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"Brain and Mind"– a two-day symposium that is part of Columbia's celebration of its 250th anniversary – will explore the biological mechanisms involved in mental activity. Participants will discuss the accomplishments and drawbacks of both the reductionist and holistic approaches to studying the nervous system and mental function. Reductionist approaches attempt to analyze the nervous system in terms of its elementary components by examining one molecule, one cell, or one circuit at a time. Holistic approaches focus on mental functions in human beings and in experimentally accessible animals and attempt to relate these behaviors to the higher-order features of large systems of neurons.

Scheduled to speak are Nobel Prize Laureates Roderick MacKinnon from Rockefeller University and Eric Kandel from Columbia; Judith Rapoport, the NIH; Huda Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; Michael Rutter, King's College, London; Nora Volkow, the National Institute of Drug Abuse; Nancy Kanwisher, MIT; William Newsome, Stanford University; Christof Koch, the California Institute of Technology; John Searle, the University of California, Berkeley; and Columbia's Richard Axel, Tom Jessell, and Gerald Fischbach.

For more information and to register visit