Symposia

All symposia will take place in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Theme A: Development

Developmental Origins of Neuronal Diversity in the Cerebral Cortex

Chair: Oscar Marin, PhD
King's College London
Date & Time: Sunday, November 12, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

The function of the cerebral cortex relies on a large variety of cell types, yet the developmental origins of this diversity are largely unknown. The symposium will discuss the role of developmental mechanisms in the generation of cellular diversity in the cortex of mice and humans. The session will focus on current efforts to reveal the diversity of progenitor cells and the identity of neuron-specific transcriptional programs as they dynamically unfold during development.

Impact of Zika Virus Infection in the Nervous System and Its Underlying Mechanisms

Chair: Guo-li Ming, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Co-Chair: Nenad Sestan, MD, PhD
Yale University School of Medicine
Date & Time: Monday, November 13, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

The World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on Feb. 1, 2016, due to a potential link between Zika virus and microcephaly and/or other neurological diseases. This symposium will discuss recent advances in our understanding of how Zika virus impacts nervous system development and the underlying mechanisms using different model systems, including human fetal tissue, human pluripotent stem cell-derived organoids and neurospheres, and animal models.

Social Origins of Developmental Risk for Mental and Physical Illnesses

Chair: Judy L. Cameron, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Co-Chair: Pat Levitt, PhD
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

Young children experiencing intense adversity have profound changes in neural systems that regulate behavior and cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune function. This symposium will show the importance of timing of stress exposure, critical periods of intervention, and sex on various brain systems in young children, monkeys, and mice. The session will also focus on how changes in parental interaction with children can modify the long-term consequences of early-life stress exposure across species.

Theme B: Neural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia

Assembly and Maintenance of the Peripheral Nerve Node of Ranvier in Development, Health, and Disease

Chair: Hugh J. Willison, PhD
University of Glasgow
Co-Chair: Peter J. Brophy, PhD
University of Edinburgh
Date & Time: Monday, November 13, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: 146A
CME: 2.5

Nodes of Ranvier are the sites of saltatory conduction, a fundamental adaption of myelinated axons. Our understanding of the molecular organization of the nodal region has rapidly advanced. Many components have been identified, as have the interactions among the axonal and glial molecules, accounting for the specialized features of nodal, paranodal, and juxtaparanodal domains. Human autoimmune neuropathies are diseases that target glial and axonal nodal proteins and glycolipids, leading to nodal disruption and conduction block. The symposium will comprise a broad overview of this area, including descriptions of the latest research findings from presenters' laboratories.

Unconventional NMDA Receptor Signalling

Chair: Per Jesper Sjostrom, PhD
McGill University
Co-Chair: Karen Zito, PhD
University of California, Davis
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom C
CME: 2.5

In the classical view, postsynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDARs) act via calcium to signal coincidence detection in Hebbian learning. However, growing evidence shows that NMDARs can signal metabotropically, without the need for calcium influx. Moreover, NMDARs have been found presynaptically, where they do not act as Hebbian coincidence detectors. This symposium will highlight novel findings indicating how the NMDAR field needs to be expanded to include unconventional modes of NMDAR action.

Theme C: Neurodegenerative Disorders and Injury

Experimental Models Versus Reality of Neurological Disease

Chair: Werner Paulus, MD
University Hospital Muenster, Institute of Neuropathology
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

Experimental models of neurological disease are essential to better understand pathomechanisms and to find more effective treatments. Since models cannot reflect all aspects of human disease, they must be carefully selected, and results must be validated with human tissues. This symposium will outline the most recent neuropathological developments; discuss new models for Alzheimer´s disease, ALS/FTLD, prion disease, and stroke; and compare experimental models with real (human) disease.

Illuminating Neural Circuits: From Molecules to MRI

Chair: Jin Hyung Lee, PhD
Stanford University
Co-Chair: Anatol C. Kreitzer, PhD
Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

The symposium will introduce: cutting-edge experimental approaches for visualizing and manipulating neural circuits, novel circuit mechanisms, role of circuit defects in neurological disease, and therapeutic approaches aimed at manipulating circuit mechanisms. The goal is to better understand the role of neural circuits in normal brain function and how their impairment underlies neurological disease, as well as to discuss emerging ability to utilize this knowledge to develop therapeutics.

Neuroimmune Interactions: A Status Change

Chair: Jorge Ivan Alvarez, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Co-Chair: Jonathan Kipnis, PhD
University of Virginia
Date & Time: Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

Identifying the mechanisms regulating the influence of the immune system on the nervous system is critical to understanding brain health, behavior, cognition, and disease processes. In this symposium, a panel of expert scientists will describe how peripheral immune elements activate unique signaling pathways regulating neuronal function and how unique neurointrinsic signals shape the activity of leukocytes entering the central and peripheral nervous systems during homeostasis and disease.

Tau Homeostasis and Toxicity in Neurodegeneration

Chair: Li Gan, PhD
Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease
Co-Chair: Karen Ashe, MD, PhD
University of Minnesota
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

Microtubule-binding protein tau has emerged as a central player in neurodegenerative diseases. Imbalanced tau proteostasis, characterized with accumulation and spread, is linked with neuronal and synaptic toxicity. The aim of the symposium is to discuss how tau proteostasis becomes dysregulated and how tau becomes toxic. The symposium will focus on the post-translational mechanisms, as well as cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous forms of regulation in both animal models and human stem cells.

The Role of RNA Biology in Neurological Disease

Chair: Wenzhen Duan, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Date & Time: Sunday, November 12, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

It has been increasingly recognized that RNA plays a pivotal role in the regulation of gene expression and neuronal function. This symposium will highlight advances in RNA biology and discuss the roles of RNA in neurological diseases, including repeat associated non-ATG translation, RNA metabolism, non-coding regulatory RNAs, and splicing factors. The symposium will provide new perspectives on how RNA biology impacts strategies for therapeutic development in neurological diseases.

Theme D: Sensory Systems

Cortical Plasticity Following Sensory Loss and Restoration

Chair: Stephen G. Lomber, PhD
University of Western Ontario
Co-Chair: Amir Amedi, PhD
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Date & Time: Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

Studies of sensory loss and restoration are changing traditional views of cortical organization. Integrating animal and human models, as well as insights from the study of blindness and deafness, this symposium will discuss mechanisms of crossmodal plasticity in visual and auditory cortices throughout the lifespan, the role of critical periods, impact on perception and cognition, and how these changes influence the outcomes of sensory prosthetics.

Theme E: Motor Systems

Neural Mechanisms of Voluntary Action Control: From Habits to Intentionality in Animals and Humans

Chair: Itzhak Fried, MD, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles
Date & Time: Monday, November 13, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

The capacity for internally-generated, voluntary action characterizes the motor systems of humans and some animals. Recent experimental and modelling advances have rekindled neuroscientific interest in this classic topic. Animal models have identified mechanisms for habitual and intentional action, while human studies have both recorded and manipulated frontal processes underlying conscious volition. These advances are enabling the first computational models of volition.

Theme F: Integrative Physiology and Behavior

Central Network Dynamics Regulating Visceral And Humoral Functions

Chair: Rita J Valentino, PhD
National Institute of Drug Abuse
Co-Chair: Patrice G. Guyenet, PhD
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Date & Time: Saturday, November 11, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

The brain regulates visceral and immune functions to maintain internal homeostasis, optimally respond to a dynamic external environment, and integrate these functions with ongoing behavior. Using urological, gastrointestinal, and immune systems as examples, this symposium will show how advances in circuit dissection and manipulation and neural recordings across networks linking viscera to cortical regions are revealing how the brain performs this complex integration.

The Role of Extra-Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Brain Clocks in Circadian Regulation of Brain Function: Time Matters!

Chair: Robert L. Spencer, PhD
University of Colorado at Boulder
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

Although much has been learned about the operation of the “master clock” within the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), only recently has there been significant progress in understanding how the SCN orchestrates circadian regulation of various brain processes. This sympoisum will present recent advances concerning the presence of operational molecular clocks throughout the brain, mechanisms by which they are aligned with the SCN, and their functional relevance for learning, memory, and affective behavior.

Theme G: Motivation and Emotion

Circuit and Synaptic Plasticity Mechanisms of Drug Relapse

Chair: Yavin Shaham, PhD
National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program, NIH
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

Relapse is a core feature of drug addiction and a subject of intense basic research investigation. The symposium will highlight new developments in our understanding of circuits and synaptic plasticity mechanisms of drug relapse from studies combining established and novel animal models with state-of-the-art cellular, electrophysiology, anatomical, chemogenetic, and optogenetic methods. The speakers will also discuss the translational implications of these new developments.

From Salient Experience to Learning and Memory: Instructive Signals for Aversion and Reward

Chair: Joshua P. Johansen, PhD
RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Date & Time: Monday, November 13, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

Aversive and rewarding experiences are translated by the nervous system into instructive signals that alter brain connectivity, producing learning and changes in behavior. Using modern circuit mapping, manipulation, and recording approaches, great progress has been made in understanding the neural mechanisms of instructive signaling. This symposium will provide an updated and interactive view on how aversive and rewarding instructive signals are constructed, coded, and transmitted.

Theme H: Cognition

Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Progress and Problems

Chair: Johan Storm, PhD
University of Oslo
Co-Chair: Melanie Boly, MD, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom B
CME: 2.5

Consciousness research is developing rapidly. Using evidence from brain injury in patients and physiological and behavioral studies in humans and related animals (single neuron, fMRI, EEG, TMS, intracranial recordings), the symposium will highlight how different conscious states and contents arise in the brain. Speakers will discuss different experimental approaches and theoretical frameworks as well as the medical and ethical relevance of this area.

Neuronal Adaptation and Behavioral Performance in Perceptual and Economic Decisions

Chair: Camillo Padoa-Schioppa, PhD
Washington University in St Louis
Date & Time: Saturday, November 11, 2017 1:30pm - 4pm
Location: Ballroom A
CME: 2.5

The implications of neuronal adaptation are more complex than classically recognized. In decision circuits, the ambiguity of firing rates due to adaptation would induce dramatic biases. The absence of such biases indicates that adaptation is corrected, raising the question of whether adaptation is beneficial to the organism. Recent theoretical and experimental work on perceptual and economic decisions shows that neuronal adaptation ensures optimal coding and thus increases behavioral performance.

Theme I: Techniques

Exciting New Tools and Technologies Emerging From the BRAIN Initiative

Chair: Joshua A. Gordon, MD, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:30am - 11am
Location: Ballroom C
CME: 2.5

The BRAIN Initiative seeks to reveal how brain cells and circuits dynamically interact in time and space to shape our perceptions and behavior. BRAIN investigators are accelerating the development and application of new tools and neurotechnologies to tackle these challenges. This symposium highlights advances that will enable exploration of how the brain records, stores, and processes vast amounts of information, shedding light on the complex links between brain function and behavior.