Professor Alex Fornito
Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health
Monash University, Clayton Campus, VIC

Title: Geometric constraints on human brain function


It is widely accepted that brain anatomy constrains function, but precisely how remains unclear. In many areas of physics and engineering, structural constraints on system dynamics can be used understood with reference to the system’s eigenmodes, which correspond to fundamental patterns, or resonant modes, of the system. Which structural properties of the brain should be prioritized when defining the brain’s fundamental modes? I will present converging evidence from experimental data and computational models to indicate that the geometry of the brain plays a more fundamental role in shaping dynamics than its complex array of axonal connectivity. These findings challenge many implicit assumptions of contemporary neuroscientific research, but are directly predicted by neural field theory, an established theoretical framework for understanding physical constraints on neural dynamics. This work highlights a previously under-appreciated link between the shape of a brain structure and its function, in which spatially patterned activity can be understood as arising from excitations of fundamental geometric modes of the brain.


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018