75th Annual Dinner Meeting

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75th Annual Dinner Meeting
04/10/2019 6:00 pm
The University Seminars
The Faculty House
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64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY, 10027, United States

The Biology of Memory and Age Related Memory Loss

I will consider the neural systems and molecular mechanisms that contribute to learning and long-term memory.  I will divide my talk into two parts: First, I will consider how different memory systems were identified in the human brain and how they were shown to be involved in two major forms of neural memory storage: 1) simple memory for perceptual and motor skills and 2) complex memory for facts and events. I will then go on to outline studies that demonstrated that long-term memory is reflected in the growth of new synaptic connections. Finally, I will discuss how our insights into memory storage are allowing us to understand the two major forms of age related memory loss.

Eric R. Kandel, M.D., is University Professor at Columbia; Kavli Professor and Director, Kavli Institute for Brain Science; Co-Director, Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute; and a Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A graduate of Harvard College and N.Y.U. School of Medicine,  Dr. Kandel trained in Neurobiology at the NIH and in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1974 as the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. At Columbia Kandel organized the neuroscience curriculum. He is an editor of Principles of Neural Science, the standard textbook in the field now in its 5th edition. In 2006, Kandel wrote a book on the brain for the general public entitled In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, which won both the L.A. Times and U.S. National Academy of Science Awards for best book in Science and Technology in 2008. A documentary film based on that book is also entitled In Search of Memory. In 2012 Kandel wrote The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present, which won the Bruno-Kreisky Award in Literature, Austria’s highest literary award. Kandel’s book entitled, Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures was published in 2016 by Columbia University Press. Kandel’s newest book, The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux has just been released. Eric Kandel’s research has been concerned with the molecular mechanisms of memory storage in Aplysia and mice. More recently, he has studied animal models in mice of memory disorders, mental illness, and nicotine addiction. Kandel has received twenty-four honorary degrees, is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as well as being a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London and a member of the National Science Academies of Austria, France, Germany, and Greece. He has been recognized with the Albert Lasker Award, the Heineken Award of the Netherlands, the Gairdner Award of Canada, the Harvey Prize and the Wolf Prize of Israel, the National Medal of Science USA and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000.

Ronald Gross, who co-chairs The University Seminar on Innovation in Education, has served as a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, the Fund for the Advancement of Education, and the Academy for Educational Development. His work in supporting lifelong learning initiatives in Europe, the Far East, Israel, Canada, and Mexico, has been supported by the European Foundation for Management Development, UNESCO, and the Ford and Rothschild Foundations. In 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for Self-Directed Learning and in 2014 he was inducted into the Lifelong Learning Hall of Fame of the International Association for Adult and Continuing Education. His books, which have been published in 27 countries including the UK, France, Russia, and China, cover the human life-span from childhood to old age: The Children’s Rights Movement, Radical School Reform, High School, The Great School Debate, Peak Learning, The Lifelong Learner, The Independent Scholar, The New Professionals, Individualism, and The New Old. His most recent book is Socrates’ Way. He is the founder/director of Conversations New York, a pro-bono volunteer organization which promotes free community-based conversations throughout the city, and holds an annual Conversation Day in Bryant Park with partners around the world. The late Buckminster Fuller wrote about his work: “If humanity is to pass safely through its present crisis on earth, it will be because a majority of individuals are now doing their own thinking.” Ronald Gross has pioneered in improving the climate for such thinking. Gross’ daughter, Elizabeth Gross Cohn, is the Rudin Distinguished Professor in Community Health at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and his son Peter is the founder-director of the Boston Hysterical Society, a variety entertainment company based in Boston.