Sunday, October 11, 2009 - Dr. Katherine Pollard: What Makes Us Human?

Interesting lecture posted over at Lots of geeky science stuff.
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Katherine Pollard received her Ph.D. and M.A. from UC Berkeley Division of Biostatistics under the supervision of Mark van der Laan. Her research at Berkeley included developing computationally intensive statistical methods for analysis of microarray data with applications in cancer biology. After graduating, she did a postdoc at UC Berkeley with Sandrine Dudoit. She developed Bioconductor open source software packages for clustering and multiple hypothesis testing.

In 2003, she began a comparative genomics NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in the labs of David Haussler and Todd Lowe in the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. She was part of the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium that published the sequence of the Chimp Genome, and she used this sequence to identify the fastest evolving regions in the human genome.

In 2005, she joined the faculty at the UC Davis Genome Center and Department of Statistics. She moved to UCSF in Fall 2008.


Unknown said...

What I often ask myself is: As mind is evolving, may animal's mind evolve, too, and for this reason they show more and more mental skills over time? If so, it is no wonder that scientists revise their insights about animal skills and mind everyday. Is there any research about this going on?

Another off-topic question to you: I just finished the Spiral Dynamics book by Beck and Cowan. They mention that neurotransmitters are linked to vMeme stages and that there is some reseatch going on. Browsing the net and some database I found no information on this. Do you know of any studies or researchers that address to this subject?

Kind regards

william harryman said...

At this point, it's less an issue of animal minds evolving than it is that science is finally starting to realize some animals are nearly as conscious as we are (corvids, dolphins, and elephants come to mind, as well as parrots). Just accepting that they have "mind" and may even have self-awareness is a huge step forward for science. There is a lot of research going on in this area.

As far as SD, I'm not aware of where the studies are being done, but I have heard that they are in the works. For example, dopamine is tied into the addiction pathways, and may be connected with with lower meme manifestations (like Red, and possibly Orange). Serotonin might be tied into to Blue and Green. But this is just speculation on my part - don't quote me or assume I am right. I haven't seen anything definitive.


Unknown said...

Thanks for your answer. I wrote Mr. Beck on the topic of neurotransmitters. Maybe he is checking his emails and finds the time to answer me. I will post a comment in this post as soon as he does.

Kind regards