December 5, 2018

Bioengineering-led Neuroengineering Symposium brings more than 80 academic experts to share their advancement and build partnerships

Author: Katharine Hall
December 5, 2018

UCR’s Department of Bioengineering led the campus’ first Computational Neuroimaging and Neuroengineering Symposium (CNNS) in November. The symposium brought together more than 80 cognitive neuroscientists, computational psychologists, bioengineers and neuroengineers, electrical and computer engineers, and computer scientists to discuss new advances and results in the fast-growing field. Students, postdocs, and faculty were in attendance from overseas and campuses from Northern and Southern California.  

“A symposium like this is critical to build on our knowledge of computational neuroimaging and neuroengineering. As professionals, faculty, and students connected, we formed collaborations and outlined new research opportunities relevant to the most pressing issues facing this field,” said Megan Peters, assistant professor of bioengineering.

University of California, Berkeley professor Jack Gallant kicked off the event with a dynamic keynote focused on characterizing and mapping neural activity patterns spanning a vast sematic representational space and the importance of statistical rigor and scientific integrity in the field of neuroengineering. His keynote was followed by a series of contributed talks by students and postdocs sharing their most recent findings – some data fresh off the press from the night before. University of California, San Diego associate professor Angela Yu also served as keynote speaker, describing the intricacy and complexity of cognitive computations to be targeted with neuroimaging advances, which was followed by several students and faculty sharing computer science and engineering advances in device development and big data analysis. The event’s third and final keynote speaker was Laurent Itti, professor at University of Southern California, who described the intersection of computer vision, neuroimaging, and computational models and how it may lead to advances in truly “intelligent” artificial systems. Along the walls of the building stood posters contributed by students, postdocs, and faculty.  

The symposium was supported by a multidisciplinary Teaming Mini-Grant from UCR’s Office of the Provost awarded to principal investigator (PI) Megan Peters (Bioengineering) and co-PIs Amit Roy-Chowdhury (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Xiaoping Hu (Bioengineering), Aaron Seitz (Psychology), Edward Korzus (Psychology), Edward Zagha (Psychology), and Khaleel Razak (Psychology). The grant supports activities that bring together faculty to discuss new areas of research and scholarship, and catalyze the establishment of new teams. As a result of the event, new collaborations formed and new directions for research were identified. The organizers hope to turn CNNS into an annual event. Interested readers can visit the CNNS website to view the event program and abstracts.