Gumbo and The Brain: Neuroscience 2012

Neuroscience 2012 just wrapped up in New Orleans and as I look through all the presentations and literature that came out there are a number of papers and presentations that will demand greater attention and may find themselves here – if I can figure it out. Being among smart people talking about a field of expertise that isn’t the same as yours can make anyone feel dumb. OTOH, the gumbo was delicious.

I am not a neuroscientist but I managed to get free passes to the event. I took the trip to New Orleans more for fun than anything else. I did manage to attend some presentations that were of professional – a couple of interesting lectures on GCPRs, signalling and apoptosis – and personal interest (animal behaviour). I also attended some of the social gatherings which were pretty good. The descriptions given you an idea that these are fun, informal events.

Hippocampus Social
Chair: Michael E. Hasselmo
Guests: G. Buzsaki, L. Davachi, H. Eichenbaum,
L.M. Giocomo, J.J. Knierim, M.L. Shapiro, J.S. Taube, C.E. Stern

Come to this purely social event to encode new episodic memories of conversations with your friends and colleagues and retrieve amusing memories from your past collaborations

Pavlovian Society Social
Chair: Stephen Maren
Guests: J. LeDoux, M. Fanselow, S. Josselyn, P. Frankland

A purely social gathering to connect scientists interested in learning and behavior from a neurobiological perspective. All are welcome!

Cell Death Social
Chair: Jonathan Ham
Guests: B.D. Carter, M.J. Courtney, M. Deshmukh, S.R. D’Mello, J.L. Franklin, R.S. Freeman, L.A. Greene, D.R. Kaplan, F.D. Miller, B.A. Pierchala, J.H. Prehn, R.R. Ratan, M. Sendtner, C.M. Troy

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work …. I want to achieve it through not dying” – Woody Allen. Or maybe you could do both. Find out about the possibilities at the Cell Death Social, where you will be able to enjoy a drink with your colleagues and meet the international experts studying the mechanisms of cell death and survival in the nervous system, who will be coming from diverse points of origin ranging from: North Carolina to Finland, Ireland to Ontario and Manhattan to Upstate New York …. Meet old friends, make new ones, share jokes and discover what’s new in the field.

Ingestive Behavior Social
Chair: Barry E Levin;

What better way to practice what you preach than to join your fellow researchers in an evening of ingestion …beer, wine, hard stuff and snacks…when combined with conversations about your favorite scientific topic, Ingestive Behavior, its joys and consequences. Students, postdocs and established scientist are all welcome to this annual social event where you can meet neuroscientists from a broad range of disciplines to network, meet old friends, make new ones and establish future collaborations. Those in the market for jobs or looking for prospective job candidates will also find this a rewarding venue. The main goal is to enjoy the fruits of your labors and share your war stories with like-minded scientists at all levels.

Some\ of\ the\ More\ Interesting\ Presentations

In order of blog potential:

Inhibition of Fear by Learned Safety Signals
Chair: John P. Christianson, PhD

Safety signals are learned cues that predict the non-occurrence of an aversive event and are potent inhibitors of fear. Investigations of safety signal learning have increased over the last few years due in part to the finding that traumatized persons fail to utilize safety cues to inhibit fear. This minisymposium will present recent advances relating to the neural and behavioral mechanisms of safety learning and expression in rodents, non-human primates, and humans.

Integrative Approaches Utilizing Oxytocin To Enhance Prosocial Behavior: From Animal and Human Social Behavior to Autistic Social Dysfunction
Chair: Hidenori Yamasue, MD, PhD
Co-chair: Heike Tost, MD, PhD

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is as high as 1 in 100 and is a heavy burden on society. Thus, identifying the cause and treatment is imperative. To promote further study for developing the clinical use of oxytocin in treating autism, this minisymposium shares the newest findings on how oxytocin affects social behavior, the brain, and autistic social dysfunction at the molecular, gene, system, and behavior levels in varied subjects from animals to people with autism.

Breaking Dopamine Systems: A New GABA Master Structure for Mesolimbic and Nigrostriatal Functions
Chair: Michel Barrot, PhD

The tail of the ventral tegmental area (tVTA) or rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RM Tg) is a recently described brain region that is a major inhibitory control center for dopaminergic systems. This minisymposium highlights the functional impact of tVTA/RM Tg, illustrating its neuroanatomical connection with mesolimbic and nigrostriatal pathways, the control it exerts on them and on the physiological response to drugs of abuse, and the behavioral influence on reward prediction and inhibition of action.

The Reemergence of Schemas in Memory Research: From Encoding to
Reconsolidation
Chair: Marlieke T. van Kesteren, MSc
Co-chair: Richard N. Henson, PhD

This minisymposium will focus on the recent renewed interest in schemas within memory research on both animals and humans. It will shed light on the concept of schemas, their role in memory, and their neural correlates during encoding, (re)consolidation, and retrieval. By combining expertise from both lesions and neuroimaging, in both animal and humans, together with computational modeling, the speakers will pave the way for future research concerning schemas and memory.

The Neural Basis of Consciousness: Recent Advances and Breakthroughs
Chair: Naotsugu Tsuchiya, PhD
Co-chair: Alexander Maier, PhD

It remains puzzling how neuronal activity gives rise to the subjective qualities of consciousness. However, recent neuronal recordings and imaging studies have shed new light on the neural mechanisms of consciousness. The speakers will provide an update on the latest conceptual advancements and present their own findings. Topics range from measuring consciousness in the vegetative state to the relationship between attention and awareness to the neural mechanisms of volition.

T.C.: Thanks for the passes. Maybe forsaking academia for industry hasn’t turned you completely evil.

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5 thoughts on “Gumbo and The Brain: Neuroscience 2012

    • There are various animal models for autism. For example mice lacking Cntnap2 gene show many of the same traits found in the spectrum of autism, including self -injury, poor social skills and repetitive behaviour. Another example is mice with Scn1a+/− gene (ie. one copy) also show autistic-like behaviours. There are also animal models involving changes to gut microbiata, structure, immunity, virus infection and of course oxytocin..
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