Special Lectures

Special Lectures
Theme A: Development

Development and Reprogramming of Neuronal Diversity in the Central Nervous System - Paola Arlotta

Speaker: Paola Arlotta, PhD
Harvard University

Date & Time: Monday, October 19, 2015 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

The mammalian central nervous system (CNS) contains an unparalleled diversity of neuronal subtypes, which are largely generated during embryonic development and maintained unchanged in the adult. This lecture will cover progress made in understanding the regulatory, molecular logic that shapes neuronal diversity in the embryo, consider its importance for CNS assembly and function, and discuss recent evidence for the unexpected capacity of central neurons to post-mitotically “reprogram” their class-specific features.

Genetic Dissection of Neocortical Circuits - Z. Josh Huang

Speaker: Z. Josh Huang, PhD
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Date & Time: Sunday, October 18, 2015 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

The computational power of the neocortex emerges from a basic neural architectural plan rooted in the genome and conserved across species. Whereas a set of glutamatergic projection neurons constitute inter-areal processing streams and cortical output channels, diverse GABAergic interneuorns regulate the spatiotemporal configuration of neural ensembles. Systematic cell targeting and cell fate mapping provide entry points for integrating multiple approaches toward understanding the assembly and organization of cortical circuits. This lecture will discuss the progress and prospect on genetic targeting of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the mouse, focusing on the construction and function of a chandelier cell-pyramidal cell module.

The Genetic Logic of Synapse Formation and Axon Regeneration - Yishi Jin

Speaker: Yishi Jin, PhD
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California-San Diego

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

Genetic dissection in C. elegans has long been a powerful approach to discover the function of genes and to elucidate the molecular and cellular network underlying how synapses form and function. Recent technological innovation using laser surgery of single axons and in vivo imaging has also made C. elegans a new model for axon regeneration. Importantly, genes regulating synaptogenesis and axon regeneration are highly conserved in function across animal phyla. This lecture will focus on the key findings and discuss implications to human health.

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

From Spontaneous Neurotransmitter Release to Rapid Antidepressant Action - Ege T. Kavalali

Speaker: Ege T. Kavalali, PhD
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Date & Time: Sunday, October 18, 2015 10am - 11:10am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

Recent studies report a key role for spontaneous neurotransmission in regulation of synaptic plasticity, homeostasis, and behavior such as rapid antidepressant responses. There is also increasing evidence that the presynaptic basis of spontaneous neurotransmitter release events and their postsynaptic targets are segregated from those of evoked release, suggesting an autonomous role for spontaneous neurotransmission in neuronal signaling. This presentation will discuss these recent studies on the mechanisms and functions of spontaneous neurotransmitter release.

Inhibition and Excitation in the Cerebellar Nuclei - Indira M. Raman

Speaker: Indira M. Raman, PhD
Northwestern University

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 1pm - 2:10pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

Neurons in the cerebellar nuclei integrate high-frequency inhibition from convergent Purkinje cells with excitation from diverse mossy fibers to generate cerebellar outputs that lead to regulation of precise motor behaviors. This lecture will include a discussion of the synaptic and cellular specializations of Purkinje neurons, mossy fibers, and neurons of the cerebellar nuclei that contribute to information coding by the cerebellum in mice.

Strange Synapses and Circuits of the Basal Ganglia - Bernardo Sabatini

Speaker: Bernardo Sabatini, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

The basal ganglia are a phylogenetically old and evolutionarily conserved set of nuclei crucial for goal-oriented motor action. Nevertheless, many aspects of their circuitry, function, and regulation remain mysterious. Sabatini will present recent work from his group revealing complex and unexpected interactions between nuclei of the basal ganglia. These include the surprisingly widespread use of multiple fast acting neurotransmitters by neuromodulatory systems. The results will be discussed in terms of action initiation and reinforcement.

Theme C: Disorders of the Nervous System

Clinical Neuroscience Lecture: Neurotrophin Signaling and Epileptogenesis: Mechanistic and Therapeutic Insights - James O. McNamara

Speaker: James O. McNamara, MD
Duke University Medical Center

Date & Time: Sunday, October 18, 2015 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

The lack of preventive treatments for common diseases of the nervous system is a glaring unmet medical need. Temporal lobe epilepsy is a common and devastating disease. An episode of prolonged seizures in an otherwise healthy individual is thought to cause severe temporal lobe epilepsy emerging years later. Recent discoveries have identified targets and therapies to prevent this disease in experimental animals. This presentation will review these discoveries and focus on the causal role of excessive neurotrophin signaling in development of temporal lobe epilepsy.

Striatal Synaptic Dysfunction in Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases - D. James Surmeier

Speaker: D. James Surmeier, PhD
Northwestern University Medical School

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 10am - 11:10am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

Traditional models of basal ganglia disorders are grounded in the assumption that network dysfunction is driven by alterations in intrinsic excitability of striatal neurons. Recent work has challenged this assumption, showing that mouse models of Parkinson's disease have profound cell-specific alterations in striatal synaptic strength and connectivity. Cell-specific synaptic dysfunction also is being found in mouse models of Huntington's disease. This talk will summarize this work and link it to the motor symptoms of these two diseases.

Theme D: Sensory and Motor Systems

Cortical Control of Arm Movements: A Dynamical Systems Perspective - Krishna V. Shenoy

Speaker: Krishna V. Shenoy, PhD
Stanford University

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

Investigating the neural control of arm movements has involved, primarily, either attempts to account for single-neuron responses in terms of tuning for movement parameters or attempts to decode movement parameters from populations of tuned neurons. These have led to many seminal advances but have not produced an agreed-upon conceptual framework. This lecture will review how a dynamical systems perspective may help researchers understand why motor cortical activity evolves the way it does, how it relates to movement parameters, and how a unified conceptual framework may result.

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

Global Positioning System Mechanisms of Migrating Monarch Butterflies - Steven M. Reppert

Speaker: Steven M. Reppert, MD
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Date & Time: Monday, October 19, 2015 8:30am - 9:40am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

This lecture will focus on the navigational mechanisms exploited by eastern North American monarch butterflies during their iconic fall migration. This includes use of a time-compensated sun compass and of a light-dependent inclination magnetic compass. Genomic and genetic strategies have been developed to define the genetic underpinning of the migration. The monarch butterfly has emerged as a model system to study the neural, molecular, and genetic basis of long-distance animal migration.

Neurocircuitry Controlling Feeding and Drinking Behaviors in Mice - Richard Palmiter

Speaker: Richard Palmiter, PhD
University of Washington

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1pm - 2:10pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

The development of genetic, viral, and optical technologies has revolutionized approaches for dissecting neuronal circuits that control basic behaviors and physiological process, including ingestion. Selective activation of specific neurons stimulates robust feeding or drinking, while activation of other neurons inhibits feeding or drinking. Deciphering the neuronal circuits engaged by these manipulations and the molecular phenotype of neurons involved is an ongoing endeavor.

Theme F: Cognition and Behavior

A Causal Analysis of the Attentional Network - Robert Desimone

Speaker: Robert Desimone, PhD
McGovern Inst Brain Res at MIT

Date & Time: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 11:30am - 12:40pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

The most behaviorally-relevant stimuli in scenes are selected for processing and control over behavior (“attention”). The effects of selection are widespread, making it difficult to distinguish cause from effect in the attentional network. However, the flow of control can be inferred through the analysis of timing and the use of “causal” methods such as pharmacological inactivation and optogenetics to establish the impact of one circuit on another. This lecture will explore the emerging new insights into the biological mechanism of attention.

Making, Breaking, and Linking Engrams - Sheena A. Josselyn

Speaker: Sheena A. Josselyn, PhD
Hospital for Sick Children

Date & Time: Saturday, October 17, 2015 2pm - 3:10pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

A fundamental goal of neuroscience is to understand how information is encoded, stored, linked, and used in the brain. The physical or functional representation of a memory (the memory trace or “engram”) is thought to be sparsely encoded over a distributed memory network. However, identifying the precise neurons that make up a given engram has challenged scientists since Karl Lashley conceded defeat in his “search for the engram” in 1950. This lecture will discuss new insights into how engrams are formed, linked, and used.

Uncertainty, Choice, and Dopamine - Stan B. Floresco

Speaker: Stan B. Floresco, PhD
University of British Columbia

Date & Time: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 10am - 11:10am
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

We routinely evaluate choices where decisions and actions may or may not yield different types of rewards. These situations trigger competitive decision biases that reflect interplay between different prefrontal cortical, amygdalar, striatal, and habenular nodes within dopaminergic circuitry. This lecture will discuss some of the interactions between these circuits that shape decision biases and underlie conflicting urges when evaluating options that vary in terms of potential risks and rewards.

Theme G: Novel Methods and Technology Development

Nanoscopy with Focused Light: Principles and Applications - Stefan W. Hell

Speaker: Stefan W. Hell, PhD
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Date & Time: Sunday, October 18, 2015 1pm - 2:10pm
Location: Hall B1
CME: 1.25

Throughout the 20th century it was well accepted that lens-based light microscopy cannot discern details that are finer than half the wavelength of light (>200 nm). However, in the 1990s, it was discovered that this barrier can be effectively overcome such that fluorescent features can be resolved virtually down to molecular dimensions. This lecture will discuss the simple yet powerful physical principles that allowed researchers to overcome the diffraction limit with a special emphasis on STED and RESOLFT microscopy relating these "nanoscopy" techniques to the neurosciences.