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January 8, 2004
Brains for Lunch and Dinner
Lunch: Casey and I had a wonderful lunch with Howard Fields at Zazie in Cole Valley. Howard leads the Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction at UCSF. (a subject that fascinates many)
Casey got to know Howard during graduate school at UCSF, while I was fortunate enough to meet him at the Gruter conference on evolutionary biology and the law last year. (photo of Howard and I chatting with the late Margaret Gruter)
Meeting Howard at Gruter was a very special moment because I got to witness the amazing "light bulb" of innovation happen in real-time. It was during a neuroeconomics talk being given by Paul Glimcher and Paul Zak, when Howard stood up and shared with 60 of us how Paul's (both in this case) latest research findings on the neurobiology of economic decision-making had just sparked a whole new perspective on the addiction data he had been amassing for the past 20 years. Howard is now setting up a series of experiments that will help prove his hypothesis. More from Howard on his bar experiments in future Brain Waves.
It will take me while to absorb the other topics we discussed, like -- the connection between biochips, brain imaging and behavior; free will (or not); emotions (a poor categorization of behavior), and the problems with animal models in human CNS research.
Dinner: My brother Chris cooked and hosted, with his wonderful wife Christine, a fabulous Indonesian feast at their home in honor of Arlene Taylor . Arlene travels the world giving seminars on different aspects of the brain. She covers the gamut, from how to live authentically to music and the brain. Sharing in the celebration was Wrye Sententia from CCLE, Christina who came over from Budapest, and Deb. We laughed a lot about NBIC 2004, our emerging neurosociety and how to live without jet lag or hangovers.
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