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Neuroscience expert to discuss enabling discoveries for understanding life

February 10, 2016

James Olds
James Olds

There are rules to the business of biology in the 21st century, according to James L. Olds, the assistant director for the Directorate of Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Olds will share the rules we know and how to discover more during his talk on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. He’s the fourth presenter in this season of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute’s Distinguished Public Lecture Series.

The mission of the Directorate of Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation is to enable discoveries for understanding life. Research supported by the Directorate of Biological Sciences advances the frontiers of biological knowledge, increases our complex systems, and provides a theoretical basis for original research in many other scientific disciplines, Olds said.

“Among life’s first principles—the constraints, drivers, and feedbacks of evolution—there must be discoverable sets of rules that, once identified, would contribute to new or refined conceptual understandings of life, new approaches to studying life, and new, fundamentally different questions about life and its origins,” Olds said.

Olds, a neuroscientist, is also the director and chief academic unit officer at George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study. He is also the Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience. Prior to these leadership roles, Olds was the chief executive officer for the American Association of Anatomists. Olds received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Amherst College and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health led to advances in understanding the molecular basis of learning and memory, earning Olds the National Institutes of Health Merit Award in 1993.

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