The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute (HWNI) and William Jagust, professor of public health and neuroscience and Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine, were honored to host neuroscientist Michael Breakspear as the inaugural Gloria Sedran Visiting Speaker on July 28, 2023. Breakspear, a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at the University of Newcastle in Australia, visited the Jagust lab — which studies brain aging and dementia — and presented a public talk titled, “Towards a unified model of brain dynamics: Reconciling geometry, connectivity and cytoarchitecture” as part of the Gloria Sedran Speakers Program.
Breakspear leads the Systems Neuroscience Group — a team of psychiatrists, physicists, psychologists, and neuroimaging scientists at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Australia. He uses computational modeling to study the generative processes of healthy aging and those underlying bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and dementia. He studied Medicine at the University of Sydney, combined with degrees in Arts (philosophy and mathematics) and Science (neuroscience and physics). He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and runs a weekly psychiatry clinic at the Awabakal Aboriginal Medical Service.
Breakspear’s visit was the first of a series being supported by the Gloria Sedran Speakers Program. A generous $250,000 gift from Edwin and Howard J. Sedran created that program along with Gloria Sedran Prizes, to support students and postdoctoral researchers in the Jagust lab, in support of creating and advancing knowledge and innovation to properly understand and eventually break through the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Gloria Sedran Prizes support students and postdocs from the Jagust lab with travel funds to present their research at major scientific gatherings including the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, and the Human Amyloid Imaging Conference. The Gloria Sedran funds will continue to support Jagust lab students, fellows, and speakers through 2035. The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute is deeply appreciative of the Sedran family for their ongoing support.