Top Sessions to attend at SfN 2017

Top sessions to attend at SfN 2017

The Society for Neuroscience annual meeting is coming around fast. To help you make the most of your time at the biggest neuroscience conference of the year, we have created a list of some sessions that look particularly interesting.

We have included lectures, symposia, mini symposia, professional development workshops and poster sessions. To plan your personal itinerary, visit the Neuroscience Meeting Planner. We will be exhibiting our latest products at booth 2223. 


Presidential Special Lecture - Illuminating Neurobiology at the Nanoscale and Systems Scale by Imaging

Xiaowei Zhuang

November 12, 2017, 5:15–6:30 PM, Hall D

Imaging has helped to advance many areas of neurobiology. This lecture will describe super-resolution imaging methods that allow fluorescence imaging of cells and tissues with nanometre-scale resolution, as well as discoveries of novel cellular structures in neurons enabled by this approach. The lecture will also highlight a single-cell transcriptome imaging approach that allows the expression of thousands of genes to be profiled in situ in a spatially resolved manner, and the applications of this method to neurobiology studies.

Special Lecture - Molecular Architecture of the Circadian Clock in Mammals

Joseph Takahashi,

November 12, 2017, 8:30 – 9:40 AM, Hall D

Circadian rhythms are an adaptation to the cyclic environment on Earth. In animals, circadian behaviour can be analysed as an integrated system, beginning with genes and ultimately leading to behavioural outputs. The mechanism of circadian clocks in mammals is cell autonomous and generated by a set of genes forming a transcriptional autoregulatory feedback loop. The cellular autonomy of clocks has raised many questions concerning synchronization and coherence of rhythms at the cellular level as well as circadian organization at the systems level.

Special Lecture - Tools for Optically Monitoring Neural Activity and Signaling Pathways

Loren Looger

November 15, 2017, 8:30 – 9:40 AM, Hall D

This lecture will discuss recent progress in reagents for the study of neural circuit structure and function. Topics will include genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) like GCaMP; red GECIs like RCaMP and RGECO; and neurotransmitter sensors for glutamate (iGluSnFR), GABA, acetylcholine, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, etc. The lecture will also show reagents and techniques for connectomic mapping and sequencing, and construction of whole-brain atlases.

Peter and Patricia Gruber Lecture - Assembling Neural Circuits: Cells and Synapses

Joshua Sanes

November 12, 2017, 2:30–3:40 PM, Hall D

The retina is emerging as a leading model system for elucidating mechanisms that govern neural circuit assembly and function. Visual information is passed from retinal photoreceptors to interneurons to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and finally to the rest of the brain. Each of the more than 40 types of RGCs responds to specific visual features, and the features to which each RGC type responds depend on which of the more than 70 types of interneurons synapse on it. This lecture will describe genetic, morphological, and physiological studies that have led to identification of some molecules and mechanisms that underlie assembly of these circuits. The lecture will then discuss new molecular methods that are enabling a comprehensive cataloguing of neuronal cell types and the recognition molecules they use.


Impact of Zika Virus Infection in the Nervous System and Its Underlying Mechanisms

Chair: Guo-li Ming

November 13, 2017, 8:30 – 11 AM, Ballroom A

The World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on Feb. 1, 2016, due to a potential link between Zika virus and microcephaly and/or other neurological diseases. This symposium will discuss recent advances in our understanding of how Zika virus affects nervous system development and the underlying mechanisms that have been revealed using different model systems, including human fetal tissue, human pluripotent stem cell-derived organoids and neurospheres, and animal models.

Illuminating Neural Circuits: From Molecules to MRI

Chair: Jin Hyung Lee

November 15, 2017, 1:30 – 4:00 PM, Ballroom A

The symposium will introduce cutting-edge experimental approaches for visualizing and manipulating neural circuits, novel circuit mechanisms, the role of circuit defects in neurological disease, and therapeutic approaches aimed at manipulating circuit mechanisms. The goal is to better understand the role of neural circuits in normal brain function and how their impairment underlies neurological disease as well as to discuss emerging our ability to use this knowledge to develop therapeutics.

Experimental Models Versus Reality of Neurological Disease

Chair: Werner Paulus

November 15, 2017, 8:30 – 11:00 AM, Ballroom A

Experimental models of neurological disease are essential to better understanding pathomechanisms and to finding more effective treatments. Since models cannot reflect all aspects of human disease, they must be carefully selected, and results must be validated with human tissues. This symposium will outline the most recent neuropathological developments; discuss new models for Alzheimer´s disease, ALS/FTLD, prion disease, and stroke; and compare experimental models with real (human) disease.

Central Network Dynamics Regulating Visceral and Humoral Functions

Chair: Rita Valentino

November 11, 2017, 1:30 – 4:00 PM, Ballroom B

The brain regulates visceral and immune functions to maintain internal homeostasis, optimally respond to a dynamic external environment, and integrate these functions with ongoing behavior. Using urological, gastrointestinal, and immune systems as examples, this symposium will show how advances in circuit dissection and manipulation and neural recordings across networks linking viscera to cortical regions are revealing how the brain performs this complex integration.

Exciting New Tools and Technologies Emerging from the BRAIN Initiative

Chair: Joshua Gordon

November 14, 2017, 8:30 – 11:00 AM, Ballroom C

The BRAIN Initiative seeks to reveal how brain cells and circuits dynamically interact in time and space to shape our perceptions and behaviour. BRAIN investigators are accelerating the development and application of new tools and neurotechnologies to tackle these challenges. This symposium highlights advances that will enable exploration of how the brain records, stores, and processes vast amounts of information, shedding light on the complex links between brain function and behaviour.


Chair: Michela Fagiolini

November 11, 2017, 1:30 – 4:00 PM, Ballroom C

Neurodevelopmental disorders are often associated with aberrant sensory processing and epilepsy, yet the way such deficits contribute to the etiology of the disorders is unknown. This minisymposium will demonstrate how studies of selective central and peripheral neuronal circuits at the micro and macro levels allow a new understanding beyond single genes that can be exploited to design interventions and to establish biomarkers that can be translated from animal models to humans.

In Vivo Imaging of CNS Injury and Disease

Chair: Binhal Zheng

November 13, 2017, 1:30 – 4:00 PM, Ballroom C

In vivo optical imaging with advanced microscopy (e.g., multiphoton) has emerged as a powerful tool to study cellular responses to injury and disease in the mammalian CNS. Important new insight has been gained on axon degeneration and regeneration, glial responses, changes in the neurovascular unit, and neural transplants. This minisymposium will present recent advances in understanding the neuronal, glial, and other cellular responses to CNS injury and disease with in vivoimaging of the brain or spinal cord.

The Science of Storytelling and Storytelling in Science

Chair: Paula L. Croxson

November 12, 2017, 1:30 – 4:00 PM, 151B

Now, more than ever, it is essential that scientists actively engage with the public. Through storytelling, the use of a personal narrative to bring science to life, we can improve communication not only with the public, but also within the community, promoting better scientific progress. Through presentations about the science of storytelling, why and how to do it, and three powerful personal stories, this session aims to demonstrate how storytelling can transform science communication.

Neuroethology of Listening: Learning, Perception, and Preference in Female Songbirds

Chair: Leslie Phillmore

November 13, 2017, 1:30 – 4:00PM, 146A

Songbirds are a diverse order known for producing learned vocalizations. Young songbirds must learn from a tutor to produce species-typical vocalizations as adults. Early research on the neurobiology of song learning focused primarily on males, presumably because males of many species tend to sing more than the females. More recently, researchers have recognized the importance of females beyond response to male song. This symposium will highlight the neuroethology of new female songbird research.

Open-Source Hardware for Neuroscience Research

Chair: Alexxai Kravitz

November 13, 2017, 8:30 – 11:00 AM, 145B

Neuroscientists often invent new devices to further their experiments. In recent years, neuroscientists have published several open-source inventions that rival commercial solutions. In this minisymposium, attendees will learn from the creators of six open-source projects, including a head-mounted mini-microscope, a high-channel count electrophysiology system, multiple operant behavioral systems, and novel experiment control software, all of which are freely available to be built, used, and modified.

Professional Development Workshops

News You Can Use in Writing Grant Applications: Updates from NIH

Organiser: Bruce Reed

November 11, 2017, 12:00 – 2:00 PM, 207A

The premise of this workshop is that understanding current NIH policy and priorities is advantageous to grant applicants. Much has changed at NIH, including an emphasis on rigor and transparency that is now influencing scores in review; new policies on clinical trials; evolving scientific priorities at the Institutes; and new funding opportunities. In this workshop, senior representatives of CSR, NINDS, NIA, NIDA, and NIMH will highlight implications of these changes for neuroscience grant applications.

Poster sessions

Session 074 – Molecules and Circuits in Preclinical Models of Anxiety

November 11, 2017, 1:00 – 5:00 PM

74.08 / LL26 - Resting-state fMRI reveals dopamine receptor D2 polymorphism influence on cognitive function in older healthy adults.

Session 175 - Connectomics: Automatic Tracing Techniques

November 12, 2017, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

175.12 / UU64 - A platform for efficient identification of molecular phenotypes of brain-wide neural circuits.

Session 342 - Connectomics: Anatomical Techniques

November 13, 2017, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

342.03 / VV16 - Automated neuron tracing with deep learning and random sample consensus.

Session 652 – Autism: Synapses and Circuits

November 15, 2017, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

652.01 / B60 - Atypical postnatal development of feedback excitatory and local inhibitory circuits in layer I of prefrontal cortices in autism.

652.1 / C4 - Altered nucleus accumbens activity as a shared neural circuit defect for autism-related behaviours.

The full programme is now available here. For students or early career scientists, we've put together a list of the top 5 sessions to attend to help your career.

For more useful articles for Neuroscience 2017, why not check out our Washington DC restaurant guide and city information.

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