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Special Lectures

Theme A: Development

Headshot of Hongjun Song, PhD

Plasticity in the Adult Brain: Neurogenesis and Neuroepigenetics - Hongjun Song

Speaker: Hongjun Song, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 1pm - 2:10pm
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Adult mammalian brains exhibit much more plasticity and regenerative capacity than previously thought, including generation of functionally integrated new neurons via adult neurogenesis. This lecture summarizes recent work on understanding basic properties of adult neural stem cells and molecular, cellular, and circuitry mechanisms regulating the sequential adult neurogenesis process in vivo. Neuroepigenetics, particularly novel active DNA modifications in the nervous system, also will be highlighted.

Headshot of Pico Caroni, PhD

Adjusting Brain Circuits for Learning and Memory - Pico Caroni

Speaker: Pico Caroni, PhD
Friedrich Miescher Institute, Switzerland
Date & Time: Sunday, November 10, 2013 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Brain systems face ever-changing demands for learning and memory throughout life. For example, skill learning depends first on dynamic acquisition of potentially relevant information, followed by faithful execution; memories need to be both retained and prioritized as a function of circumstances. This lecture will cover how system plasticity is adjusted flexibly to specific behavioral demands, how its regulation in juveniles and adults involves related circuit mechanisms, and how the plasticity can be harnessed for cognitive enhancement.

Theme B: Neural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia: Cellular Mechanisms

Headshot of Harald Sontheimer, PhD

Glioma: A Neurocentric Look at Cancer - Harald Sontheimer

Speaker: Harald Sontheimer, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 10am - 11:10am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Glioma research has traditionally been inspired by oncology, largely ignoring the tumor's unique interactions with the brain. This lecture challenges us to take a more neurocentric viewpoint: many of the hallmarks of the disease, including vascular dysregulation, edema, gliosis, and progressive neuronal cell death by glutamate excitotoxicity, readily define gliomas as a neurodegenerative disease. Research into how this cancer compromises normal brain physiology holds promise for a better understanding and ultimately more effective treatment of this devastating disorder.

Headshot of Kristen Harris, PhD

Age-Dependent Responses of Synapse Structure to Hippocampal Plasticity - Kristen M. Harris

Speaker: Kristen M. Harris, PhD
University of Texas
Date & Time: Sunday, November 10, 2013 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

This special lecture will discuss regulation of spines, synapses, and subcellular components (polyribosomes, SER, and endosomes) by plasticity during maturation. For example, long-term potentiation (LTP) and dendritic spines first occur at P12 in rat hippocampus. LTP induces small spines on developing dendrites, but along mature dendrites synapses enlarge with compensatory elimination of small spines and shrink during concurrent LTD. Presynaptic vesicles decrease with LTP at young and mature ages illustrating structural plasticity has differential effects across synaptic compartments.

Theme C: Disorders of the Nervous System

Headshot of George F. Koob, PhD

Neurocircuitry of Addiction: A Stress Surfeit Disorder - George F. Koob

Speaker: George F Koob, PhD
The Scripps Research Institute
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

A key component of the pathophysiology of addiction is negative reinforcement set up by negative emotional states hypothesized to derive from dysregulation of key neurochemical elements involved in the brain stress systems within the frontal cortex, ventral striatum, and extended amygdala. Compelling evidence exists to argue that the brain stress systems play a key role in engaging the transition to addiction and maintaining dependence once initiated.

Headshot of Berislav V. Zlokovic, MD, PhD

Blood-Brain Barrier and Neurodegeneration - Berislav V. Zlokovic

Speaker: Berislav V. Zlokovic, MD, PhD
University of Southern California
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) prevents entry of toxic blood products into the CNS. The BBB is damaged in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Yet, the role of BBB in the pathogenesis of these disorders is not yet fully appreciated. This lecture will discuss the BBB mechanisms causing neurodegeneration including astrocyte-pericyte-endothelial faulty signal transduction, effects of AD-associated genes on BBB integrity (APOE4, CLU, PICALM), and effects of capillary micro-bleeds.

Theme D: Sensory and Motor Systems

Picture of Rachel I. Wilson, PhD

Sensory Processing in Drosophila: Synapses, Circuits, and Computations - Rachel I. Wilson

Speaker: Rachel I. Wilson, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Date & Time: Monday, November 11, 2013 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Many of the basic computations involved in sensory processing are shared across sensory modalities and species. Understanding sensory processing requires identifying these canonical computations, why they might be useful to the organism, and how they are implemented at the level of cells, synapses, and circuits. The lecture will discuss recent work investigating these problems in the fly Drosophila melanogaster, using in vivo whole-cell recordings from genetically-identified neurons.

Headshot of Stephen H. Scott, PhD

Putting Sensory Back into Voluntary Control - Stephen H. Scott

Speaker: Stephen H. Scott, PhD
Queen's University, Canada
Date & Time: Monday, November 11, 2013 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Optimal feedback control can explain many features of biological movement, such as success with variability, motor synergies, and goal-directed behavior. I will describe the use of optimal control to interpret motor performance, highlighting the importance of sensory feedback in this process. The lecture will also describe how corrective responses to small visual or mechanical perturbations under a broad range of behavioral contexts provide an important window to probe voluntary control and its neural basis.

Theme E: Integrative Systems: Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, and Homeostatic Challenge

Headshot of Charles A Czeisler, PhD, MD

Interacting Influence of Sleep and Circadian Clocks on Human Physiology and Cognitive Performance - Charles A. Czeisler

Speaker: Charles A. Czeisler, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Date & Time: Saturday, November 9, 2013 2pm - 3:10pm
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Mammalian circadian clocks regulate the timing and duration of sleep. In humans, sleep and circadian clocks interact to affect many aspects of both physiology (including endocrine, metabolic, cardiovascular, immune and respiratory physiology) and behavior (including activity, alertness, performance, mood, vigilance, attention and eating). As a consequence, the interaction of sleep and circadian clocks has major implications for not only health and disease but also safety and productivity.

Headshot of Tracy L. Bale, PhD

Transgenerational Epigenetics: Programming Behavior in a Dynamic Landscape - Tracy L. Bale

Speaker: Tracy L. Bale, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Date & Time: Sunday, November 10, 2013 1pm - 2:10pm
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

The epigenome has become a highly investigated and important area of neuroscience in connecting the environment with changes in neurodevelopment and behaviors. The complexity of mechanisms at play stem from points of vulnerability, including key developmental windows and the involvement of maternal or paternal germ cell lifetime exposures. This lecture will discuss the latest knowledge on epigenetic mechanisms and transgenerational outcomes associated with the reprogramming of the brain and behaviors, thus promoting disease risk or resiliency.

Theme F: Cognition and Behavior

Headshot of Karl J. Friston, FRS

Free Energy and Active Inference - Karl J. Friston

Speaker: Karl J. Friston, FRS
University College London
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

This lecture provides an overview of theoretical approaches to functional brain architectures using the free energy formulation of active inference and predictive coding. Its focus is on basic concepts and how they can be used to understand functional anatomy and the intimate relationship between action and perception. The underlying ideas will be described heuristically and their application will be illustrated using simulations of perceptual synthesis, action observation, and visual searches.

Headshot of Anthony A. Grace, PhD

When Good Neurons Go Bad: Dopamine Neuron Regulation and its Disruption in Psychiatric Disorders - Anthony A. Grace

Speaker: Anthony A. Grace, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Date & Time: Sunday, November 10, 2013 10am - 11:10am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Midbrain dopamine neurons have been implicated in a broad variety of psychiatric disorders, ranging from schizophrenia to drug abuse and depression. These disorders appear to result not from pathology within the dopamine neurons themselves, but from a disruption in their normal regulation. This lecture will describe how limbic and cortical afferents regulate baseline tonic activity and phasic activation of dopamine neurons to salient stimuli, and how disruption of these inputs may lead to pathological states.

Theme G: Novel Methods and Technology Development

Photo of Bryan Roth, PhD

How Synthetic and Chemical Biology Will Transform Neuroscience - Bryan L. Roth

Speaker: Bryan L. Roth, PhD, MD
University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10am - 11:10am
Location: Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

One of the grand challenges for neuroscience research is to understand how biologically active small molecules (e.g. neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and drugs) exert their actions at successive levels ranging from the atomic to ensembles of neuronal networks. This lecture will demonstrate how recent advances in chemical and synthetic biology technology have catalyzed new insights into bioactive small molecule actions. The lecture will show how atomic-level discoveries have ultimately led to transformative insights at the level of neuronal systems.