Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, GMU

Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, GMU Whether discovering therapies for neurodegenerative illnesses or creating models explaining social behavior, we are committed to making a difference.
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Operating as usual

04/21/2016

There will be a seminar next Monday, April 25th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229. : A. Rory McQuiston (Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, VCU) will be presenting a seminar titled, "Forebrain networks involved in theta rhythm generation." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:

Theta rhythm in the hippocampus is thought to play a crucial role in the formation of long term memories and has been correlated with attentive behaviors, REM sleep, arousal, and sensorimotor integration. There is more than one mechanism responsible for generating theta rhythm; however, theta rhythm generation is dependent on an intact functional medial septum/diagonal band of Broca (MS/DBB) complex. In this seminar I will discuss studies from our lab examining cholinergic and GABAergic inputs from the MS/DBB to hippocampal CA1 using optogenetics and whole cell patch clamping in brain slice preparations. The roles of cholinergic and GABAergic inputs in controlling hippocampal function will be discussed.

04/21/2016

The CSS seminar speaker for Friday, April 22nd,will be Talha Oz, CSS PhD student, George Mason University. Talha’s talk entitled “Computational Methods to Greater Understand Xenophobia" (abstract below) is scheduled to begin at 3:00 in the Center for Social Complexity Suite located on the 3rd floor of Research Hall. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session along with light refreshments. .

Abstract: In order to achieve a healthy multiculturalism and to enable smooth integration of newcomers, we need to understand how xenophobia (fear, intolerance and stereotyping towards minorities and immigrants) develops, and why it is increasing in the West. While reviewing the literature on xenophobia, I have come across several studies focusing on issues around this phenomenon, which adapt different computational social science approaches. In this talk, I would like to first briefly review them* and then propose and discuss new computational methods to greater understand xenophobia.

*: Hammond and Axelrod (2006) explain "the evolution of ethnocentrism" with a very simple agent-based model, in which they find out that in-group favoritism can emerge "with only minimal cognitive requirements and in the absence of [...] complex mechanisms". "On the coevolution of stereotype, culture, and social relationships: an agent-based model" Joseph et al. (2014) from CASOS develop a more complicated model to "explore how ethnocentric stereotypes affect intergroup relationships in a society". Finally, in his 2015 book, "Terrified: How anti-Muslim fringe organizations became mainstream" Chris Bail proposes an evolutionary theory of collective behavior and cultural change, and support his thesis with computational methods such as text mining and social network analysis to show how the U.S. society settled into a new status quo after 9/11 attacks.

04/13/2016

The CSS Seminar will not be held on Friday, April 15. Please join them on Friday, April 22 when the CSS seminar speaker will be Talha Oz, CSS PhD student, George Mason University. Talha’s talk title and abstract will be out soon.

Please visit www.css.gmu.edu to see list of upcoming seminar speakers.

04/06/2016

There will be a seminar next Monday, February 8th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229. Casey Diekman (NJIT) will be presenting a seminar titled, "Multi-Level Regulation in Mammalian Circadian Clock." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:

Abstract:
Circadian (~24-hour) rhythms offer one of the clearest examples of the interplay between different levels of nervous system organization, with dynamic changes in gene expression leading to daily rhythms in neural activity, physiology, and behavior. The main output signal of the master circadian clock in mammals has long been believed to be a simple day/night difference in the firing rate of neurons within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Our recent findings challenge this theory, and demonstrate that a substantial portion of SCN neurons exhibit a more complex and counterintuitive set of electrical state transitions throughout the day/night cycle. In this seminar, I will attempt to provide a mathematical understanding of these daily transitions in SCN electrical state and the functional roles they play in the mammalian circadian clock.

03/14/2016

There will be a seminar today, Monday, February 8th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229, Cheng Ly (VCU) will be presenting a seminar titled, "How Firing Rate Heterogeneity is Mediated by Intrinsic and Network Heterogeneity." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:
Heterogeneity of neural attributes has recently gained a lot of attention and is increasing recognized as a crucial feature in neural processing. Recent experimental recordings in electric fish indicate that the heterogeneous network input can mediate response heterogeneity of superficial pyramidal cells in a cortical area (Marsat Lab, WVU). These data motivated us to theoretically study how heterogeneity of neural attributes in general alter firing rate heterogeneity. We ask how 2 sources of heterogeneity: network (synaptic heterogeneity) and intrinsic heterogeneity alter response heterogeneity.
First we address this in a canonical recurrent spiking network model with random connectivity (Erdos-Renyi graph). The relationship between intrinsic and network heterogeneity can lead to amplification or attenuation of firing rate heterogeneity, and these effects depend on whether the recurrent network is firing asynchronously or rhythmically. We analyze the system and derive compact analytic formulas to precisely describe the phenomena.
Second, we adapt our theory to a delayed feedforward neural network to better model the electric fish system. The theory is used to demonstrate that a feedforward network with structured connectivity rules exhibit qualitatively similar statistics as the experimental data. Specifically, the stimulus tuning of particular cells is related to the network architecture, i.e., the number of synaptic connections. Thus, the model demonstrates that intrinsic and network attributes do not interact in a linear manner but rather in a complex stimulus-dependent fashion to increase or decrease response heterogeneity and thus shape population codes. This is joint work with Gary Marsat (West Virginia University).

02/01/2016

The CSS seminar speaker for Friday, February 5, will be Matthew Oldham, Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - CSS Concentration, George Mason University. Matt’s talk entitled "Asset bubbles and complex adaptive systems - Can CAS solve the problem as to how and why bubbles exist?" (abstract below) is scheduled to begin at 3:00 in the Center for Social Complexity Suite located on the 3rd floor of Research Hall. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session along with light refreshments.

Please visit www.css.gmu.edu to see list of upcoming seminar speakers.

We hope to see you on Friday, February 5.

Karen

Abstract: A common feature of financial markets since their advent has been the regular appearance of bubbles[1] and their subsequent collapse. The repercussions of these boom and bust cycles are severe, with over-investment and excessive trading occurring in the boom time, while the busts have on occasions lead to devastating financial crises and depressed real economies. One of the most recent occurrence of such an event saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average close at a record level on October 9, 2007 yet one year later the Dow dropped 21% in the first nine days of October 2008 and the world plunged into the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which according to the IMF cost the global economy $USD11.9 trillion[2].

The mainstream doctrine has been to follow the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) (Fama, 1970) - which states that market prices fully reflect all available information and as a consequence asset prices are unpredictable as they follow a random walk. This view has been further supported by (Malkiel, 1999) who demonstrated that prices on Wall St appear to move in a random fashion. However, the reality of continued episodes of boom and bust, and mounting statistical evidence (Bollerslev, Engle, & Nelson, 1994) provides strong evidence that in fact markets do not function in accordance with the EMH.

An alternate approach to the EMH is to consider financial markets as a complex system. Considering financial markets as a complex system is to accept that the outcomes in financial markets are the result of an emergent process based on the self-organized behavior of independently acting, self-motivated individuals (Farmer et al., 2012). The main attraction of utilizing a complex system framework is that it is able to generate extreme events and asset returns in line with what has been experienced in the real world as opposed to the theoretical solution put forward under the EMH framework..

The aim of this talk is to provide:

further background of the gap between the EMH and reality - including the presence of power law returns with regard to share market returns;
describe the findings of a basic systems dynamic model;
demonstrate a model that replicates the finding of Vernon Smith's experimental bubble (Smith et al (1988)), and
a historical replication of the South Sea Bubble

02/01/2016

*The seminar for Monday, February 1st has been canceled due to the winter storm*
The next seminar will be on Monday, February 8th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229, David Lattanzi (GMU) will be presenting a seminar titled, "Connecting imaging and computational mechanics through computer vision." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:

Advancements in 2D and 3D imaging have led to their widespread consideration as tools for the non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of engineered components. Modern imaging can capture sub-millimeter flaws and defects in materials, but the resulting scans do not provide inherent information on how captured flaws are impacting mechanical performance, limiting their value. By leveraging a combination of computer vision and machine learning techniques, this challenge can be overcome, enabling the expanded use of 3D images in a broad range of engineering disciplines. This seminar will focus on two current avenues of work in this domain. The first is the use of machine learning to establish a statistical relationship between images and mechanical performance,with applications in post-disaster assessment. The second avenue explores how computer vision techniques can be used to model 3D image information in a time-variant context in order to allow for the dynamic analysis of image information.

12/02/2015

The next seminar will be on Monday, December 7th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229, Patrick Gillevet (Director, Microbiome Analysis Center, GMU) will be presenting a seminar titled, "The Selfish Microbiome and the Ecology of Cognition." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:

Abstract:
The focus of MBAC research is the study of dysbiosis of the microbial communities (microbiomes) that reside in the human gut, mouth, urogenital, and respiratory tracts, to model the homeostatic interactions between microbiome function and the host’s physiology. We define these metabolic and immune interactions as the “metabiome”. It has now become apparent that the human microbiome is implicated in social behavior, reproduction, growth, cognition, as well as many diseases. Current concepts and research will be presented that focus on how the gut-brain-liver axis influences human behavior and cognition. Thus, the human microbiome is an integral component of the human ecosystem and is a major driver of the system. In fact, one could even say that the human host is there merely to propagate the “selfish microbiome.”

11/19/2015

**Announcment! There will be no Seminar on the 23rd of Thanksgiving, next Monday!**
The next seminar will be on Monday, November 30th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229, Geraldine Grant (Department of Biology, George Mason University) will be presenting a seminar titled, "Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and Apoptotic Resistance." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:
Abstract:
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal interstitial lung disease with no cure and kills over 40,000 people a year, more than breast cancer. IPF while the etiology of IPF is unknown, the pathogenesis is clearly defined as dysregulated wound repair driven by an overabundant potentially anti-apoptotic fibroblast population. In a relentless effort to repair perceived or phantom wounds, these cells deposit excessive amount of collagen scar tissue which destroys the architecture and function of the lung and ultimately results in organ failure.

We have been investigating the potential of the derivative of turmeric, curcumin, as an anti-fibrotic agent in IPF. In vitro curcumin reduces fibroblast load by apoptosis, however IPF fibroblasts cells are significantly more resistant to treatment that Normal fibroblast. We are investigating the potential mechanisms of survival in these IPF cells. An overview of current research will be presented.

11/10/2015

The CSS seminar speaker for Friday, November 13 will be Gary Bogle, PhD Candidate, Computational Social Science Program, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University. Gary’s talk entitled “Identities and Expectations Effect on Group Efficacy: An Agent-Based Model" (abstract below) is scheduled to begin at 3:00 in the Center for Social Complexity Suite located on the 3rd floor of Research Hall. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session along with light refreshments.
Please visit www.css.gmu.edu to see list of upcoming seminar speakers.

We hope to see you on Friday, November 13.

Abstract: Expectation States Theory describes the process of the formation of status hierarchies among members engaged in task-oriented behavior. These hierarchies form based on expectations of performance that arise from evaluation of social status characteristics and through behavioral interchange patterns that reinforce performance expectations. My research seeks to examine identity and expectations and their effect on the efficacy of group action. This research is being conducted using a agent-based model of small group behavior, namely, individuals conducting a wine tasting to jointly determine a rating for a set of wines. Agent action within the model will be based on the Belief-Desire-Intention cognitive model. The expected result of this research is that the emergence of hierarchies based on status will be a detriment to agents reaching the best choice of a wine rating. Additionally, it is expected that the introduction of identity will be a further detriment to correctly evaluating wines and will increase the time it takes for status hierarchies to form.

11/04/2015

On Monday, November 9th, in the Krasnow Lecture Room 229, Michelle Marks (Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, George Mason University) will be presenting a seminar titled, "The University Strategic Plan: Goals, Progress, Vision." Refreshments will be served at 3:30 pm in the lobby, followed by the talk at 4:00 pm. See the Abstract below for more detail:

Abstract:
Vice Provost Michelle Marks will discuss the George Mason University 10 Year strategic plan, our progress thus far, how we will measure success and the challenges that we face in reaching our goals. This discussion will be interactive and an opportunity for attendees to voice questions, suggestions and ideas for moving advancing our strategic interests.

10/27/2015

The CSS seminar speaker for Friday, October 30 will be Randy M. Casstevens, Ph.D., CSS Alumni. Randy’s talk entitled “Introduction to the Model Analyst’s Toolkit (MAT)" (abstract below) is scheduled to begin at 3:00 in the Center for Social Complexity Suite located on the 3rd floor of Research Hall. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session along with light refreshments.

Please visit www.css.gmu.edu to see list of upcoming seminar speakers.

We hope to see you on Friday, October 30.

Abstract: The Model Analyst’s Toolkit (MAT) is a software tool for creating, validating, and refining complex scientific models through data visualization and exploration as well as automated and semi-automated comparisons of those models against real-world data. Additional information about MAT is available at www.cra.com/mat.

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4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA
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Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

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(703) 993-4333

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