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Birthday Party

May 7, 2019 @ 15:30 - 19:00


The Cortex Club is turning 10 this May!


To celebrate this happy occasion, we warmly invite you to the Cortex Club Birthday Party on May 7th!

The two founding members, Abhishek Banerjee and Dennis Kätzel, will return to Oxford to tell us about their current research on cognitive control mechanisms in brain disorders. Our first and long-standing senior member, Prof Zoltan Molnár, will also join us to talk about the foundation and development of the Club since 2009.

Please join us for this exciting event from 3.30pm on May 7th at the Sherrington Library, DPAG, Oxford, followed by drinks reception in the OCGF seminar room.



15.30-15.35 Opening Remarks by current Cortex Club Presidents

15.35-15.50 Prof Zoltan Molnár, University of Oxford
Cortex Club – The first ten years

15.50-16.30 Dr Abhishek Banjeree, University of Zurich
Probing neural dynamics of adaptive decision-making in health and brain disorders

16.30-17.10 Dr Dennis Kätzel, Ulm University
What to model and what to measure – searching for ground truth in translational psychiatry

17.10-17.30 Birthday Present

17.30-18.00 Champagne reception

18.00 – late  Cortex Club Birthday Social
   at the OCGF Seminar Room, DPAG, with DJ Tom Jahans-Price with free pizza and drinks!


Cortex Club Senior Member


Dr Zoltan Molnár

Professor of Developmental Biology at the University of Oxford

Cortex Club ; Ten first ten years 




The Cortex Club was established in May 2009 by a group of Oxford neuroscience DPhil students spearheaded by Abhishek Banerjee (Paulsen Laboratory) and Dennis Kätzel (Miesenböck Laboratory). The idea was to organize events that range from small intense debates to large discussion sessions led by internationally prominent speakers. All occasions were followed by the opportunity to ask them questions in non-formal, relaxed sessions over drinks. There are hundreds of university clubs at Oxford. To maintain an official University of Oxford Club status the students had to register these Clubs with the Proctors under the sponsorship of a senior academic. The founding committee’s choice has fallen on me in 2009 and I was delighted to serve as founding senior member over the last ten years. Students and postdocs organize the Cortex Club. However, it is open to the entire academic community from
undergraduates to professors and now attracts large and enthusiastic audiences with a mailing list of over 500 members. Generations of Cortex Club Committees improved the formula over the years and The Oxford University Cortex Club developed into a unique educational forum that has excellent reputation. Students usually select cutting-edge topics and significant, challenging issues in neuroscience, such as rate coding versus temporal coding, protomap or protocortex of cortical specialization, utility of various animal models for neuroscience and even philosophy, art or even history of neuroscience. The cortex club events are neither as specialized as the usual journal clubs or research seminars, nor as basic as university lectures, but instead deal with advanced topics in neuroscience in an informal and speculative manner. Undergraduates, MSc and DPhil students join the events together with postdoctoral fellows and faculty. The format ranges from smaller, rather intense debates to large symposia with capacity audiences lead by internationally prominent speakers. The organization, financial support, use of various media and the composition of the committee evolved, so the Club could face new challenges. As the previous presidents and committee members leave Oxford for postdoctoral or faculty positions, they set up new Cortex Clubs around the World. The Cortex Clubs at University of Toronto, Canada, University of Cape Town and The University of the Witwatersrand at Johannesburg, South Africa are wishing happy birthday to their older brother at Oxford.


Cortex Club Founding Member


Dr Abhishek Banerjee

NARSAD Young Investigator at the Brain Research Institute, University of Zürich

Probing neural dynamics of adaptive decision-making in health and brain disorders




Value-guided decision-making involves multiple cognitive maps across distributed brain areas. It is less clear how changes in neural coding flexibly re-maps with altered stimulus-reward contingency adaptively changing animal behaviour. In this talk, I will highlight local and long-range cortical circuit mechanisms underlying flexible decision-making in the mouse lateral orbital cortex. Based on this, I will also argue for a new conceptual framework based on computational psychiatry to understand pathophysiology in complex neurological brain disorders.


Cortex Club Founding Member


Dr Dennis Kätzel

Assistant Professor at the Institute of Applied Physiology, Medical Faculty, Ulm University, Germany.

What to model and what to measure – searching for ground truth in translational psychiatry




The endeavor of translating circuit and behavioural neuroscience discoveries into novel treatments for psychiatric diseases has been revived by the advent of revolutionary methods like optogenetics, chemogenetics, CRISPR/Cas9 and RNAseq, typically applied in rodents. However, these methods cannot circumvent the fundamental – and decade-old – problem that the determination of the right endophenotype to measure is key to predict efficacy of a drug in humans. In this talk I will discuss some lessons learned from the assessment of behavioural and electrophysiological signatures modeling schizophrenia in mice, especially focusing on attention and working memory.


May 7, 2019
15:30 - 19:00
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Sherrington Library, Level 2
Sherrington Building
Oxford, OX1 3PT
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