Where in the Brain is Creativity?

Prof. Arne Dietrich (American University of Beirut)

Creativity is the fountainhead of human civilizations. All progress and innovation depend on our ability to change existing thinking patterns, break with the present, and build something new. Progress, however, in any field of science, depends on a clear conception of the topic under study and a toolkit of methods that enables researchers to tackle specific questions in an empirical manner. Since the pioneering work of Guilford half a century ago, the experimental study of creativity has been plagued by the lack of both. We know very little about the mechanisms, cognitive or neural, that give rise to creative thinking.

What’s more, when it comes to mechanistic explanations at the neurocognitive level, the field of creativity is riddled with examples of myopic theorizing. Open any source on the topic, academic or otherwise, and you will find creativity linked with, say, divergent thinking, low arousal, defocused attention, right brains, sleep, lateral thinking, intentional reasoning, the unconscious, altered states of consciousness, or mental illness, to name a few of the most popular duds. The present talk will show that (1) these ideas are theoretically incoherent and (2) data using neuroimaging paradigms do not bear them out. A new approach is presented that makes more serious contact with mainstream cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology.

When 6:30pm – 8:00pm, Thursday, 9 September 2010
Where Lecture Theatre 1, Wilkinson Building

About the Speaker

Arne Dietrich is Professor of Psychology at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Georgia, USA. Professor Dietrich has done research on the higher cognitive functions supported by the prefrontal cortex, focusing on the neural mechanisms of (1) creativity, (2) altered states of consciousness, and (3) the psychological effects of exercise. Professor Dietrich’s major publications include a theoretical framework for the neural basis of creativity, (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2004), a comprehensive review article of neuroscientific studies of creativity (Psychological Bulletin, 2010), a new, mechanistic theory of altered states of consciousness, the transient hypofrontality theory (Consciousness and Cognition, 2003, 2004), and the proposal of two new explanations for the effects of exercise on emotion and cognition. He is also the author of a textbook on consciousness (Macmillan, 2007). Professor Dietrich has given numerous invited lectures around the world and his research has been featured prominently in the international press.

How We Can Make Our Cities Healthy Places to Live

Prof. Ed Blakely (University of Sydney)
A/Prof. Ruth Colagiuri (Menzies Centre for Health Policy)

Healthy communities are the centre of wealth creation and Australia must make its urban areas healthy because they are the fulcrum of the economy. In this presentation Prof. Ed Blakely will discuss the urban policy and how we can make our cities healthy places to live. He will also outline how Australia’s new economy will make Asia’s growing cities healthy as a larger national export rather than natural resources. A/Prof. Ruth Colagiuri will respond and discuss what public health research is needed to support this.

When 1pm – 2pm, Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Where Carlaw Lecture Theatre 275

About the Speakers

Prof. Ed Blakely has more than 40 year of international experience in all aspects of urban and regional planning, disaster management and sustainable development. Until 2009 he headed the recovery of the City of New Orleans. In this role he coordinated all aspects of municipal government from planning and financing to construction of major infrastructure related to the recovery of the City from the worst modern urban disaster in the United States. He is currently the Professor of Urban Policy at the United States Study Center at the University of Sydney where he coordinates the Centres programs on global urban issues with an honorary professor appointment.

Ruth Colagiuri is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and director of Health and Sustainability Unit at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy. She was recently awarded a University of Sydney Medical Foundation Fellowship. She is also a Vice President of the International Diabetes Federation and leads the activities of the Oxford Health Alliance Asia Pacific Centre. Ruth has worked extensively in the clinical services, health policy, population health plans, health professional training and competencies, and the evidence base for diabetes prevention and care both in Australia and internationally – most notably in the Pacific Islands, Africa and India.

Australian of the Year – Professor Patrick McGorry

When 7:00pm, Friday, 3 September 2010
Where Great Hall, University of Sydney

The 2010 Lambie-Dew Oration will be delivered by the current Australian of the Year, leading international researcher, clinician, mental health reform advocate and Sydney Medical School alumnus, Professor Patrick McGorry AO.

This year’s oration will be held at its traditional venue of the Great Hall, on Friday the 3rd of September, commencing at 7.00 pm. Refreshments will be provided from 6.00 pm. Admission is free, and we welcome all students and the general public to be part of the audience at this prized event in the Sydney University Medical Society’s calendar.

Professor McGorry’s Australian of the Year award recognised “his extraordinary 27-year contribution to the improvement of the youth mental health sector [that] has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people the world over.” He is currently the Executive Director of Oxygen Youth Health (OYH), Australia’s largest youth mental health organisation, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, and a founding member of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation (headspace) board. Professor McGorry’s work has played an integral role in the development of safe, effective treatments and innovative research involving the needs of young people with emerging mental disorders.

The Lambie-Dew Oration is an annual event that has been held by the Sydney University Medical Society since 1958 in honour of Charles Lambie and Harold Dew, the first Bosch Chairs of Medicine and Surgery respectively. Recent past speakers include Dr Rowan Gilles, Professor Ian Frazer, Professor Chris O’Brien, Professor Peter Doherty and Professor Marie Bashir.

If you would like further information, please contact Stuart Napier. snap6003@uni.sydney.edu.au

Diabetes and Sustainable Development: A Global Crisis

Professor Jean-Claude Mbanya (President of the International Diabetes Federation)

The world is experiencing unprecedented national debt and an uncertain economic future. The diabetes epidemic is at crisis point and challenges current global health and development approaches and priorities.

With 80% of the current 285 million cases of diabetes in LMCs, increasingly affecting people aged 35 to 64 ‐ the productive years ‐ diabetes has become a significant determinant of personal poverty, and transgenerational hardship and loss of life chances.

There is an insidious relationship between diabetes and key development indicators such as poverty and malnutrition; gender inequity and maternal mortality; major infections such as TB; and climate change. The impact of forgone income resulting from lost productivity due to diabetes is of concern to both developing and developed countries. In LMCs it undermines progress towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and contributes to state fragility.

This lecture will provide insights into these issues and discuss possible solutions for consideration by the 2011 UN Summit on Non‐Communicable Diseases.

When 5.30pm-7.00pm, Thursday, 2 September 2010
Where Lecture Theatre 101, New Law School

About the Speaker

Jean Claude Mbanya is Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon and Consultant Physician, Director of the National Obesity Centre University of Yaounde and Chief of the Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases Unit at the Hospital Central in Yaounde.

His primary research interests are in the distribution, determinants and consequences of diabetes and related chronic diseases including cultural diabetes‐related factors, which are often unique to the African countries and communities he studies. His practice and research have largely contributed to increase the world’s awareness on diabetes in Africa, a continent where the devastating personal and macroeconomic economic impact of non‐contagious diseases like diabetes are too often overlooked.

Professor Mbanya was instrumental in the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) led ‘Unite for Diabetes’ campaign which resulted in the UN Resolution on Diabetes in December 2006. As President of IDF, he steers IDF strategic direction to encourage governments to implement policies for the treatment, care and prevention of diabetes and is currently leading the development of a global diabetes plan in preparation for the 2011 UN Summit on Non‐ Communicable Diseases.

Complex Social Dynamics in Health Promotion

Associate Professor Liaquat Hossain
Associate Professor Michael Dibley
Dr Cynthia Hunter

The presentation will first introduce complex social network dynamics and discuss the theoretical and methodological foundations required to understand different types of networks. Then the importance of complex social network analysis in discovering existing social links, or predicting emerging network structures, which could have an impact on individual, group and organisational outcomes, will be highlighted. In the last section of the presentation, the connection between complex social networks and health promotion will be explored.

When 1:00pm – 2:00pm, Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Where Norman Gregg Lecture Theatre, Edward Ford Building

About the Speaker

Liaquat Hossain‘s work aims to explore the effects of different types of social network structures and patterns of information technology use on coordination in a dynamic and complex environment. He is interested in exploring (modeling and empirical investigation) the effects of different types of social network structures on coordination and organisational performance from a theoretical and an applied perspective. In his research he uses methods and analytical techniques from mathematical sociology (i.e., social networks analysis), social anthropology (i.e., interview and field studies) and computer science (i.e., information visualisation, graph theoretic approaches and data mining techniques such as clustering) to explore coordination problems in a dynamic, distributed and complex setting.

Michael Dibley is a nutritional epidemiologist working mainly on international public health nutrition issues. His research focuses on examining the “double burden of under and over nutrition” found in many countries in our region. To prevent child under- or over nutrition requires effective communication interventions with parents and children. Social and cultural norms often influence the behaviours we seek to alter in these public health interventions. A new area of inertest for Prof Dibley is how to harness the power of social networks to make these interventions more effective.

Cynthia Hunter is a medical anthropologist and senior lecturer in the International Public Health team at the University of Sydney. Cynthia teaches in the Masters of International Public Health programme. Her research interests focus on illness and healing ethnography and the delivery and quality of health care, particularly the interface between medicine and culture. She has worked in the Asia-Pacific, including Papua New Guinea and Indonesia where she lived for two years conducting ethnographic research of village folk’s access to health care. More recent research has focused on failed asylum seekers and forced migration, as well as a hospital ethnography of clinicians’ interactions with each other in everyday work activities in Australian tertiary paediatric hospitals. Current research projects include 1) clinicians’ communications in a major teaching hospital in Jakarta; 2) a community response to avian influenza in Bali and Lombok funded by the WHO (Indonesia).

From Cambridge Mathematician to Harvard Philosopher

Peter Farleigh (Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology)

What would the consequences be, if rather than substances and structures, we took events and processes to be the primary entities that make up the universe? And what if instead of the traditional mechanistic model we used the concept of the organism, as the key metaphor in our understanding of the world?

These are two central questions that Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) wrestled with in his later years. Whitehead of course, was famous for his early collaboration with Bertrand Russell on one of the most important works of mathematics in history—the three volumes of Principia Mathematica. While the two equally shared the work of this heroic attempt to establish a logical foundation for mathematics, it is not commonly known that there had been a fourth volume planned, which Whitehead alone began working on. But what became of the unfinished volume and why was it important for his philosophical development?

When 6:00pm – 7:30pm, Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Where Lecture Theatre 101, New Law School

Treating an Epidemic: HIV/AIDS

Bernard Gardiner (Red Cross Global HIV Program)
Dr Jonathan Anderson (ViiV Healthcare Australia, a joint venture by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer)
Bridget Haire (journalist, editor, policy analyst and advocate for HIV/AID prevention)

How do we begin combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and what progress has been made so far? This panel discussion explores the current issues facing the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDs as well as the progress being made every day in eradicating the disease.

When 12:00pm-1:00pm, Monday, 23 August 2010
Where Pharmacy Lecture Theatre
RSVP Please email aphq@goldenkey.org

About the Speakers

Bernard Gardiner was a volunteer in the early HIV response in Australia and served two term as Vice President of the Victorian AIDS Council, and then was later its General Manager for three years. He managed the HIV Unit of the Victorian Human Services Department and chaired the 1st national conference of the Chronic Illness Alliance. His overseas work has been within the Red Cross Movement, first as Manager of the Australian Red Cross HIV Programme in East and South-East Asia for five years based in Bangkok, and then 7 years based in Geneva as Manager of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Global HIV Programme. He has visited more than 50 countries to assist with HIV programming, and during his tenure the Red Cross HIV work expanded from $3 million per year to over $100 million per year.

Dr Jonathan Anderson is the Medical Director of ViiV Healthcare Australia, a joint venture by GlaxoSmithKlein and Pfizer that is 100% focused on treatment and care of HIV. He was a primary care doctor with a special interest in HIV, sexual health and gay men’s health at the Carlton & Northside clinics in Melbourne from 1993-2010. As an active member of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research network, he was involved in multiple clinical research studies and helped found the Australian HIV Observational Database. He was President of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine and member of the Federal and state ministerial advisory committees. In 2004 he worked in Botswana for the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Development Partnership (ACHAP) a collaboration between the government of Botswana and the Gates Foundation. Currently, Jonathan is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Sydney Medical School and is the author of 26 peer-reviewed publications on HIV treatment and care, health economics, HPV and pandemic influenza.

Bridget Haire has worked in the HIV community sector for more than 15 years as a journalist, editor, policy analyst and advocate. She sits on the steering committee of the International Rectal Microbicides Advocates and is a graduate of the University of Sydney’s Masters of Bioethics program. Bridget works as Senior Policy Analyst for Family Planning NSW and is completing a PhD in Bioethics at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney.

A Cautionary Welcome to New Innovations in Diagnostic Imaging

Professor Patrick Brennan (Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney)

The current rate of technological development within diagnostic imaging is not unlike a century ago when X-rays were first described. Professor Brennan will discuss how his research career has been based on exploring the efficacy and safety of new innovations and will focus on two new but rapidly adopted technologies: digital X-ray acquisition and handheld mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPod Touch.

This lecture will also describe some of the work being done in the Faculty of Health Sciences that highlights the cautionary approach that should prevail each time a new innovation is introduced.

When 5:00pm-7:00pm, Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Where Room E101, Building E, Lidcombe Campus

Biological Agents in War and Terror

Professor Andreas Suhrbier (Immunovirology Group, Queensland Institute of Medical Research)

Join Sydney Nursing School for a lunchtime lecture with Professor Andreas Suhrbier, Head of Immunovirology Group, Queensland Institute of Medical Research on Biological Agents in War and Terror.

When 1:00pm-2:00pm, Monday, 16 August 2010
Where Sydney Nursing School, 88 Mallett Street, Camperdown

Some like it Hot: Life in the Central Deserts of Australia

Professor Chris Dickman

Australia’s central deserts support rich assemblages of animals and plants: add water, and the seemingly barren landscapes transform and pulsate with colour and activity. In this lecture, Professor Dickman will take us through the extraordinary ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ cycles that characterise inland Australia and examine how life persists during good times and bad. You will see the amazing adaptations that frogs and desert mice use to cope with the extreme conditions, how floods, wildfires and invasive species affect the native small mammals, and how so many species seem to appear and disappear at different times and places over the desert landscape. With the spectre of climate change looming, life in Australia’s central deserts may provide a glimpse of what the continent’s coastal fringes can expect in future.

When 5:45pm-6:45pm, Thursday, 12 August 2010
Where Eastern Avenue Auditorium
RSVP Please click here