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NIH Director’s Lecture

The Director’s Lectures feature leading researchers from around the globe. Nominated by scientists and interest groups throughout NIH, the speakers are specifically approved by the NIH Director. There are typically three NIH Director’s Lectures per year.

The Future of Non-invasive Functional Imaging in the Era of Big Data

June 1, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Damien Fair, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

The Fair laboratory focuses on mechanisms and principles that underlie the developing brain. The majority of this work uses functional MRI and resting state functional connectivity MRI to assess typical and atypical populations. Dr. Fair is the co-director of the new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain.

POSTPONED TILL FALL — Neurobiology of the World’s Most Dangerous Animal

April 13, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Leslie Vosshall, Ph.D., The Rockefeller Institute

This lecture is postponed till fall 2022.

POSTPONED TILL FALL — RNA Splicing, Chromatin Modification, and the Coordinated Control of Gene Expression

March 9, 2022 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Tracy Johnson, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

This lecture is postponed till fall 2022.

Neurobiology of Social Behavior Circuits

June 2, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Catherine Dulac, Ph.D., Harvard University

Social interactions are essential for animals to survive, reproduce, raise their young. Over the years, my lab has attempted to decipher the unique characteristics of social recognition: what are the unique cues that trigger distinct social behaviors, what is the nature and identity of social behavior circuits, how is the function of these circuits different in males and females and how are they modulated by the animal physiological status?

Towards a Deeper and More Human-centric Medicine

May 19, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Eric Topol, M.D., Scripps Research Institute

The subtype of AI, deep learning, has recently been used for a variety of medical applications, particularly image interpretation, across many disciplines. It is early, but these deep neural networks have considerable transformative potential to promote accuracy, streamline workflow, synthesize data for both clinicians and patients, promote patient autonomy, and greatly enhance the patient–clinician relationship. To date, prospective validation studies are quite limited, and we need to confront such vital issues of how AI can unintendedly worsen inequities and discrimination.

On the Design of Bionic Limbs: The Science of Tissue-Synthetic Interface

May 5, 2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Hugh Herr, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Herr's research program seeks to advance technologies that promise to accelerate the merging of body and machine, including device architectures that resemble the body’s musculoskeletal design, actuator technologies that behave like muscle, and control methodologies that exploit principles of biological movement. His methods encompass a diverse set of scientific and technological disciplines, from the science of biomechanics and biological movement control to the design of biomedical devices for the treatment of human physical disability.

Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy:  Historical Perspective, New Opportunities, and Prospects for Cures

March 11, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
James P. Allison, Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas

Deciphering cancer genomes and networks

February 5, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Mona Singh, Ph.D., Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University

Brain Machine Interfaces: from Basic Science to Neuroprostheses and Neurological Recovery

October 16, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Miguel A. Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University Medical Center

“In this talk, I will describe how state-of-the-art research on brain–machine interfaces makes it possible for the brains of primates to interact directly and in a bi-directional way with mechanical, computational and virtual devices without any interference of the body’s muscles or sensory organs. I will review a series of recent experiments using real-time computational models to investigate how ensembles of neurons encode motor information.

Autoantigens and autoimmunity: a bedside to bench and back again story

June 26, 2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Sandra L. Wolin, M.D., Ph.D., National Cancer Institute

Noncoding RNAs play critical roles in the metabolism of all cells. The Wolin laboratory studies how noncoding RNAs function, how cells recognize and degrade defective noncoding RNAs, and how failure to degrade these RNAs affects cell function and contributes to human disease. Their studies revealed new mechanisms by which defective RNAs are targeted for degradation and new classes of noncoding RNAs. Most recently, their work has contributed to a novel theory for how the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus may be triggered in genetically susceptible individuals.


The page was last updated on Monday, February 11, 2019 - 2:31pm