” by Richard Dawkins and “The modern Paul Broca” by Eric Kandel.
Ramachandran has published over 180 papers in scientific journals (including five invited review articles in Scientific American). He is author of the acclaimed book Phantoms in the Brain that has been translated into nine languages and formed the basis for a two part series on Channel Four TV in the U.K. and a one-hour PBS special. Newsweek magazine has named him a member of “The Century Club” — “one of the “hundred most prominent people to watch in the next century.”
Lionel Naccache is a neurologist at the Pitié-Salpêtriere Hospital, where he works in the INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, which investigates high-level human cognitive functions such as language, mathematics, and attention, combining experimental psychology, neuropsychology and neuroimagery approaches.
Naccache is also a doctor of cognitive neuroscience at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. His medical and scientific research has focused on the access to consciousness, including a variety of behavioral and neuroimaging experiments designed to study the contrast between subliminal versus conscious processing of masked words and digits.
He is the author of Le nouvel inconscient: Freud, Christophe Colomb des neurosciences (Editions Odile Jacob, October 2006).
Walter J. Freeman
Walter J. Freeman is Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology at the University of California in Berkeley, where he has taught brain science since 1959. His present research involves behavioral testing that reveals the dynamics of the cortex, including its most essential functions, such as abstraction, generalization, and classification.
Dr. Freeman has won more than twenty awards, including the Bennett Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry in 1964, a Guggenheim in 1965, the MERIT Award from NIMH in 1990, and the Pioneer Award from the Neural Networks Council of the IEEE in 1992. He was President of the International Neural Network Society in 1994 and is a Life Fellow of the IEEE.
He has authored over 450 articles and four books, including Mass Action in the Nervous System (1975), Societies of Brains (1995), Neurodynamics (2000) and How Brains Make Up Their Minds (2001).
Bruno Van Swinderen
Bruno Van Swinderen is an Associate Fellow at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California. His research over the last twenty years has focused on the brain and behavior relationships, and on the development and plasticity of the central nervous system through the study of sensory systems, in particular the visual system.
He is presently using the fruit fly (drosophilia) as a genetic model system to study mechanisms of perception in the brain, focusing on three phenomena — selective attention, sleep, and general anesthesia — and how visual perception is affected by these three different arousal states.
He has written articles for numerous scientific publications, including Science, Developmental Neurobiology, Journal of Neurobiology, Nature Neuroscience, Genetics, New Scientist Magazine, and Current Biology.
Maurice Ptito is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University in Montreal.
His current research focuses on the development and plasticity of the visual system, using both animal and human (normal as well as cortical lesions and blindness) models. The techniques used include single-unit recordings, neuroanatomy, optical imaging, behavior, fMRI and PET. Dr. Ptito is coauthor of Vision: From Neurons to Cognition.