The Cortex Club connects researchers at the University of Oxford with world-leading neuroscientists through a unique educational forum dealing with cutting-edge topics and significant challenges in neuroscience. Our events range from small intense debates with up-and-coming scientists to large discussion sessions led by internationally prominent speakers, followed by the opportunity to ask them questions over drinks.


Art of Anatomy Exhibition

14 July25 July (Kendrew Barn, St John’s College, 21 St Giles)

We are delighted to support the ‘The Art of Anatomy’ exhibition. From 14th to 25th July in St John’s College, this exhibition will explore how art transforms anatomy and the continuous relationship between art and science.

Opening hours:

– Sat 14 July: 2-5pm
– Sun 15 July: 2-5pm
– Wed 18 July: 5.30-7pm
– Thu 19 July: 5.30-7pm
– Sat 21 July: 2-5pm
– Tue 24 July: 6-7pm (during Anatomical Society Meeting)
– Wed 25 July: 2-7pm (during Anatomical Society Meeting)

Seminar + Q&A: Professor Tobias Langenhan

Understanding the molecular logic of Adhesion GPCRs in mechanosensation
Tuesday 19 June @ 12pm1pm (Sherrington Room, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)

On Tuesday June 19th we are excited to be hosting a seminar in partnership with DPAG by Professor Tobias Langenhan from the Rudolf Schönheimer Institute of Biochemistry at Leipzig University. The talk will take place in the Sherrington Room, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. The talk will be followed by a free Q&A lunch with the speaker at 1pm in the Sherrington Library. If you would like to join for the Q&A, please sign up by e-mailing us at -at- You can also contact Professor Maike Glitsch (maike.glitsch -at- if you would like to arrange an individual meeting with the speaker.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) have proven a treasure trove for the modern pharmacological intervention of numerous human ailments. However, in stark contrast to classically targeted GPCRs, adhesion GPCRs have been largely neglected by biologists, pharmacologists and clinician scientists for decades. Only recently their physiological and signalling properties are being unravelled and show exciting features including their roles in tissue architecture, signalling through tethered agonism and their unusual activation through mechanical cues. This seminar will discuss the recent developments on adhesion GPCR signalling and introduce the receptor family as a topical area in neuroscience and cancer research.

Seminar: Professor Christopher Petkov

On the co-evolution of cognition and language: Perspectives from human and nonhuman primate neural systems
Thursday 7 June @ 4.30pm5.30pm (Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)

On Thursday we are hosting a seminar by Professor Christopher Petkov from Newcastle University on Thursday June 7th at 4.30pm in the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. We will go to the Royal Oak (42-44 Woodstock Rd) for food and drinks after the talk, feel free to join!

The extent to which the human brain has specialised for speech and language or relies on evolutionarily conserved systems is a prominent question in the cognitive and brain sciences. In this talk, I first overview behavioural results using artificial grammar learning paradigms with sequences of speech sounds in three species of primates: marmosets, macaques and humans. Then functional MRI results in macaques and humans are summarised, identifying evolutionarily conserved frontal regions involved in predictive sequence learning. I also consider results from comparative neural recordings in humans and macaques. The neurophysiological findings identify intriguing neuronal predictive signals in response to speech sounds and the learned sequencing relationships. Moreover, the observed oscillatory dynamics in auditory temporal cortex are found to be strikingly similar across the species. The talk concludes by considering evidence for human and nonhuman primate differences indicative of cognitive enhancement during human evolution. Overall, the findings demonstrate that human and nonhuman primates share an evolutionarily conserved fronto-temporal system involved in structuring the sensory world and predicting future events. Alongside the commonalities, there are indications of cross-species divergences that provide hints on how the human brain differentiated for cognition and language.

Seminar: Professor Reto Huber

Sleep and brain development
Thursday 31 May @ 4.30pm5.30pm (Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)

This week we are happy to be hosting a seminar by Professor Reto Huber from the University of Zürich on Thursday May 31st at 4.30pm in the Sherrington Library, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. We will go to the Rose & Crown (14 North Parade Avenue) for food and drinks after the talk, feel free to join!

Children spend half of their lives asleep. The need for sleep might be so high because sleep serves important functions for maturing brain. Alternatively, sleep might be the “default state” of neuronal networks and its amount is reduced as the waking state matures. The analysis of electrophysiological characteristics of sleep may provide some insights into these hypotheses. For example, when children, adolescents and adults perform the very same visuo-motor learning task, the local boost in EEG slow wave activity (SWA), the primary marker of sleep need, during subsequent sleep is larger in children compared to adolescent and adults. This finding indicates that SWA maps experience-dependent plasticity during critical periods of maturation. Disturbances of the normal appearance or distribution of SWA may be related to developmental deviations. For example, children with continuous spike wave epilepsy during slow wave sleep may show neurocognitive deteriorations and adolescents with an attention deficit hyperactivity or an affective disorder show decreased or increased SWA over frontal brain regions, respectively. To establish causality in these observations specific manipulations of SWA are needed. We recently used closed-loop acoustic stimulation during sleep to do so.

Seminar + Q&A: Professor Ole Paulsen

Synaptic learning rules in the cortex: From spike timing-dependent to network state-dependent synaptic plasticity
Friday 25 May @ 1pm2pm (Large Lecture Theatre, Sherrington Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)

Cortex Club and DPAG are excited to host this seminar by Professor Ole Paulsen from the University of Cambridge on Friday May 25th at 4.30pm in the Large Lecture Theatre, Le Gros Clark Building, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. After the talk there will be a Q&A session with the speaker from 2-3pm in the Sherrington Library with a free sandwich lunch! If you would like to attend this Q&A session, please RSVP to -at-