15 eye-catching sessions at SfN14

15 eye-catching sessions at SfN14

The SfN annual meeting often comes around faster than expected. If you are attending but haven't planned every minute of what is sure to be a hectic conference then take a look at Scientifica's suggestions of lectures, symposia and events to attend.

These compliment the already extensive poster sessions, enhancing the meeting further.

Scientifica will be tweeting recommendations of posters to see at this year's conference throughout the event.


1. The Integration of Interneurons Into Cortical Circuits: Both Nurture and Nature

This presidential special lecture will look at recent evidence suggesting that sensory information complements established genetic programs to shape the way interneuronal subtypes integrate into nascent cortical circuits.

Presenter: Gordon J. Fishell, PhD, Now York University, Neuroscience Institute
Time: Sunday, Nov 16, 5:15 – 6:25 pm
Location: WCC Hall D

2. Circuits and Strategies for Skilled Motor Behavior

Thomas Jessell will show the functions of interneurons through two assigned feedback circuits in the mammalian spinal cord to analyse what is currently known about the strategies and mechanisms through which neural circuits direct motor behavior.

Presenter: Thomas M. Jessell, PhD, Columbia University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Time: Sunday, Nov 16, 2:30 – 3:40 pm
Location: WCC Hall D

3. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Explicit Learning in the Hippocampus

Long term potentiation (LTP) is currently the most compelling cellular model for learning and memory. Since its discovery, thousands of papers have been published on this phenomenon. In this talk the many layers of complexity are simplified in order to probe the core properties of LTP.

Presenter: Roger A. Nicoll, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Time: Monday, Nov 17, 3:15 – 4:25 pm
Location: WCC Hall D

4. How do you feel? The Role of Mechanically Activated Ion Channels in Touch, Pain, Hearing and Beyond

This lecture focuses on the identification and characterization of novel mechanically activated channels including Piezo1 and 2.

Presenter: Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, The Scripps Research Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Time: Tuesday, Nov 18, 11:30 am – 12:40 pm
Location: WCC Hall D

5. Surprising Origins of Sex Differences in the Brain

Genes, hormones, environment and experience all help establish brain sex differences. This talk reviews the cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating masculinisation to elucidate the biological origins of sex differences in the brain and behavior.

Presenter: Margaret M. McCarthy, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Time: Sunday, Nov 16, 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Location: WCC Hall D

6. What Drives Sleep – Wake Cycles: Identification of Molecules and Circuits in Drosophila

Research in Drosophila has led to the identification of mechanisms that generate a circadian clock and to some of the downstream circuitry required for circadian timing of behavior. It also highlights recent developments in identifying molecular components and cellular circuits that underlie its homeostatic regulation.

Presenter: Amita Sehgal, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Time: Sunday, Nov 16, 8:30 – 9:40 am
Location: WCC Hall D


1. More Than a Pore: Ion Channel Signalling Complexes

Ion channels often exhibit unexpected properties in vivo due to their interaction with a variety of signalling/scaffolding proteins. This symposium will explore the view that ion channels act as macromolecular complexes, the dysregulation of which may lead to a variety of nervous system disorders.

Chair: Amy Lee, PhD
Time: Tuesday, Nov 18, 1:30 - 4:00 PM
Location: WCC 151AB

2. Repairing and Piloting Neuronal Networks to Control Epilepsy

This symposium will examine two solutions to the failures of current antiepileptic drugs: repairing the circuitry and acting on demand when and where it is needed. After presenting general rules of seizure dynamics, the speakers will show how closed-loop systems can abort seizures with optogenetics and designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs.

Chair: Christophe Bernard, PhD
Co-Chair: Ivan Soltesz, PhD
Time: Monday, Nov 17, 1:30 – 4:00 pm
Location: WCC Bllrm A

3. Enhancing Reproducibility of Neuroscience Studies

The presentations in this symposium will summarize common causes of poor reproducibility, describe actions taken by NIH and journals to improve reliability, offer investigator perspectives, and address relevance for training.

Chair: Story Landis, PhD
Co-Chair: Thomas Insel, MD
Time: Sunday, Nov 16, 8:30 – 11:00 AM
Location: WCC Bllrm A

Workshops, Meetings and Events

1. Meet the Expert Series

These two sessions are a great opportunity to network with senior researchers involved in particular areas of study.

Session 1: John Donoghue, PhD (From Brain to BrainGate and Back: Moving Between Basic and Applied Neuroscience), Julie Fiez, PhD (Building a Program of Interdisciplinary Research That Bridges Neuroscience and Education,) Samer Hattar, PhD (Dogmas are There to be Broken: New Photoreceptors in Your Eye), Helen Mayberg, MD (Studying Human Neuropsychiatric Disease Circuits From a Therapy Perspective), Peter Strick, PhD (The Mind–Body Connection), Feng Zhang, PhD (Editing the Genome to Understand Genetic Contributions of Disease).

Session 2: Rui M. Costa, DVM, PhD (The Acting Brain), Diane Lipscombe, PhD (I Wanted to be a Detective but Discovered Neuroscience and Limitless Unsolved Mysteries), Mark Schnitzer, PhD (Large-Scale Optical Imaging of Ensemble Neural Activity in Freely Behaving Animals), Michal Schwartz, PhD (Breaking the Conceptual Walls Between the Brain and the Immune System: Implications for Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases), Kenton Swartz, PhD (Exploring Ion Channel Structures and Gating Mechanisms Using Tarantula Toxins).

Time: Saturday, Nov 15, Session 1 – 8:00 – 9:15 am, Session 2 – 9:30 – 10:45 am
Location: Renaissance Washington, DC: Meeting Rooms 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12

2. NIH Funding and You: A Practical Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Your Research Career

Panellists: Nancy Desmond, PhD; Michelle Jones London, PhD; Dennis Twombly, PhD; Alan Willard, PhD

This workshop will discuss factors that NIH staff have found to be important to the success of both training and grant writing. Funding opportunities will be discussed in the context of different issues that arise for different funding mechanisms that contribute to successful and unsuccessful applications.

Organiser: Stephen Korn, PhD
Time: Saturday, Nov 15, 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Location: WCC 207A

3. Successful Career Advancement Through Networking: Is It Who You Know?

Panellists: Kathleen Anderson, PhD; Joanne Berger-Sweeny, MPH, PhD; Liisa Galea, PhD; Matthew Hill, PhD; Benjamin Saunders, PhD

Organizers and speakers will present tips and advice for successful networking, as well as vignettes from their own careers about how networking has been key to their success. They will highlight different venues for networking (conferences, social media, intradepartmental, etc.).

Organiser: Mark Baxter, PhD
Time: Sunday, Nov 16, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Location: WCC 207B

4. How to Effectively Communicate Your Science to the Public

Panellists: Stuart Firestein, PhD; Tiffany Lohwater; Jane Nevins; Elaine Snell

This workshop will focus on how to write about science, speak publicly and deliver scientific presentations, including communications using various forms of social media.

Organiser: Scott Thompson, PhD
Time: Monday, Nov 17, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Location: WCC 207B

5. Teaching Neuroscience: Online Learning

Panellists: David Cox, PhD; Patricia Dinneen, MDE; Kristen Frenzel, PhD; Kurt R. Illig, PhD; Henry A. Lester, PhD; Samuel S. Wang, PhD

This teaching workshop will discuss the idea of "blended" or "hybrid" learning, where live classes and online instruction are combined. It will also look at two neuroscience MOOCs, and consider their place in the teaching ecosystem.

Organiser: Richard Olivo, PhD
Time: Monday, Nov 17, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Location: WCC 207A

6. Implications for Science Funding in an Era of Global Brain Initiatives

Panellists: Sarah J. Caddick, PhD; Miyoung Chun, PhD; William T. Newsome, PhD; Hideyuki Okano, MD, PhD

What are the implications of initiatives such as BRAIN and the Human Brain Project for the future of science funding? What effects may shifts in funding sources have on individual research projects, primary investigators, universities, businesses, and science as a whole?

Organiser: Abbe Young, MD, PhD
Time: Tuesday, Nov 18, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Location: WCC 201

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