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From Molecules to Consciousness

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APRA is happy to present a special lecture by Dr. Enzo Tagliazucchi, titled "From Molecules to Consciousness".

Dr. Tagliazucchi (currently a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière), is one of the foremost scientists in computational neuroscience and psychedelic research, perhaps best known for his work in collaboration with the group of Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris (Tagliazucchi et al., 2014 & 2016).

Tickets available online and at the door. The lecture is free for APRA members that have already paid the current year membership fee. It is possible to acquire membership directly on the ticket webshop page or via bank transfer, granting free/discounted entrance to all APRA events, and more. For more information see

Talk Abstract:

Suppose someone consumes a typical dose of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The molecules are absorbed by her body and cross the blood-brain barrier, finally interacting with proteins located at the cell membrane (receptors). Depending on the receptor and the type of interaction with the LSD molecule, different intracellular second messengers are recruited, which in turn modify the biophysical properties of the cell and influence its activity. The next two facts we know about are that the contents of her consciousness are deeply modified, and that such modifications are related to changes in brain activity, as measured with tools such as fMRI, EEG and MEG. But what happened in between?

Currently, we have knowledge about the two ends of the process, but how can we connect both ends? In my talk I will move between theory and experiment to propose a way to link scales based on the following assumptions:
1. That it is possible to map the state of the brain (at different scales) into a space with a distance function or metric (i.e. there is a notion of the proximity between two states),
2. That it is possible to map the contents of consciousness into a similar space, and
3. That it is possible to investigate how the distance functions from both spaces relate to each other, e.g. does “being close“ in one space imply “being close“ in the other?

About the organizers:

APRA is a registered nonprofit organization run by volunteer university students and researchers. Fees and donations are fully reinvested in covering organisational costs, creating new events, and sponsoring academic research projects.

Tagliazucchi, E., Carhart-Harris, R., Leech, R., Nutt, D. and Chialvo, D. (2014). Enhanced repertoire of brain dynamical states during the psychedelic experience. Human Brain Mapping, 35(11), pp.5442-5456.

Tagliazucchi, E., Roseman, L., Kaelen, M., Orban, C., Muthukumaraswamy, S., Murphy, K., Laufs, H., Leech, R., McGonigle, J., Crossley, N., Bullmore, E., Williams, T., Bolstridge, M., Feilding, A., Nutt, D. and Carhart-Harris, R. (2016). Increased Global Functional Connectivity Correlates with LSD-Induced Ego Dissolution. Current Biology, 26(8), pp.1043-1050.

List of Dr. Tagliazucchi's papers:

LocatieUvA Roeterseiland Campus, Building J/K, Room 1.05
AdresValckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE, Amsterdam
DatumOctober 23rd, 2018
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