Meet-the-Expert: Session 1
Date & Time: Saturday, November 9, 2013 8am - 9:15am
Manchester Grand Hyatt: Annie, Emma, Ford, Madeleine, Mohsen
Experts will describe their research techniques and accomplishments in a personal context that offers participants a behind-the-scenes look at factors influencing each expert's work. The session offers an opportunity for students and postdoctoral researchers to engage the expert in an informal dialogue over breakfast. No registration is required, but seating is limited
Fred Gage, PhD
Neuronal Plasticity and Neural Diversity
This discussion will focus on the evidence supporting the birth and maturation of new neurons in the adult dentate gyrus of the hippocampus in the mammalian brain. The mechanism by which the cells integrate into the dentate gyrus and their functional significance with regard to neural plasticity, will be discussed. In addition, there will be a focus on the recent finding that LINE-1 and Alu retroelements are active in neuronal progenitor cells and the the germline, providing additional mechanisms for neuronal diversification.
Support contributed by Emory University/Yerkes National Primate Research Center
Erik Herzog, PhD
Coordinated Circadian Clocks in the Lab, Classroom, and Clinic
We wake and sleep, eat and fast, on a daily basis. These biological, circadian, rhythms are common across all phyla. In mammals, these rhythms are intrinsic to glia, neurons and many other cell types in the brain and body. How is the mammalian brain organized to generate daily rhythms in physiology and behavior? What happens when environmental or genetic events disrupt normal circadian rhythms? This session will discuss how studies of the network of circadian clocks in the brain and body are revealing insights into how oscillators couple, kids struggle to learn in school, and clinicians may be able to improve patient outcomes in brain cancers, mood disorders and obesity.
George Koob, PhD
The Neurocircuitry of Addiction: From Motivation to Allostasis
Understanding the neural mechanisms of motivation has gained tremendously from our study of the archetypal disturbance of motivation: Addiction. Addiction can be defined as disorder of compulsive drug use with loss of control in intake and the emergence of a negative motivational state during withdrawal. While reward dysregulations have historically have been addressed as breaks with homeostasis in concepts such as sensitization and opponent processes, recent formulations suggest drug addiction is a reward deficit, stress surfeit, executive function disorder that follows an allostatic process rather than a homeostatic process. Our understanding of the neurobiology of addiction is providing valuable insights into the neurobiology of motivation per se and how motivational systems change in psychopathology.
Steve Scott, PhD
Making and Using Robots to Study Sensorimotor Function and Quantify Neurological Impairments
The presentation contains three separate yet intertwined themes. First, I will describe how selecting a less worn path through academic training from engineering to neuroscience can provide unique opportunities for research that spans disciplines and fields. Second, I will describe the development and use of novel robotic technology to quantify and modify limb movement, leading to several new discoveries on the fundamentals of sensorimotor control and impairments associated with stroke and other neurological injuries/disorders. Finally, I will describe how this same technology led to the creation of a start-up company with an objective to create a next generation technology for neurological assessment.