Science Café Cleveland presents


Modeling Memory

Understanding the normal brain



MARCH 14, 2011





Alan Lerner, MD

(Professor of Neurology Case Western Reserve University) 


Wojbor Woyczynski, PhD

(Professor of Statistics, Case Western Reserve University)




Daily functioning, and indeed, our personal identity, is critically dependent on the integrity of our memories. Many tests can assess the functional integrity of short-term and long-term memory systems, while how the brain does what it does remains uncharted territory. One way to test memory is to ask someone to name items from a specific category such as animal names over one minute. This is sensitive to early memory loss in Alzheimer's disease and many other brain disorders, and is widely used in medical research. Mathematical modeling of memory test can move us beyond merely counting the number of recalled items to understanding the timing and clustering of responses in young and older adults and how they change with aging.




Alan Lerner, MD is Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He is also Director of the Memory and Cognition Center of the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals, in Cleveland, OH.

Dr Lerner is a graduate of the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He graduated from Cornell University Medical School in 1987. After 1 year of training in Internal medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, he completed a Neurology residency, and Fellowship in Geriatrics at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.

In addition to his medical training, he has a background in computer programming. His research involves studies of new therapeutic options for Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders. His work with Dr Woyczynski has focused on measuring and analyzing the temporal structure  of semantic memory recall.


Wojbor A. Woyczynski is Professor of Statistics and Director of the Center for Stochastic and Chaotic Processes in Sciences and Technology at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, where he arrived in 1982, initially as Chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He obtained his BS/MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Wroclaw University of Technology in Wroclaw, Poland, his Ph.D. in Mathematics from University of Wroclaw, Poland, and held tenured faculty positions at the latter and Cleveland State University prior to his Case appointment.


At various times he was also a visiting professor at, among others, Carnegie-Mellon University, Northwestern University, University of Paris, University of Minnesota, Nagoya University, University of Tokyo, and the National Taiwan University in Taipei. His research interests include probability theory and random dynamics  (in particular, L\'evy processes), statistical physics and hydrodynamics, and applications to electrical engineering, chemistry, physics, operations research, financial mathematics, medicine, and  geophysics.  He is an author and/or editor of 12 books and over 150 research articles and resides in Shaker heights, Ohio.


WHERE: The Tasting Room at Great Lakes Brewing Company

(Located at 2701 Carroll Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44113)


WHEN: March 14, 2011

Drinks at 6:30 pm, discussion starts around 7:00 pm


WHO: Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN ideastream, and Great Lakes Brewing Company



Click here to download a pdf of event flyer