Organisms and Us seminar on comparative neurobiology, with Jason Robert (ASU)
Earlier this month, the Organisms and Us research group were pleased to welcome visiting scholar Dr Jason Robert, from the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University.
Jason gave a seminar at the University of Adelaide on translational neurobiology research and the challenges with and potential for working towards a genuinely comparative science of neurobiology.
He took participants through current issues for translational neuroscience - from funding models, results pressures, and broken promises in different national contexts, through to insufficient attention to grounding comparison firmly in evolutionary biology, and the use of expedient and well-established rather than representative, typical, or generalisable model organisms. Drawing on case studies like induced Parkinsonism in mice for modelling Parkinson's disease, he discussed in detail some of the limitations of current practices in translational neurobiology. He then outlined some desiderata for a truly comparative neurobiological science aimed at avoiding these pitfalls producing greater insight into human neurobiology and disease processes.
The seminar invited some great reflective discussion with participants of issues around this, and what future directions in comparative neuroscience might look like. As a result of interest generated by this seminar, Organisms and Us will be organising a follow-up workshop in August on models in neurobiology and beyond. Stay tuned for more details!