Life’s Commander:
Understanding the Brain

Saturday | March 20th 2021

Have you ever wondered about what makes you…you? Have you ever thought about how you understand others? How you engage in a conversation? If your brain changes the way you do? Neurosciences are a never ending story, but we seek to give you all the answers (and even more questions) at AIMS 2021! Join us on the 20th of March as we will look inside the brain, trying to understand what truly commands who we are and the way we act. If you still have doubts that the most fascinating machine that exists lives within you, the Neurosciences module comes to show you how knowledge about brain functioning is one of the main engines for evolution.

Sponsored by:

Online Lectures


Sophie Scott, PhD

Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences; Fellow of the British Academy; Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow at University College London; Head of Speech Communication Group at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Professor Sophie Kerttu Scott is a British neuroscientist and Welcome Trust Senior Fellow at University College London, researching the neuroscience of voices, speech, and laughter. She is currently Deputy Director and Head of the Speech Communication Group at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her work addresses the neurobiology of human vocal behaviour and vocal communication from sound to speech, covering the roles of streams of processing in the auditory cortex, hemispheric asymmetries and the interaction of speech processing with attentional and working memory factors. She pioneered the study of the human voice as a social signal, and has recently started to address the ways that non-verbal emotional expressions like laughter are used socially. Prof Scott is a member of the British Psychological Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the Experimental Psychology Society. She was also elected Fellow of the Academy of Sciences (FMedSci) in 2012. Scott is known for her public engagement work, including performing standup comedy. She was the 2017 Royal Institution Christmas Lecturer.


Patrik Brundin, PhD

Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at Van Andel Institute in Michigan, USA

Professor Patrik Brundin is a renowned researcher of Parkinson’s disease and he’s currently director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. He earned his PhD in 1988 and MD in 1992, both from Lund University, Sweden, and he has more than 350 publications on Parkinson’s disease and related topics. With over 40 years of experience studying this disease, his research focuses on pathogenic mechanisms of Parkinson’s and the development of new therapies that could slow or stop disease progression or that could repair affected brain circuits, translating experimental therapies into clinical trials. The Swedish neuroscientist and his team described Lewy bodies in grafted dopamine neurons and suggested that a prion-like mechanism operates on Parkinson’s disease. He reported the effects of mutant α-synuclein on dopamine homeostasis, describing how their interaction might cause neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s disease. Professor Patrik Brundin is a member of the World Parkinson Coalition Board of Directors and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Executive Scientific Advisory Board. He also serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s disease and chair of the Linked Clinical Trials scientific committee. He was previously Professor of Neuroscience at Lund University in Sweden.


Rosalind Picard, SC.D FIEEE

Founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT; Co-director of the Media Lab’s Advancing Wellbeing Initiative; Co-founder of Affectiva, Inc. and Empatica, Inc.

Professor Rosalind Picard is founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), co-founder of Affectiva, Inc., a company that provides emotion AI technology, and Empatica, Inc., that create sensors and algorithms to improve health. Empatica created the first AI-based smart watch cleared by the FDA in Neurology, which uses advanced machine learning to detect generalized tonic-clonic seizures and immediately notify caregivers, in order to prevent SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). Professor Picard has published over 300 scientific articles and is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, such as “Best paper of the decade 2000-2009” by IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems. In 2015 she was named by CNN one of seven “Tech SuperHeroes to Watch in 2015”. She is also a recently elected member to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions for engineering. Her research work has contributed to show how computers can be more emotionally intelligent, especially responding to a person’s frustration in a way that reduces negative feelings, among other technologies that aim to restore a proper balance between emotion and cognition for addressing human needs.



Vera Novais

Journalist for Observador; President of SciComPt

Vera Novais is a science journalist for Observador and the president of the Portuguese science communication association SciComPt. In this edition of the AIMS Meeting, she will be moderating the roundtable discussion of the Life’s Commander: Understanding the Brain module.

Scientific Committee

Pedro Alves, MD, PhD
Tiago Outeiro, PhD
Luísa Lopes, PhD

Neurologist at Hospital Santa Maria, Lisbon; Member of the Language Studies Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon; and Researcher at the “José Ferro Lab”, Institute of Molecular Medicine João Lobo Antunes, Lisbon

Full Professor of Aggregopathies, Director of the Department of Neurodegeneration and Restaurative Research, University Medizin Gottingen, Professor of Neurodegeneration at Newcastle University

Group Leader at iMM Lisboa; Associate Professor (guest) at Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon)