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Seth Grant

Professor Seth Grant, Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, Centre for Neuroregeneration and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh Seth Grant was born in Australia and studied Medicine and Science at the University of Sydney. He began his scientific research career studying physiology at Sydney University and after medical school begun PostDoctoral work on molecular biology and transgenic mice at with Douglas Hanahan at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the USA under director James D. Watson. He worked at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Columbia University with Eric Kandel (Nobel Laureate 2000) where he initiated the first using knockout mice to discover genes controlling synaptic plasticity and learning. In 1994, Seth moved to the University of Edinburgh, where he was Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience. In 2003, Seth joined the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute as a Principal Investigator, Honorary Professor at Cambridge University and directed the Genes to Cognition (G2C) research consortium. In 2011 Seth returned to the University of Edinburgh where he is currently based. He is a prominent leader in the field of neuroscience and has been invited to more than 100 national and international lectures in last 5 years. SG is the Director and founder of the G2C programme (, which an international research and education consortium aimed at discovering and understanding diseases of the brain. The G2C program research website has a partner educational website promoting the public understanding of research linking genes to behaviour and brain disease.

Madness, Genius and Origin of the Brain

We humans have extraordinary mental capacities enabling us to learn complex information and solve the problems that we encounter in our changing world. How do our brains perform these tasks and what are the fundamental mechanisms at the molecular level? Perhaps even more important is to ask, how did these mechanisms originate and evolve? Are these mechanisms for higher cognitive functions unique to humans and what can we learn from studying other animals? The lecture will address these questions and will show how these answers lead to a simple explanation for the genetic susceptibility to brain disease.

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