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Lehigh hosts first ever Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Symposium

Lehigh engineering's Yevgeny Berdichevsky was one of several presenters at the university's first ever Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Symposium.

The electrical and computer engineering assistant professor presented "Epilespsy-on-a-chip" during the event, held in April 2017 at Iacocca Hall on Lehigh's Mountaintop Campus. He presented to over 80 attendees from Lehigh and the Atlantic coast region, including Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland.

According to Berdichevsky, each year, over 125,000 Americans develop the brain disease, which can cause recurring seizures of an unpredictable nature, resulting in dangerous, and sometimes, fatal consequences. With no known cure, individuals can control those seizures through medication.

However, explains Berdichevsky, an estimated 30% of cases cannot be controlled by medication, or ultimately become drug-resistant.

“I have always been interested in neural circuits, and my specialty is digital electronic circuits,” he says. “It’s fascinating that neural circuits perform very much like electronic circuits. There is much more we can learn about the human body and cures for diseases if we can better understand the body’s complex ‘electrical system.’”

The symposium was made possible thanks to funding provided by the Office of the Provost.

“Neuroscience at Lehigh kind of wildly crosses departmental boundaries,” said Alan Snyder, vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies. “We have people contributing to a neuroscience agenda across the university, so it’s particularly wonderful that four people in the biological sciences department would take it upon themselves to put something like this together. We’re grateful for that.”

“The neuroscience symposium was a great venue to show Lehigh’s expanding strengths in interdisciplinary neuroscience with speakers from several Lehigh faculty representing bioengineering, biological sciences, and the department of psychology, along with our prestigious invited speakers,” said R. Michael Burger, associate professor of neurosciences in the department of biological sciences. “Many of our behavioral neurosciences undergraduates attended the symposium, and I think this helped broaden their views as to the vast diversity of research approaches that are being applied to understanding the brain and neural function.”

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

-Kelly Hochbein is the Assistant Editor with Lehigh University's Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

April 26, 2017

Photos courtesy of Maria Brace

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