The main tasks of the international advisory board is to support and evaluate CCL’s activities and progress from international perspectives. This work also includes assessments and recommendations concerning the administrative support and faculty level activities for fostering and supporting CCL. The evaluations will be used as a basis for decisions on CCL strategy, management, and organisation.

Advisory board members

Jean-Pierre Changeux

Jean-Pierre Changeux is professor at the Collège de France, and at the Institut Pasteur, where he has directed, since 1967, a laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology. His main contributions and discoveries in the course of the past 37 years are centered on the general theme of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of signal recognition and transduction, also referred to as receptor mechanisms, primarily in the nervous system.

In his early work, as a student of Jacques Monod, Changeux made essential discoveries with the bacterial enzyme L-threonine deaminase on the experimental basis and theoretical foundation of allosteric interactions between topographically distinct sites as a general mechanism of signal transduction mediated by specific conformational changes. Subsequently, Changeux extended these views to the receptors for neurotransmitters involved in synaptic transmission. Together with his group, he made the decisive steps in the identification of the acetylcholine nicotinic receptor, the first neurotransmitter receptor linked to a ion channel, and unravelled the main features of its functional organization (in particular its active site and ion channel) as well as the mechanisms of its activation and short-term regulation, in particular by desensitization, thus substantiating its properties as “allosteric membrane protein”.

Furthermore, Changeux and his collaborators have proposed a model of epigenesis of neural networks by selective stabilization of synapses, and analyzed in these terms the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of acetylcholine receptor genes expression during the development of the motor endplate. These issues are of relevance for the understanding of long term synaptic plasticity.
In the field of cognition, Changeux original extension of the selectionist scheme to the epigenesis of neuronal networks and to higher brain functions has inspired a number of theoreticians and experimentalists. In this respect, his book L’homme neuronal, 1983, Librarie Arthème Fayard, was widely acclaimed by scientist from very different disciplines.
His seminal work on the nicotinic receptor has pioneered new fields of research in signal transduction mechanisms, molecular pharmacology and pathology of chemical communications in the nervous system.
The title of his contribution to the Cajal Conference is From Molecular Biology to Cognitive Function: The Nicotinic Receptor.

Eve Vivienne Clark

Richard W. Lyman Professor of Humanities, Professor of linguistics, Stanford University, California

Research interests

I am interested in first language acquisition, the acquisition of meaning, acquisitional principles in word-formation compared across children and languages, and general semantic and pragmatic issues in the lexicon and in language use. I am currently working on the kinds of pragmatic information adults offer small children as they talk to them, and on children’s ability to make use of this information as they make inferences about unfamiliar meanings and about the relations between familiar and unfamiliar words. I am interested in the inferences children make about where to ‘place’ unfamiliar words, how they identify the relevant semantic domains, and what they can learn about conventional ways to say things based on adult responses to child errors during acquisition. All of these ‘activities’ involve children and adults placing information in common ground as they interact. Another current interest of mine is the construction of verb paradigms: how do children go from using a single verb form to using forms that contrast in meaning — on such dimensions as person, number, and tense? How do they learn to distinguish the meanings of homophones? To what extent do they make use of adult input to discern the underlying structure of the system?

Jean Decety

Dr. Jean Decety is Irving B. Harris Professor at the University of Chicago and its College, with a primary appointment in the Department of Psychology and a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry. He previously was a research director at the INSERM (National Medical Research Institute) in Lyon, France until 2001, and a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the head of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (2001-2005).

Professor Decety received a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University Claude Bernard (Lyon, France) in 1989, and then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Sweden, at Lund University Hospital and at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm in the Departments of Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuroradiology.

Jean Decety is a member of the Committee on Neurobiology, an Executive Member of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, and a member of The Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Neuroengineering. He is the Editor of the new journal Social Neuroscience and serves on the editorial board of Neuropsychologia, Frontiers in Emotion Science, as well as the Scientific World Journal in the domain of higher level brain function.

Dr. Decety is the co-director of the Brain Research Imaging Center (BRIC) at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Research Interests and Skills

  • Affective neuroscience
  • Antisocial personality disorde
  • Conduct disorder
  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Emotion
  • Empathy
  • Interpersonal processes
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Moral reasoning
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Psychopathy
  • Social neuroscience

Teija Kujala

Professor at the Cognitive Brain Research Unit (CBRU)

University of Helsinki

Research interests:

Brain plasticity, speech perception and its impairments,       dyslexia, autism spectrum, effects of background noise.
Area of expertise: Cognitive neuroscience

At the Cognitive Brain Research Unit (CBRU), located at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences, we address human auditory and crossmodal cognition, as well as their impairments and plasticity. The main research areas are human language and music processes, the development of auditory skills, and the effects of aging on auditory perception.

We utilize modern brain research methods in our interdisciplinary work, which is carried out with an international and national collaboration network. Since 1995 CBRU has been selected several times as the Center of Excellence (the Academy of Finland: 1995-1999 and 2002-2007; University of Helsinki: 1997-2001). Currently, the Brain and Music team of CBRU belongs to the Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä.

Susan Goldin-Meadow

Susan Goldin-Meadow is the Bearsdley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychology and Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago. A year spent at the Piagetian Institute in Geneva while an undergraduate at Smith College piqued her interest in the relationship between language and thought, interests she continued to pursue in her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. 1975).

At Penn and in collaboration with Lila Gleitman and Heidi Feldman, she began her studies exploring whether children who lack a (usable) model for language can nevertheless create a language with their hands. She has found that deaf children whose profound hearing losses prevent them from learning the speech than surrounds them, and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign, invent gesture systems which are structured in language-like ways. This interest in how the manual modality can serve the needs of communication and thinking led to her current work on the gestures that accompany speech in hearing individuals. She has found that gesture can convey substantive information – information that is often not expressed in the speech it accompanies. Gesture can thus reveal secrets of the mind to those who pay attention.

Professor Goldin-Meadow’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the March of Dimes, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke. She has served as a member of the language review panel for NIH, has been a Member-at-Large to the Section on Linguistics and Language Science in AAAS, and was part of the Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development sponsored by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine and leading to the book Neurons to Neighborhoods. She is a Fellow of AAAS, APS, and APA (Divisions 3 and 7). In 2001, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a James McKeen Cattell Fellowship which led to her two recently published books, Resilience of Language and Hearing Gesture. In addition, she edited Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought in collaboration with Dedre Gentner. She has received the Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award for Graduate Teaching and the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago. She is currently the President of the Cognitive Development Society and the editor of the new journal sponsored by the Society for Language Development, Language Learning and Development. Professor Goldin-Meadow also serves as chair of the developmental area program.

Research Interests

Language development and creation

Gesture’s role in communicating, thinking, and learning

Fredrik Ullén

Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute for Women’s and Children’s health.

The primary goal of Fredrik Ullén’s research is to reveal the neural mechanisms of expertise, musical expertise in particular. Important components include the learning of movement sequences and other motor skills, the brain’s management of rhythm and timing, the link between timing and intelligence, as well as creativity in expertise.

The research methods involve a combination of neuroimaging techniques (MRI, PET), behavioural experiments and psychological tests. In addition, the interaction between genetic factors and training in different types of expertise is being studied in ongoing twin studies.


How can you train to be an expert in something

Intelligence and rhythmic accuracy go hand in hand

Paul F.M.J. Verschure

Dr. Paul F.M.J. Verschure (1962)

Catalan Institute of Advanced Research (ICREA) research professor, Technology Department, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

Paul received both his Ma. and PhD in psychology. His scientific aim is to find a unified theory of mind, brain and body through the use of synthetic methods and to apply such a theory to the development of novel cognitive technologies.
Paul works on biologically constrained models of perception, learning, behavior and problem solving that are applied to wheeled and flying robots, interactive spaces and avatars. The results of these projects have been published in leading scientific journals including Nature, Science, PLoS and PNAS. In addition to his basic research, he applies concepts and methods from the study of natural perception, cognition and behavior to the development of interactive creative installations and intelligent immersive spaces. Since 1998, he has, together with his collaborators, generated a series 20 public exhibits of which the most ambitious was the exhibit “Ada: Intelligent space” for the Swiss national exhibition Expo.02, that was visited by 560000 people. The most recent one was the Multimodal Brain Orchestra that premiered in the closing ceremony of the EC Future and Emerging Technologies conference in Prague in April 2009.

Paul’s ideas he is most pleased with:

– Distributed Adaptive Control: An architecture of perception, cognition and behavior

– Predictive Hebbian Learning

– Temporal Population Code – TPC

– Self-stabilizing negative feedback learning system of the cerebellum

– Rehabilitation Gaming Station – RGS

– RoBoser
Paul leads SPECS, a multidisciplinary group of 25 pre-doctoral, doctoral and post-doctoral researchers that include physicists, psychologists, biologists, engineers and computer scientists.

Paul’s spare time is spent with his family and training for another Ironman triathlon.

An interview about brain, cognition and presence (Peach 3/2008)
Building a Cyborg lecture (Barcelona Cognition, Brain, technology Summer School 16/9/2008)
Distributive Adaptive Control: A Real-world Cognitive Architecture applied to Robots, Spaces and Avatares (European Conference on Complex Systems, Dresden 2007)