EECS Colloquium: The Neural Code of Speech

Colloquium: Departmental: EE: CS | April 3 | 4-5 p.m. | Soda Hall, 306 (HP Auditorium)

 Edward Chang, Professor of Neurological Surgery, UC San Francisco

 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)

Speaking is a defining behavior of our species. Our research seeks to understand the neural computations that govern our ability to speak and hear words. Advances in direct neurophysiological recordings from the human brain have led to a completely new view on the neural code that translates between sound and meaning. I will focus on our discoveries on the cortical representation of speech sounds and vocal tract movements. This basic knowledge may have implications for current approaches to automatic speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies, and has accelerated our translational brain-machine interface efforts towards communication restoration for paralyzed patients.

Biography:
Edward Chang is Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. He is a neurosurgeon who treats adults with difficult-to-control epilepsy, brain tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm and movement disorders. He specializes in advanced brain mapping methods to preserve crucial areas for speech and motor functions in the brain. He also has extensive experience with implantable devices that stimulate specific nerves to relieve seizure, movement, pain and other disorders.

Chang's research focuses on the brain mechanisms for speech, movement and human emotion. With Jose Carmena, he co-directs the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, a collaborative enterprise of UCSF and the University of California, Berkeley. The center brings together experts in engineering, neurology and neurosurgery to develop state-of-the-art biomedical technology to restore function for patients with neurological disabilities such as paralysis and speech disorders.

Chang earned his medical degree at UCSF, where he also completed a residency in neurosurgery. He was honored with the Blavatnik National Laureate for Life Sciences in 2015 in recognition of his work on deciphering the neural code of speech. Dr. Chang is the inaugural Bowes Biomedical Investigator at UCSF and HHMI Faculty Scholar.

 jennyj@berkeley.edu