Featured Lectures
David Julius headshot

ALBERT AND ELLEN GRASS LECTURE - Natural Products as Probes of the Pain Pathway: From Physiology to Atomic Structure - David J. Julius

Speaker: David J Julius, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
Support contributed by: The Grass Foundation
Date & Time: Monday, November 14, 2016 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

The study of somatosensation, nociception, and pain has undergone a revolution with the application of molecular genetic, biochemical, and biophysical methods. With these approaches, investigators have begun to identify molecules, cells, and circuits that underlie stimulus detection, perception, and maladaptive processes. Together, these studies are providing an intellectual and technical foundation for developing new classes of analgesic agents.

Tom Albright headshot

DAVID KOPF LECTURE ON NEUROETHICS - Reforming Forensic Science: Some Insights From Research on Vision and Memory - Thomas D. Albright

Speaker: Thomas D Albright, PhD
Salk Institute For Biological Studies
Support contributed by: David Kopf Instruments
Date & Time: Monday, November 14, 2016 10am - 11:10am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20

In its 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, the National Academy of Sciences identified a number of significant weaknesses in forensic science, which have contributed to wrongful convictions and have threatened public confidence in our criminal justice system. These problems have prompted broad calls for reform of the processes by which forensic evidence is acquired, analyzed, and interpreted. Several types of forensic analyses involve evaluation of complex visual patterns or memories of visual experiences. Advances in understanding of brain systems for visual sensation, perception, and memory can help shape forensic reform by illuminating the relevant sensory and cognitive processes, their limitations, and factors that can improve human performance in a forensic context.

Shekhar Saxena headshot

DIALOGUES BETWEEN NEUROSCIENCE AND SOCIETY - Global Mental Health and Neuroscience: Challenges and Opportunities - Shekhar Saxena

Speaker: Shekhar Saxena, MD
World Health Organization
Support contributed by: Elsevier
Date & Time: Saturday, November 12, 2016 11am - 1pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20

Global mental health is slowly but steadily coming out of the shadows. It is benefiting from advances in neuroscience, but not adequately. The potential is much greater. The lecture will present a background of the current state of mental health in the world and then focus on how a closer collaboration between mental health and neuroscience could enhance knowledge and improve population health. Examples from the areas of autism, substance dependence, psychoses, and dementia will help illustrate this potential.

Erwin Neher headshot

FRED KAVLI HISTORY OF NEUROSCIENCE LECTURE - Sixty Years of Research on Neurotransmitter Release in the Light of Recent Results from the Calyx of Held Synapse - Erwin Neher

Speaker: Erwin Neher, PhD
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Support contributed by: The Kavli Foundation
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 2:30pm - 3:40pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20

In the 1950s, Sir Bernhard Katz and co-workers laid the foundation for our present understanding of neurotransmitter release and its short-term plasticity. Their terms “units available” (for release) and “units responding to one impulse” have been replaced with terms like vesicle pools, release probability, and quantal content. Since then, the description of certain aspects of short-term plasticity has gained considerable complexity. Research on the Calyx of Held has described this complexity including heterogeneity of vesicle pools, refractoriness of release sites, and a phenomenon called “superpriming.” Nevertheless, this talk will argue that the original Katz view is still a useful framework on which to build.

Mu-ming Poo Headshot

PETER AND PATRICIA GRUBER LECTURE - Random Walk in Neurobiology - Mu-ming Poo

Speaker: Mu-ming Poo, PhD
University of California-Berkeley and Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Science
Support contributed by: The Gruber Foundation
Date & Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 2:30pm - 3:40pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20

Beginning as a biophysicist studying diffusion of membrane proteins, I stumbled upon many interesting problems in cellular neurobiology, including neuronal polarization, axon guidance, synaptogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. An underlying theme in all these processes is random diffusion of proteins confined or even directed by localization mechanisms, leading to cellular topography critical for neuronal functions. As it turned out, my own career path resembled random walk, influenced and sometimes directed by interactions with my students, postdocs, and colleagues.

Lynn Kiorpes Headshot

PRESIDENTIAL SPECIAL LECTURE - Limitations on Visual Development: Neurons and Behavior - Lynne Kiorpes

Speaker: Lynne Kiorpes, PhD
New York University
Date & Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Vision develops over many months in primate infants. The neural mechanisms that limit visual function are not fully understood. During development, neurons in visual cortex are more sensitive than would be expected based on visual behavior. Abnormal early experience creates a specific disorder-amblyopia-which permanently disrupts vision. Here also, the sensitivity of neurons in visual cortex exceeds behavior. This talk will describe neural limits on normal and abnormal postnatal visual development based on studies of brain and behavior in human and nonhuman primates.

Fransen Jensen headshot

PRESIDENTIAL SPECIAL LECTURE - Neurobiology of the Adolescent and Young Adult Brain Reveals Unique Strengths and Vulnerabilities: Debunking Myths - Frances E. Jensen

Speaker: Frances E Jensen, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Experimental and human evidence reveal that adolescence is a paradoxical state, with enhanced synaptic plasticity, yet incomplete myelination and regional connectivity. Full maturity is not reached until the third decade. Adolescent brain neuroscience impacts our understanding of patterns of onset of psychiatric illness, the long-term effects of exposure to substances of abuse and stress, and also explains their advantage in learning and memory and why they exhibit “signature” behaviors such as impulsivity, emotional liability, altered sleep cycle, and susceptibility to addiction.

Ann-Shyn Chiang headshot

PRESIDENTIAL SPECIAL LECTURE - Toward Whole-body Connectome in Drosophila - Ann-Shyn Chiang

Speaker: Ann-Shyn Chiang, PhD
National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
Support contributed by: Janssen Research & Development LLC
Date & Time: Monday, November 14, 2016 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Our brains receive information from sensory neurons about our external environment and internal organs. To understand how the brain processes information and initiates motor outputs, scientists are constructing complete wiring diagrams called “connectomes” that map all neural connections in the brain and body. Taking Drosophila melanogaster as an example, this lecture will address challenges in building whole-body connectomes and how that knowledge may help us better understand normal function and treat disease.

Sarah Woolley headshot

PRESIDENTIAL SPECIAL LECTURE - Tuning Auditory Circuits for Vocal Communication - Sarah M.N. Woolley

Speaker: Sarah M.N. Woolley, PhD
Columbia University
Support contributed by: Biogen
Date & Time: Saturday, November 12, 2016 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Social communication reflects the coordinated development of sensory and motor circuits around signals that convey information. The young brain, learning to communicate with hearing and voice, builds auditory and vocal motor circuits that are functionally coupled to perceive and produce similar signals. This lecture will describe progress made using songbirds to understand how species' identity dictates the capacities and limits of vocal learning, how early experience shapes auditory and vocal circuits, and how species and learning combine to map auditory tuning onto vocal acoustics.

Theme A: Development
Connie Cepko headshot

Lineage Analyses of Developing CNS Tissues - Connie Cepko

Speaker: Connie Cepko, PhD
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School
Date & Time: Saturday, November 12, 2016 2pm - 3:15pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Lineage analyses describe the progenitor: progeny relationships in developing tissue. Lineage data can rule in, or out, particular models of how a cell achieves its fate, as well as when some of the fate-determining events occur. Lineages can be most definitively tracked using clonal methods, as afforded by retroviral infection. The interpretability of lineage data is further strengthened when mapping is done from identified types of progenitor cells. Recent studies using such methods in the retina and telencephalon will be presented.

Yukiko Gotoh headshot

Regulation of Neural Stem Cell Fate During Development and in the Adult - Yukiko Gotoh

Speaker: Yukiko Gotoh, PhD
The University of Tokyo
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 8:30am - 9:45am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

This lecture will discuss how neocortical neural stem/progenitor cell (NPC) fate is regulated in a developmental stage-dependent manner. This lecture will also focus on the mechanisms underlying long-term maintenance of adult neural stem cells (NSCs), the differences between embryonic NPCs and adult NSCs, and the embryonic origin of adult NSCs.

Theme B: Neural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia
Massimo Scanziani headshot

Cortical Circuits of Vision - Massimo Scanziani

Speaker: Massimo Scanziani, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 1pm - 2:15pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

The diversity of neuron types and synaptic connectivity patterns in the cerebral cortex is astonishing. How this cellular and synaptic diversity contributes to cortical function is just beginning to emerge. Using the mouse visual system as an experimental model, this lecture will discuss the mechanisms by which excitatory and inhibitory interactions among distinct neuron types contribute to the most basic operations in visual cortex. This lecture will highlight how a functional and structural analysis of cortical circuits allows us to bridge the gap between system and cellular neuroscience.

Robert Edwards headshot

Quantal Release and Its Requirements - Robert Edwards

Speaker: Robert Edwards, MD
University of California, San Francisco
Date & Time: Monday, November 14, 2016 8:30am - 9:45am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Quantal release by exocytosis requires the transport of classical neurotransmitters into secretory vesicles. Vesicular transport activity thus defines the membranes, as well as the cells capable of transmitter release. However, the three families of vesicular transporters differ in ionic coupling. This lecture will discuss the biophysical properties of the transporters, the properties of secretory vesicles that influence their function, and the implications for synaptic transmission, including quantal size, non-vesicular efflux, synaptic vesicle pools and transmitter co-release.

Theme C: Neurodegenerative Disorders and Injury
Eliezer Masliah headshot

Capturing Immune Responses to Understand and Treat Neurodegenerative Disease - Eliezer Masliah

Speaker: Eliezer Masliah, MD
University of California, San Diego
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 1pm - 2:15pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Neurodegenerative disorders are characterized by progressive accumulation of proteins leading to cognitive impairment and movement disorders. A dysequilibrium in the rate of aggregation, clearance, and synthesis appears to play a key role. Moreover, recent studies have shown that prion-like propagation of proteins may contribute to neurodegeneration. Therefore, developing strategies to increase clearance and diminish prion-like propagation might be key to treating these disorders. Harnessing the power of the immune system by utilizing cellular and humoral immunization has been under development for the past several years. This lecture will provide a perspective on the recent progress and challenges of utilizing immunotherapy for neurodegenerative disorders.

Theme D: Sensory Systems
Martyn Goulding headshot

Genetic Dissection of Sensorimotor Circuits in the Spinal Cord - Martyn D. Goulding

Speaker: Martyn D Goulding, PhD
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 8:30am - 9:45am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Sensorimotor circuits in the spinal cord play essential roles in somatosensation and motor control. Studies defining the genetic programs controlling spinal cord development have opened up new avenues for exploring the cellular and functional organization of these circuits. This lecture will outline our current understanding of the spinal CPG circuits that control locomotion and the dorsal horn pathways that process and transmit cutaneous somatosensory modalities, highlighting the cutting-edge genetic and behavioral approaches that are being employed to map these circuits.


Postdiction and Perceptual Awareness - Shinsuke Shimojo

Speaker: Shinsuke Shimojo, PhD
California Institute of Technology
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 10am - 11:15am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

There are a few postdictive perceptual phenomena known where a stimulus presented later causally affects the percept of target presented earlier. While backward masking and apparent motion provide classical examples, the flash lag effect and its variations have stimulated theorists. The TMS-triggered scotoma and its “backward filling-in” offer a unique neurophysiological case. Findings suggest that various visual attributes are postdictively reorganized; its neural correlates (such as reentry) and implications to understand visual awareness and sense of agency will be discussed.

Theme E: Motor Systems
Silvia Arber Headshot

Circuits for Movement - Silvia Arber

Speaker: Silvia Arber, PhD
Biozentrum, University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute
Date & Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 1pm - 2:15pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Movement is the behavioral output of the nervous system. Animals carry out an enormous repertoire of distinct actions, spanning from seemingly simple repetitive tasks like walking, to more complex movements such as forelimb manipulation tasks. This lecture will focus on recent work elucidating the organization and function of neuronal circuits at the core of regulating distinct motor behaviors. It will show that dedicated circuit modules within different brainstem nuclei and their interactions in the motor system play key roles in action diversification.

Jack Feldman headshot

Understanding Mammalian Microcircuits: Let Inspiration Guide the Way - Jack L. Feldman

Speaker: Jack L Feldman, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles
Date & Time: Monday, November 14, 2016 11:30am - 12:45pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

More than 25 years since our discovery of the pre-Bötzinger Complex, the core of the circuit for breathing, the underlying mechanisms governing its dynamics remain elusive and are much more complex than we first thought. This lecture will address how novel emergent mechanisms, but not pacemakers, inhibition, or bursting, are likely to be critical and describe the roles the pre-BötC plays in regulation of body function, other movements, and emotion. The neural circuit controlling breathing is inimitably tractable and may inspire general strategies for elucidating other neural microcircuits.

Theme F: Integrative Physiology and Behavior
Leslie Vosshall headshot

Bitten: Understanding and Modulating Mosquito Attraction to Humans - Leslie B. Vosshall

Speaker: Leslie B Vosshall, PhD
Rockefeller University
Date & Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 8:30am - 9:45am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

By the act of feeding on our blood, female mosquitoes spread dangerous infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, zika, and yellow fever to humans. We attract mosquitoes via multiple sensory cues, including emitted body odor, body heat, and carbon dioxide in the breath. The mosquito perceives differences in these cues, both between and within species, to determine which animal or human to target for blood-feeding. This lecture will focus on the genes and circuits that drive this dangerous behavior and how it is modulated by the internal physiological state of the mosquito.

Richard Mooney headshot

From Song to Synapse: Vocal Communication in Sparrows, Finches, and Mice - Richard D. Mooney

Speaker: Richard D Mooney, PhD
Duke University
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 10am - 11:15am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

The interplay between hearing and vocalization is critical to vocal communication and vocal learning. Recent research using both songbirds and mice has provided keen insights into the neural circuits and mechanisms that mediate this sensorimotor interplay. This lecture will cover recent progress in understanding how auditory experience engages and shapes motor systems to enable vocal learning, how motor systems modulate hearing during vocalization and other movements, and the neural circuitry that produces vocalizations used for social communication.

Theme G: Motivation and Emotion
Yasmin Hurd Headshot

Translational Neuroepigenetic Insights of Addiction Vulnerability - Yasmin L. Hurd

Speaker: Yasmin L Hurd, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Date & Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 11:30am - 12:45pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Drug addiction involves complex interactions of dynamic processes that contribute to individual vulnerability from early stages of development and during different phases of life by linking genetic factors with environmental experiences. This lecture will focus on neurobiological insights recently gained about the molecular underpinnings of substance abuse (particularly cannabis and opiates) using multidisciplinary translational approaches in humans and animal models. The work presented will illuminate epigenetic mechanisms associated with addiction risk that extend even across generations.

Theme H: Cognition
Emery Brown headshot

CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE LECTURE - Deciphering the Dynamics of the Unconscious Brain Under General Anesthesia - Emery N. Brown

Speaker: Emery N Brown, MD, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 11:30am - 12:45pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

General anesthesia is a drug-induced reversible coma. A primary mechanism by which anesthetics induce altered states of arousal is by producing large, structured oscillations that impair communication among brain regions. This lecture will discuss the neurophysiology of these oscillations and how they change with drug and patient age. It will show new ways to control the anesthetic state and induce rapid emergence from anesthesia. Studying mechanisms of anesthesia is a largely untapped way of studying the brain.

Sarah Blakemore headshot

The Social Brain in Human Adolescence - Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Speaker: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, PhD
University College London
Date & Time: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 11:30am - 12:45pm
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Social cognitive processes involved in navigating an increasingly complex social world continue to develop throughout human adolescence. In the past 20 years, neuroscience research has shown that the human brain develops both structurally and functionally during adolescence. Areas of the social brain undergo significant reorganization during the second decade of life, which might reflect a sensitive period for adapting to the social environment.

Theme I: Techniques
Haruo Kasai headshot

Dendritic Spines Shaping Memory and Behaviors - Haruo Kasai

Speaker: Haruo Kasai, MD, PhD
Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
Date & Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 10am - 11:15am
Location: SDCC Ballroom 20
CME: 1.25

Spiny protrusions of dendrite, called dendritic spines, are the major postsynaptic sites for excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain. New studies indicate that spines act as memory elements, and do so by their structural plasticity. Such cell motility regulates functional connectivity, and enables Hebbian and reinforcement learning in the cortex and basal ganglia. Motility can be spontaneous, and such fluctuations may determine memory persistence and stabilize recurrently connected networks. Spine motility connects cell biology to mental functions and disorders.

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