Learning and memory are complex phenomena and their biological mechanisms have been intensely investigated. The current talk presents an example for the identification of the involvement of a class of molecules, the EphA Receptor Tyrosine Kinase family, in learning and memory. It will allow the audience to discuss conceptual and methodological issues with regard to discovering the roles of molecules in higher brain function in vertebrates.
Dr. Gerlai received his Ph.D. from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1989. He has held numerous academic positions (e.g., Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavior Genetics at Eötvös University of Budapest, Visiting Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Associate Scientist at Mt. Sinai Hospital Research Institute of Toronto, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychology at Indiana University and Purdue University, Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu) and industry positions (Associate Scientist at the Neuroscience Department of Genentech Inc, San Francisco, Senior Research Scientist at the Neuroscience Department of Eli Lilly and Co, Indianapolis, Vice President of Research at Saegis Pharmaceuticals, San Francisco) before becoming a Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he currently is. He assisted launching a new journal, "Genes, Brain and Behavior," was its review editor, and has also edited numerous journal special issues and books. Dr. Gerlai has held several posts with international scientific societies. For example, he is a founding member of IBANGS (the International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society), has been the Treasurer and is now Executive Committee member of the Society. He was chair of the Education and Training Committee of the International Behavioural Neuroscience Society (IBNS) and he is a fellow, USA Councillor, and Executive Committee member of this Society. He is elected to be the President of IBNS for the years 2007 and 2008. Dr. Gerlai published over one hundred peer reviewed papers and book chapters. His main scientific interests have been the genetic and biological mechanisms of learning and memory and social behaviors in mice and fish and he uses animal behavioral, quantitative genetic, and molecular approaches in his research.