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Data Science, Networks, and Biology Seminar

Department of Mathematics

Data Science, Networks, and Biology Seminar

  • Department ofMathematics

    CCNY Data Science, Networks, and Biology Seminar


    Beginning this semester, the Mathematics, Biology, and Computer Science departments are jointly organizing an interdisciplinary seminar on the theme of Data Science, Networks, and Biology. The theme is intended to be interpreted broadly, and a purpose of the seminar is to stimulate synergy about these topics across the campus. We welcome further involvement broadly, at any level of interest or activity. We will meet once every two weeks on Wednesday from 3:30-4:45 in NAC 7/219.

    Please distribute to anyone who might be interested. Contact Han Amarasingham ( or Mike Shub ( with any questions, including speaker suggestions. To be added or removed to the mailing list, send an email to

    Upcoming talks

    • Thursday, February 09, 2017, 03:30PM, NAC 4/156

      Prof. Luca Parra (CCNY Biomedical Engineering), On Brainwaves and Videos and Video Games 

      What are the immediate neural response of the brain to natural stimuli, in particular audiovisual narratives and video games? To answer this question we record EEG while subjects are exposed to the identical audiovisual narratives and measure inter-subject correlation, which captures how similarly and reliably different people respond to the same natural stimulus. We find that inter-subject correlation of EEG is strongly modulated by attention, correlates with long term memory, and provides a quantitative estimate for "audience engagement". In children and adolescents watching videos we find changes with age and gender that are consistent with an increase in diversity of brain responses as they mature. During video game play, which are unique experiences that preclude correlation across subjects, we measure the strength of stimulus-response correlations instead. We found that correlation with both auditory and visual responses drive the correlation observed between subjects for video and that they are are modulated by attention in video game play. Importantly, the strongest response to visual and auditory features had nearly identical neural origin suggesting that the dominant response of the brain to natural stimuli is supramodal.

    Most recent talks

    • Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 03:30PM, NAC 7/219

      Jonathan Levitt (CCNY Biology), The spatial organization of interareal connections in mammalian visual cortex 

      ​The mammalian cerebral cortex contains a number of distinct areas that mediate visual perception. There are several dozen distinct visual areas in primates, over half of the entire cortical mantle. Neurons in each of these regions are arranged topographically; neighboring neurons respond to visual stimuli that fall on adjacent regions of the retina (i.e. different regions of visual space). However, the precise map of visual space differs in each of these areas. These visual cortical areas in the adult mammalian brain are linked by a network of interareal feedforward and feedback circuits that are broadly topographic – source and target neurons sit in largely corresponding regions of the visual field map. A major interest of my laboratory is to characterize the organization of these anatomical circuits linking different areas. I will describe studies on the topographic precision and general organization of these circuits in the adult brain, and how they refine from an immature state postnatally.

    • Wednesday, November 09, 2016, 03:30PM, NAC 7/219

      Yingli Tuan (CCNY Electrical Engineering), Computer vision technologies to assist blind persons 

      In this talk, I will introduce our research of applying computer vision technologies to assist visually impaired or blind persons. In particular, this talk will focus on scene text detection extraction and indoor navigation. Text information widely exists in natural scene and serves as a significant indicator for many vision-based applications. Automatic extracting text information from natural scene images is still a challenging task due to complex background outliers and variations of text patterns. We have developed a prototype navigation system in Android platform by combining computer vision and robotics SLAM technologies to assist blind users in navigating across multiple floors.

    • Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 03:30PM, NAC 7/219

      Prof. Mark Emerson (CCNY Biology), Illuminating cell fate decisions through transcriptional regulation at the quantitative and network level 

      The genome of a multicellular organism is responsible for directing much of the construction and organization of that organism during development. Fundamental to this role is the process of differential transcription, which produces gene products in some cells but not others. This is critical for the formation of specific cells or structures in the correct proportion and location within the embryo. Our current framework for this process is that the transcription of genes is controlled by two major components. The first are DNA sequences called cis-regulatory elements usually located in relative proximity to the regulated gene. These elements, through their specific sequence, bind to transcription factor proteins, which ultimately promote or repress the transcription of their associated gene. Despite a complete genome sequence and a large body of work on transcription factors, the precise regulation of genes during development is poorly understood. We explore these issues in the developing eye where the introduction of cis-regulatory elements and transcription factors into developing cells is easily accomplished. In this talk, I will describe our preliminary findings in the development of quantitative assays to measure cis-regulatory element activity and to manipulate their cognate transcription factors during eye development.​

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