Ira B. Black

Ira B. Black is Professor and Chairman, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/UMDNJ.

  • Information in the Brain

    Information in the Brain

    A Molecular Perspective

    Ira B. Black

    Drawing on his considerable experience as a neuroscientist and clinical neurologist, Ira Black systematically disentangles the labyrinth of brain and mind in a new concept of mind that relates environment, brain genes, molecular symbols, behavior and mentation. He describes the unity of brain, mind, and experience with singular clarity, showing how mental function, brain function, and biologic information are now comprehensible in molecular terms.Writing in a clear and often conversational style, Black defines the molecular biology and biochemistry of information processing in the nervous system and describes in detail the environmental regulation of brain genes that encode molecular symbols. His coherent vision of the vast biological information system provides insight into questions of how the mind is related to the brain, what constitutes the substance of thought or the physical bases of memory, how experience changes mind function or environmental information is converted into neural language, and what biochemical abnormalities lead to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.Information in the Brain identifies common concepts and themes in widely diverse fields, revealing the extraordinary scope of modern neuroscience, and makes central issues in the brain sciences accessible to a variety of readers. Black's description of the critical role that gene structure plays in ongoing brain and mind function will appeal to molecular biologists. Protein chemists will understand how molecular structure is translated into behavior and mentation. Neuroscientists will gain an explicit understanding of the central questions in psychology. In turn, psychologists will find new ideas concerning cellular and molecular bases of brain function and clinical neurologists and psychiatrists will discover new formulations of the pathogenesis of disease at genomic, molecular, and systems levels.

    • Hardcover $11.75
    • Paperback $30.00


  • Synapses, Circuits and the Beginning of Memory

    Gary Lynch

    This monograph articulates the ways in which neurobiologic discoveries can be interpreted in terms of psychological memory.

    With commentaries by Gordon M. Shepherd, Ira B. Black, and Herbert P. Killackey For years memory research focused on the neuron as the basic element of the brain, but developments in cognitive science now challenge the neurobiologist to understand the function of neural networks, perhaps one of the most difficult problems of the mind. This monograph articulates the ways in which neurobiologic discoveries can be interpreted in terms of psychological memory. The brain mechanisms of learning and memory have been extensively studied by both neuroscientists and psychologists in recent years. Here Gary Lynch outlines the main issues in this dialogue: using the olfactory cortex and related hippocampus as examples, he discusses the physiological and chemical process involved in producing long-term memory and the anatomical organization of the neuronal circuitries in which they are stored. Then, combining these arguments, Lynch arrives at a series of postulates about the dynamics of the formation, association, and recall of memory representations in cortical networks. An evolutionary theme concerning the origins of the hypothesized organizations and processes runs throughout the monograph. Commenting on some of these ideas, Gordon Shepherd (Yale University) takes up the ways particular aspects of cortical cells, the apical dendrites of pyramidal cells, can be active in storing information. Ira Black (Cornell University Medical College) discusses the biochemical mutability of individual neurons and how this must be taken into account in modeling the way neural cells support mnemonic processes. A general discussion of cortical morphology and memory is provided by Herbert Killackey (University of California, Irvine).

    Synapses, Circuits, and the Beginnings of Memory inaugurates The Cognitive Science Institute Monographs Series, edited by Michael A. Gazzaniga. A Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $27.00