The recent Society for Neuroscience meeting was again attended by over 30,000 people, and spanned a wide range of topics representing the enormous variety of research currently being carried out by neuroscientists. The meeting points us to important developments and issues in the field, which will be considered in upcoming issues of the journal.

One topic that continues to generate interest and debate is that of precursor cells in the nervous system. This month we publish the first in a series of articles on CNS precursor cells that will examine different aspects of their identity, their fate and their roles in the developing and adult CNS. The series will also highlight controversies and unresolved questions that will undoubtedly be the target of much future research. On page 9, Nishiyama and colleagues describe the lineage potential and functional roles of NG2-expressing cells.

As was apparent from the SFN meeting, cognitive neuroscience remains a large and growing field that continues to embrace new technologies and advances in computational neuroscience. On page 37, Leppänen and Nelson review how imaging techniques have allowed us to study the development of the brain networks that underlie the recognition of emotional expressions on faces. And on page 58, Frith and Fletcher describe cognitive explanations for the hallucinations and delusions experienced by patients with schizophrenia and propose a Bayesian approach for understanding these symptoms. Finally, Craig (page 59) addresses one of the greatest neuroscientific puzzles — the biological basis of consciousness — by presenting the provocative hypothesis that the anterior insula might be a neural correlate of human awareness.