The Neuronal Cytoskeleton — Nexus for Signaling, Development, and Plasticity
Melissa Rolls, PhD
Pennsylvania State University
Co-Chair: Anthony J. Koleske, PhD
This symposium will showcase the cellular infrastructure that supports neuronal development, stability and plasticity. The neuronal cytoskeleton is exquisitely regulated to balance long-term structural maintenance with the ability to make and break connections and repair damage. Speakers will address key questions about cytoskeletal regulation in development, signaling, disease and injury using multiple experimental approaches in vertebrate and invertebrate neurons.
Beyond the Textbook — Novel Perspectives in Axonal Function and Plasticity
Alanna J. Watt, PhD
Co-Chair: Maren Engelhardt, PhD
Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University
When SfN formed 50 years ago, it was already known that axons propagate information in the form of action potentials across the nervous system. Although axonal impairment has long been known to be devastating for brain function in disease, until recently it was thought that axons showed minimal plasticity in healthy brains. This symposium will highlight recent advances in mechanisms controlling axonal function, how these mechanisms are plastic, and how axonal plasticity impacts brain function.
Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in Physiology and Pathophysiology of Nervous System
Yasunori Hayashi, MD, PhD
Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
Co-Chair: Mingjie Zhang, PhD
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Molecules within cells are segregated into functional domains to form various organelles. While some of these organelles are delimited by lipid membranes demarcating their constituents, others lack any membrane. Recently, liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has revolutionized our view of how segregation of macromolecules can form membrane-less organelles. This symposium will present data showing what role LLPS plays and how it can change views of the physiology and pathophysiology of the nervous system.
Emerging Roles of the Lysosome in Neurodegenerative Disease
Hui Zheng, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine
Co-Chair: Ralph Nixon, MD, PhD
Nathan S. Kline Institute
Emerging evidence demonstrates that lysosomes actively coordinate multiple cellular processes through their nutrient- and stress-sensing and nuclear-signaling abilities. Lysosome function declines with aging and contributes to the accumulation of pathological proteins in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. This symposium will address novel mechanisms regulating lysosome function and approaches that harness innate lysosomal sensing to promote toxic protein clearance.
New Insights Into the Neurobiology of Repeat Expansion Diseases
Henry L. Paulson, MD, PhD
University of Michigan
Over 40 neurological diseases are caused by repeat expansions, including Huntington’s disease, motor neuron disease, frontotemporal dementia and ataxia. Advances in genetics have outpaced our understanding of the underlying neurobiology, leading to a current lack of therapies for these fatal diseases. This symposium will review new insights into how expanded repeats perturb multi-level function of the nervous system and discuss how emerging knowledge is driving creative and novel treatment strategies.
Neuroscience of Sensing and Controlling Bladder Function
Margot S. Damaser, PhD
Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute
Co-Chair: Tyler Best, PhD
National Institute of Health
This symposium will describe the advances in understanding bladder afferent and efferent innervation, as well as emerging technologies that monitor bladder state. Discussions will highlight principles relating nerve activity patterns to organ state and function using novel engineered pressure, volume and nerve activity sensors. In addition, the identification of potential peripheral nerve targets and development of novel neuromodulation therapies for lower urinary tract dysfunction will be discussed.
Structural Basis of Sensation
Emily R. Liman, PhD
University of Southern California
Our sensory systems provide us with some of life’s greatest pleasures and, when they go awry, our most harrowing experiences. This symposium will explore some of the lesser-understood senses of touch, taste, and hearing. The speakers will describe the discovery and function of molecules that serve as sensory receptors or sensory transducers, including their clinical relevance.
Neurorehabilitation in the 21st Century — Managing Plasticity
Jonathan R. Wolpaw, MD
Stratton Veterans Administration Medical Center
Co-Chair: Aiko K. Thompson, PhD
Medical University of South Carolina
Neurorehabilitation, one of the most vibrant areas of neuroscience, has lacked a comprehensive strategy. This symposium will show how new basic science insights into the mechanisms that enable the healthy central nervous system to acquire and maintain all the skills that lead to the Negotiated Equilibrium Model, which provides a powerful strategy for initiating and guiding widespread beneficial plasticity. Speakers will review the science leading to the strategy, the exciting results of its first human trials, and computer modeling to develop new treatment protocols.
Spinal Interneurons and Neuroplasticity After Injury or Disease
Michael A. Lane, PhD
Drexel University College of Medicine
Co-Chair: Lyandysha V. Zholudeva, PhD
As interest in neuroplasticity increases and novel treatments are being developed to harness its potential, spinal interneurons have been identified as a key therapeutic target in the treatment of spinal cord injury and degenerative disease. This symposium will highlight our current understanding of spinal interneuron heterogeneity, their contribution to control and modulation of motor and sensory functions, how that role might change after traumatic spinal cord injury, and how treatments can be used to optimize their contribution to functional improvement.
Internal Brain States and the Dynamics of Behavior
Mala Murthy, PhD
Internal brain states are the evolving prism through which external information and inner goals shape animal behavior. This prism has been difficult to study because it cannot be observed from outward behavior alone. New work that leverages quantitative behavioral analysis, computational modeling, and population neural recordings is beginning to shed light on the nature of dynamic internal states. The four speakers are leaders in this research area and will share their latest findings.
Memory in the Light of Single Neuron Recordings in Humans
Ueli Rutishauser, PhD
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Co-Chair: Johannes Sarnthein, PhD
University Hospital of Zürich
Intracranial recordings from patients with epilepsy provide an unprecedented opportunity to study the human memory system at the level of individual neurons and networks thereof. This symposium will provide new insights into the building blocks of episodic memory (including concept cells); single-trial learning; the ways by which associations are encoded; the ways by which memories are retrieved and used for decisions; and the role of persistent activity in the medial temporal lobe in working memory.
Mitochondrial and Metabolic Substrates of Cellular, Circuit, and Complex Behavioral Responses to Stress
Ilia N. Karatsoreos, PhD
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Co-Chair: Gretchen N. Neigh, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
There is high mechanistic overlap between metabolic and behavioral dysfunction. This symposium will present data that demonstrate that altering metabolism via environmental manipulations changes neural circuits important in regulation of social behavior, mood, and cognition. Speakers will show how environmental stressors, which increase susceptibility to mood disorders, impact peripheral and neural metabolic processes at the cellular level. Particular focus will be placed on mitochondria as a neurometabolic hub.
Estrogens Across the Adult Female Lifespan — Rapid and Chronic Influences of Estrogens on Structural Plasticity, Memory, and Disease
Karyn M. Frick, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Estrogens influence neural function in critical ways throughout the adult female lifespan that can significantly impact cognition, affect, and recovery from brain injury. Of note, reproductive experience and age can drastically affect the response to estrogens. This symposium will review recent evidence that estradiol can act both rapidly and chronically to affect brain function, memory, and affective behaviors in young and aging female rodents.
Noncanonical Hippocampal Memory Circuits
Thomas J. McHugh, PhD
RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Memory research has long focused on the excitatory connections linking the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Recent work has begun to consider noncanonical circuits, including some long-ignored subcortical inputs and outputs, that have the ability to shape hippocampal function and bias circuit output. This symposium will highlight current work along these lines and touch on common motifs that shape memory.