Sabine KastnerProfessor at Princeton Neuroscience Institute, USA
Neural dynamics of the primate attention network, by Sabine Kastner
The selection of information from our cluttered sensory environments is one of the most fundamental cognitive operations performed by the primate brain. In the visual domain, the selection process is thought to be mediated by a static spatial mechanism – a ‘spotlight’ that can be flexibly shifted around the visual scene. This spatial search mechanism has been associated with a large-scale network that consists of multiple nodes distributed across all major cortical lobes and includes also subcortical regions. To identify the specific functions of each network node and their functional interactions is a major goal for the field of cognitive neuroscience. In my lecture, I will give an overview on the neural basis of this fundamental cognitive function and discuss recently discovered rhythmic properties that set up alternating attention states.
Sabine Kastner studies the neural basis of visual perception, attention, and awareness using a translational approach that combines neuroimaging in humans and monkeys, monkey physiology and studies in patients with brain lesions. Dr. Kastner earned an M.D. degree from the Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf (Germany) and received a Ph.D. degree in neurophysiology from the Georg-August University, Goettingen (Germany) under the mentorship of the late Otto Creutzfeldt. After a postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen and an internship in psychiatry, Dr. Kastner joined Leslie Ungerleider’s and Robert Desimone’s lab at the NIMH in Bethesda (1996-2000) before taking on a faculty position at Princeton, where she currently holds the rank of full professor. Dr. Kastner has served as the Scientific Director of Princeton’s neuroimaging facility since 2005. Dr. Kastner has published more than 150 articles in journals and books and has edited the Handbook of Attention (Oxford University Press, 2014). She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and her groundbreaking contributions to the field of human cognitive neuroscience were recognized with the Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in 2005. Dr. Kastner serves on several editorial boards and is Editor-in-Chief of Progress in Neurobiology and Frontiers for Young minds/Understanding neuroscience. Dr. Kastner performs public outreach through her educational neuroscience for the 21st century program including teacher seminars, public school outreach, events at PNI, and for parent support groups for neurodevelopmental disability. She was recognized by the Society for Neuroscience’s 2019 Award for Education in Neuroscience.