Keynote Speaker: Robert Knight
Chair: Peter Hagoort

Friday, November 8,  6:15 – 7:15 pm, Crystal Ballroom

Dr. Knight received a Physics degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, an MD from Northwestern University Medical School, did Neurology training at UC San Diego and Post-Doctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and was a faculty member at UC Davis.. Dr. Knight moved to UC Berkeley in 1998 and served as Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute from 2001 until 2011. Recently he founded the Center for Neural Engineering and Prosthesis and the Center for Child Development at UC Berkeley. Dr. Knight has twice been the recipient of the Jacob Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for distinguished contributions to neurological research.. He has also received the IBM Cognitive Computing Award, the German Humboldt Prize in Neurobiology, the Neurobionics Prize for contributions to Brain Machine Interface research and the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. His laboratory studies neurological patients with focal cortical damage and also records electrocorticographic signals from intracranial recordings to understand the role of prefrontal cortex in organized behavior.

Language Viewed from Direct Cortical Recordings

Since the t1920’s, neurophysiological dogma suggested that the human cortex did not generate neural oscillations above 50-60 Hz. However, research in the last decade reports neural activity up to 250 Hz in the human necortex in multiple tasks.  Indeed, every cognitive process examined including language, attention, perception, memory and motor control generates high frequency oscillatory activity in the range of 70-250 Hz (high gamma, HG). For instance, the HG response in the human electrocorticogram (ECoG) precisely tracks auditory processing in the neocortex and can be used to assess sound, phoneme and word representation as well as the flow of information during linguistic processing. We have used ECoG recordings to address the neural mechanisms of speech suppression, categorical representation and the timing of speech perception and production in peri-sylvian language regions. Importantly, the high gamma response  provides a potential tool for development of neural prosthesis for disabling language deficits and work on speech reconstruction and imagined speech will also be reviewed.