Cellular and Systems Mechanisms of L&M
Siena, Italy
May 28-June 3, 2017


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May 28, 2017
Introduction to the Course (4-7:30 PM)

Alcino J. Silva and Susumu Tonegawa

1- Introduction (Alcino J Silva); Introduction to the course and to Learning and Memory

2- Research Maps (Alcino J Silva)
Although causal information are the very fabric of biology, there are currently no tools to help biologists keep track of the increasingly complex network of causal connections they use when making research decisions. This is especially problematic in learning and memory research where studies routinely involve multiple fields (molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, cognitive and clinical neuroscience), and many different approaches.

When the implications of what has already been read remain buried in the ever-growing size and complexity of these implicit and explicit causal networks, how can biologists reasonably optimize future research plans? I will describe the development of semi-automated graphical and interactive tools that help biologists track, map, and weight causal evidence in research papers (i.e., ResearchMaps) with the goal of improving experiment planning.

Importantly, the framework and principles used to build ResearchMaps, including convergence and consistency, reflect common practices in biology, including neuroscience. Besides describing a strategy to generate ResearchMaps, I will introduce a free, open-source web application that allows users to easily generate these maps (
www.researchmaps.org). ResearchMaps’s visualization features enable biologists to consider the existing scientific evidence with a breadth and precision that is unlikely when relying on human memory alone.

Further reading:
Silva, AJ, Landreth, A, Bickle, J. Engineering the next revolution in neuroscience: the new science of experiment planning. Book fromOxford Press 2013

Landreth, A. and Silva, A.J. The Need for Research Maps to Navigate Published Work and Inform Experiment Planning. Neuron 2013 79 411-415 (PDF)

If you would like to check out the beta test of our researchmaps web app, please register at the web site. You will then receive an email with information on how to login