The R13 mechanism would be used to support a scientific conference, "Anatomical and functional modularity of the cerebral cortex", focusing on recent studies describing the organization of the cerebral cortex from a modular perspective, and how the same provides for translational perspectives into clinical practice. The conference would provide a cohesive forum on the latest anatomical and physiological approaches to understanding the basic components of cortical modularity and their involvement in different pathological states, e.g., autism, dyslexia, and ADHD. It will disseminate, for example, recent work regarding the use of minicolumns as neural prosthetics agents for cases of stroke/neurodegenerative disorders and how timing in neural firing between different layers of a minicolumn may provide for higher cognitive functions. The symposium seeks to encourage communication and in-depth discussion of a broad range of subjects under the unifying theme of cortical modularity. The topics covered at the conference would span a wide spectrum of resolution, that is, from minicolumns and their parcellation into different components (e.g., apica dendritic bundles) all the way to macrocolumns and networks of the same. The sessions of the symposium span four major areas: 1) Anatomy and Development (encompassing both embryology and anatomical compartmentalization of neocortical modules), 2) Anthropology (addressing how encephalization has proceeded through the addition of supernumerary minicolumns), 3) Computer modeling and electrophysiology (emphasizing the minicolumn's prowess for parallel processing and how empirical models of neural connectivity help explain the emergent properties of modules), and 4) Pathology (a discussion of several conditions where abnormalities of minicolumns have been implicated).
Recent work has advanced our understanding on the modular organization of the cerebral cortex and its role in several human conditions such as autism and dyslexia. The newly gained information has been derived from the standpoint of different scientific perspectives stemming from the disparate fields of anatomy, anthropology, electrophysiology and pathology. We hope that by bringing together representatives from these fields, we will be better able to integrate our knowledge and create synergism for future research endeavors.