Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior Visualizing and controlling circuits that generate emotional behavior Day1-PM, 21 September
OrganizerMazen Kheirbek (University of California, San Francisco, USA)
SpeakersMazen Kheirbek (University of California, San Francisco, USA), Paul Frankland (Hospital for Sick Children, Canada), Anatol Kreitzer (Gladstone Institutes, USA), Denise Cai (Mount Sinai, USA), Anna Beyeler (University of Bordeaux, INSERM, France)
The past fifty years has seen significant progress in elucidating the brain regions that control fear, anxiety and avoidance behaviors. This work has implicated an extended network of interconnected brain regions, local circuit computations, and cell types that interact to generate emotional behaviors. Recent technological breakthroughs in neuroscience, such as the ability to record and control large populations of genetically defined neuronal elements, have shed new light on how emotional behaviors are encoded, learned and generated in the brain. However, our understanding remains incomplete, and central questions remain as to how discrete circuits control specific behaviors, and how these circuits become disrupted in psychiatric illness. In this symposium, we bring together 5 outstanding researchers at different stages of their careers that have approached these questions from different directions. The chair, Dr. Mazen Kheirbek, an assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco, has a long-standing interest in the circuits that generate fear and anxiety-related behavior, recently having identified a novel pathway linking the ventral hippocampus with the hypothalamus in the control of anxiety. The first speaker, Dr. Anna Beyeler is team leader at the Bordeaux Neurocampus in France, whose work focuses on functional heterogeneity of amygdala projection neurons. She will present work aimed at understanding the contribution of different, projection-defined, BLA neurons in the control of appetitive and aversive learning, dissociating those that project to the nucleus accumbens, central nucleus of the amygdala and hippocampus. The second speaker, Dr. Paul Frankland, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children and Professor at the University of Toronto in Canada is a leader in the learning and memory field. He will present work identifying and manipulating a brain-wide fear memory trace, with some novel findings revealing the generation of a fear memory in the absence of experience. The third speaker, Dr. Denise Cai, an assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York, USA, is an emerging leader in the field of neural encoding, and will present work revealing how fear memories that occur close in time may be allocated to the same memory trace. The last speaker, Dr. Anatol Kreitzer, a Senior Investigator at the Gladstone Institute at the University of California San Francisco, is a leader in the field of plasticity and behavior. He will present new work from his lab identifying a novel pathway linking the amygdala and the brainstem to control rapid avoidance behavior. The diverse expertise and background of the speakers will expose attendees to the wide range of questions, techniques and approaches employed for studying emotionally relevant behaviors. By bringing together multiple viewpoints and approaches, attendees will leave this symposium with a more holistic understanding of the extended, cross scale interactions that generate adaptive emotional behaviors.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDevelopment Intracellular and intercellular signaling in cortical cell fate control Day1-PM, 21 September
SpeakersFumio Matsuzaki (RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, Japan), Debra Silver (Duke University Medical Center, USA), Carina Hanashima (Waseda University, Japan), Laurent Nguyen (University of Liège, Belgium)
The assembly of the neocortical circuit is a highly dynamic process that involves multiple regulatory steps from cell proliferation to neuronal network formation. During this process, genetic program and environmental signals are key regulators in creating a large repertoire of neurons, each of which establish specific connections to form an elaborate cortical network. Developmentally, cortical neurons are generated from a restricted pool of progenitor cells that switch their mode from symmetric to asymmetric division, and subsequently undergo changes in temporal gene expression to acquire distinct neuronal identity. These neurons then migrate towards their final destination and serve as environmental cues themselves; however how intrinsic and extrinsic signaling cooperate in regulating cell fate remains largely elusive. In this symposium, we gather a group of international scientists that have made breakthrough in our understanding of the synergistic action between cell intrinsic program and extracellular environment that regulate various fate decisions in the neocortex. In particular, we focus on the dynamics of transcriptional and cytoskeletal network that set the competence of cells to respond to extracellular cues and convey intracellular signaling, as well post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that coordinate gene expression to form functional neocortical circuit. Discussing the emerging molecular machinery that underlie cell fate decisions will create a new paradigm for the development, pathology and evolution of the cerebral cortex.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDisorders of the nervous system Autism spectrum disorders: From mechanism to novel treatment Day1-PM, 21 September
OrganizerMauro Costa-Mattioli (Baylor College of Medicine, USA)
SpeakersMauro Costa-Mattioli (Baylor College of Medicine, USA), Noriko Osumi (Tohoku University, Japan), Yong-Seok Lee (Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of), Chan Young Shin (Konkuk University, Korea, Republic of)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by behavioral abnormalities including atypical social behavior and highly restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. Genetics and the environment, and their interactions, are suspected to cause ASD. Currently, however, we are far from understanding how genetic and environmental factors alter brain development and function. Moreover, despite the significant increase in its incidence, there are no medications that can cure ASD or treat the core symptoms. Thus, the development of novel treatment strategies is of crucial importance.
In this session, we will bring together a group of world-renowned and young scientists with a large variety of expertise that will present their most recent ongoing studies and are developing possible novel treatments for ASD and associated disorders. Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli (Baylor College of Medicine, USA) will chair the session and present his new work on how microbes in the gut modulate social behaviors and related changes in synaptic functions. Dr. Noriko Osumi (Tohoku University, Japan) will talk about paternal aging, an important non-genetic risk factor associated with ASD. Dr. Yong-Seok Lee (Seoul National University, South Korea) will present his state-of-the-art work related to circuit level studies of mouse models of ASD. Finally, Dr. Chan Young Shin (Konkuk University, South Korea) will describe his studies on excitatory/inhibitory imbalance in ASD and efforts to develop treatments for ASD and ADHD.
Attendees of this symposium will gain first-hand exposure to the broad spectrum of research on genetic and environmental interactions, ranging from molecular/genetic to microbial interventions to synaptic plasticity, to circuit level of analysis, to behavioral studies. This session will be of interest to those interested in neurodevelopmental disorders, ASD, synaptic plasticity, gene-environment interactions, brain circuits, gut-brain-axis, translational medicine and the population at large.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeGlia, glia-neuron interactions Astrocytes in health and disease Day1-PM, 21 September
OrganizerTian-Ming Gao (Southern Medical University, China)
SpeakersJunichi Nabekura (National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan), Changjoon Justin Lee (Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, Republic of), Alfonso Araque (University of Minnesota, USA), Christian Giaume (Collège de France, France), Tian-Ming Gao (Southern Medical University, China)
Although initially regarded as passive support cells for neurons, astrocytes are now widely acknowledged as active players in information integration and processing. Astrocytes, forming a syncytial network through gap junctions, sense the neuronal activities and in turn, actively modulate neuronal functions. Recent studies further show that astroglial pathology underlies the pathophysiology of many neurological diseases such as major depression and pain. Thus, in this symposium, we would discuss recent discoveries about how astrocytes communicate with themselves and with neurons both in physiological and pathological conditions.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeNew technology - Neurotool New technologies for visualizing and controlling the brain functions Day1-PM, 21 September
OrganizerWon Do Heo (KAIST, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersAtsushi Miyawaki (RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics, Japan), Yulong Li (Peking University, China), Robert E. Campbell (University of Alberta, Canada), Won Do Heo (KAIST, Korea, Republic of)
The development of imaging techniques to analyze neuronal regulatory events have led to a rapid enhancement in our understanding of complex brain functions at the molecular, cellular and systems levels. Scientists have continuously developed novel imaging tools to trace dynamic changes in brain functions and dysfunctions and meet the various demands of neurological studies. In parallel, optogenetic technologies have changed neuroscience research by providing new ways to control and analyze the brain functions in a spatiotemporal manner. In this session, four speakers will present latest imaging technologies and next-generation optogenetic technologies to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms to understand complex brain functions.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior Neurobiological bases of memory updating: Brain mechanisms and clinical application Day2-AM, 22 September
OrganizerLucas De Oliveira Alvares (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
SpeakersKarim Nader (McGill University, Canada), Satoshi Kida (Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan), Lucas De Oliveira Alvares (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), Daniela Schiller (Mount Sinai, USA)
The ability to update old memories in accordance with new experiences is crucial to maintain the previously acquired memories relevant overtime. Several studies in the last decades have shown that memory retrieval induces a labile state, allowing changes in its strength and/or content by a process called reconsolidation. Beyond Besides the biological role of memory reconsolidation in memory updating, it also opens a window of opportunities as a potential therapeutic strategy to modify pathological memories. In fact, the information loaded with a strong emotional component is at the core of many psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and drug addiction.
This symposium will highlight recent advances in our understanding of memory updating through reconsolidation, presenting both neurobiological findings and therapeutical implications.
The invited speakers are among the most prominent researchers in the field, and will discuss their recent findings on distinct, but complementary perspectives, from molecular to behavior levels in both rodents and humans. First, Prof. Karim Nader will provide an overview of the field and will show his latest data regarding the limits of memory flexibility and its mechanisms. Then, Prof. Satoshi Kida will discuss the molecular and cellular bases of memory updating. Prof. Lucas de Oliviera Alvares will highlight a novel and promising approach called ""deconditioning"", in which fear conditioned animals permanently and efficiently erase the previously acquired fear memory by ""rewriting"" the original aversive information. Last, Prof. Daniela Schiller will present the potential clinical applications of memory updating through reconsolidation in humans.
These researchers have significantly contributed to the development of this field by publishing high impact articles in renowned journals in the last few years (such as Nature, Cell, Nature Neuroscience, PNAS, Neuron, and Journal of Neuroscience).
We believe that bringing together the most recent findings from these diversified laboratories will provide a unique perspective about the neurobiological bases of fear memory updating, and open new avenues to the development of treatments for disorders associated with exacerbated memories.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDevelopment Mechanical factors in brain development Day2-AM, 22 September
OrganizerYoichi Kosodo (Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI), Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersKristian Franze (University of Cambridge, UK), Yoichi Kosodo (Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI), Korea, Republic of), Ellen Kuhl (Stanford University, USA)
During brain development, both intrinsic and extrinsic factors coordinately regulate the generation of neural and glial cells, differentiation, migration, and circuit formation. Amongst the extrinsic factors, emerging evidence manifests that physical factors in brain tissue such as stiffness and tension control several aspects of brain formation. It is largely owing to recent technological advances enabling the direct measurement of physical properties of living tissue, reconstitution assay systems by nano-material technologies, and computational modeling strategies. By combining such interdisciplinary approaches, researchers start to uncover the mechanisms and functions of physical factors in brain development.
Considering the fast growth of this research field, it would be an ideal timing to hold a session focused on mechanical factors in brain development at the IBRO Congress. Three speakers, who have been continuously making key contributions to the field, have already agreed to join the session.
#1 Kristian Franze (Univ of Cambridge)
#2 Yoichi Kosodo (Korea Brain Research Institute)
#3 Ellen Kuhl (Stanford Univ)
Notably, the speakers above have explored the research field independently of each other so far. Speaker #1 has clarified mechanisms how neurons and glial cells respond to mechanical factors in tissue by developing unique methodologies to study in vivo mechanobiology. He has shown critical roles of tissue stiffness for axonal elongation in the developing brain (Koser et al, 2016Nature Neurosci) and tensile strength provided by Muller glia in the retina (MacDonald et al, 2015JCB). Speaker #2 has been working to clarify how local mechanics in brain tissue affect to differentiation and behaviors of neural cells including progenitors. He has identified that interkinetic nuclear migration of neural progenitor is regulated by active and passive displacement (Kosodo et al, 2011EMBO J), and that stiffness of the developing mouse brain shifts in a spatiotemporal-dependent manner (Iwashita et al, 2014Development). Speaker #3 is a world-leading expert of theoretical modeling of living matter physics. Her recent work has successfully shed light on how human brain formation is controlled and how cortical malformations can occur from the view of biomechanics (Budday et al, 2014J Mech Phys Solids; Budday et al, 2014Sci Rep).
Several publications from the speakers above have been considered as “mile-stone works” and, as a consequence, intensively cited by other researchers to date. Not only the scientific excellence of the speakers, but also a balanced geographic (#1 Europa, #2 Asia, and #3 U.S.) and gender distribution (#1 and 2, male; #3, female) certainly fulfill the IBRO symposium preferences.
Taken together, the symposium proposed here will surely present the current overview and future directions of the quickly expanding research field in brain development, which will bring prominent benefits to IBRO Congress attendances.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDisorders of the nervous system Frontiers in neuropsychopharmacology of reward and pain Day2-AM, 22 September
OrganizerKazutaka Ikeda (Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Japan)
Co-chairAnthony Phillips (University of British Columbia, Canada)
SpeakersAnthony Phillips (University of British Columbia, Canada), Doo-Sup Choi (Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, USA), Lih-Chu Chiou (National Taiwan University, Taiwan, China), Lawrence Toll (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Kazutaka Ikeda (Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Japan)
Reward and pain are important factors in decision making. Humans and animals select specific behaviors in order to obtain or increase reward and avoid or reduce pain. Reward and pain are produced in the nervous system mainly via activity in relevant neurotransmitter systems. Certain aspects of neurotransmission are common in reward and pain while others are specific to each of them. Although mechanisms underlying reward and pain have been extensively investigated for many years, challenges remain in understanding the regulation of reward and pain and in the treatment of patients with substance use disorders and those experiencing chronic pain, especially neuropathic pain. In the present symposium, recent cutting-edge findings about mechanisms underlying reward and pain will be introduced by five experts. First, Anthony Phillips introduces the dopamine and glutamate systems in the reward system and overviews the possibilities of development of new therapies for substance use related disorders. Second, Doo- Sup Choi shows involvement of purinergic systems in the reward system. Third, Lih-Chu Chiou demonstrates the orexin-initiated endocannabinoid cascade shared by stress-induced analgesia and stress-induced cocaine relapse. Forth, Lawrence Toll talks about the opioid system which is commonly involved in reward and pain. Finally, Kazutaka Ikeda will show genetic mechanisms underlying individual differences in opioid sensitivity and vulnerability to substance use related disorders. Perspectives and future directions in this research field will be discussed with speakers and audience.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeGlia, glia-neuron interactions Glial regulation of brain physiology and pathology Day2-AM, 22 September
OrganizerKyoungho Suk (Kyungpook National University, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersShumin Duan (Zhejiang University, China), Schuichi Koizumi (University of Yamanashi, Japan), Won-Suk Chung (KAIST, Korea, Republic of), Hoon Ryu (Boston University School of Medicine, USA)
Emerging evidence indicates that glia play essential roles for well-being and well-function of intact and injured brain. Thus, it is important to figure out how glia regulate brain physiology, and how alteration and/or loss of glia functions are linked to brain diseases.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: neuronal excitability and synapse function Recent excitements about excitatory synapses Day2-AM, 22 September
OrganizerMichisuke Yuzaki (Keio University School of Medicine, Japan)
SpeakersGuoqiang Bi (University of Science and Technology of China, China), Jaewon Ko (DGIST, Korea, Republic of), Joris de Wit (KU Leuven, Belgium), Michisuke Yuzaki (Keio University School of Medicine, Japan)
Glutamatergic synapses represent the primary fast excitatory connections that link principal neurons in all brain areas into circuits in the mammalian CNS. They are not only formed according to the genetic codes, but also undergo profound plastic changes in structure and function throughout life. Recent MRI-based imaging studies have indicated that psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders are dysconnection syndromes, in which neural connectivity is disrupted. Thus, it is crucial to understand the molecular mechanisms by which glutamatergic synapses are formed, maintained and modified. In this symposium, we would like to discuss this issue by various approaches taken by four leading speakers.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior Mechanism of memory engram Day2-PM, 22 September
OrganizerJin-Hee Han (KAIST, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersSheena Josselyn (University of Toronto, Canada), Alcino Silva (University of California at Los Angeles, USA), Naoki Matsuo (Osaka University, Japan), Jin-Hee Han (KAIST, Korea, Republic of)
The purpose of this session is to introduce and discuss the recent advances in our understanding of memory engram. This session will cover the mechanism of memory allocation and engram dynamics. The researchers who have been actively studying memory allocation and engram dynamics and published a research paper related with those issues were invited as a speaker to the session.
Where and how memory is encoded and stored in the brain is a key question in neuroscience. There has been a huge interest in identifying memory engram and its dynamics and the mechanisms underlying memory allocation to specific subset of neurons and synapses. The talk in this session will provide research data that address such important questions.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeGlia, glia-neuron interactions Ionic transporters in microglia, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes as putative druggable targets in neurological disorders Day2-PM, 22 September
OrganizerLucio Annunziato (University of Naples, Italy)
SpeakersLucio Annunziato (University of Naples, Italy), Mami Noda (Kyushu University, Japan), Dandan Sun (University of Pittsburgh, USA), Alexej Verkhratsky (The University of Manchester, UK)
The role of ionic transporters in microglia, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes has recently been highlighted in several studies. In particular, it has been reported that by targeting these transporters it is possible to modulate regenerative processes occurring after stroke and other neurodegenerative disorders. Aim of the symposium is to unravel new targets expressed on glia cells in the attempt to explore new strategies of interventions in neurological disorders.
Glial cells constitute the large majority of cells in the nervous system and account for about 90% of all cells in the human brain. During recent years, a large number of studies have critically attributed to glia a new role which no longer reflects the long-held view that glia constitute solely a silent and passive supportive scaffolding for brain cells. Indeed, it has been hypothesized that glia, partnering neurons, have a much more actively participating role in brain function. Alteration of ionic homeostasis in glial derived cells in response to neurological disorders plays a crucial role in inducing and maintaining glial responses in the brain. Therefore, glial transporters as potential candidates in neurological intervention are becoming promising targets to enhance effective and additional therapies.
In the last years, the development of neuroprotective strategies failed mainly because of the exclusively focus on neurons as target. Recently, it has been hypothesized that glia, partnering neurons, have an active role in brain function. Indeed, alteration of intraglial ionic homeostasis plays a crucial role in inducing and maintaining glial responses in neurological disorders. Therefore, there is now a need for the knowledge of glial transporters as potential druggable target in CNS diseases.
In consideration of the wide pathophysiological roles played by these ionic channels and transporters it is expected a broad attendance by all researchers interested in non-glutamate control of ionic homeostasis. Therefore, neurobiologists, neurophysiologists, neuropathologists, neuropharmacologists and neurologists working in this field will have a strong feedback from the discussion on the role played by these ionic channels and antiporters
The crucial participation of ionic channels and transporters expressed on glial cells in the maintenance of Na+, Ca2+, and K+ homeostasis will be clinically relevant for understanding the pathophysiology of stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Multiple Sclerosis, neurological disorders in which these ionic channels and transporters have been involved.
The present symposium plenty satisfies the geographical and gender balance criteria as: 1. Two of the four symposium speakers are women; 2. The four speakers represent 4 different countries localized in Europa, America and Asia.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: neuronal excitability and synapse function New molecular insights into the synaptic tagging and capture hypothesis Day2-PM, 22 September
OrganizerTed Abel (University of Iowa, USA)
SpeakersRosalina Fonseca (NOVA Medical School, Portugal), Tomonori Takeuchi (Aarhus University, Denmark), Alan Jung Park (Columbia University, USA), Sreedharan Sajikumar (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
The synaptic tagging and capture hypothesis has provided an elegant framework for understanding plasticity mechanisms that mediate crosstalk between stimuli occurring within a temporal window. Furthermore, it has challenged neuroscientists to decipher the specific molecular events involved in this intricate process, and to define the relevance of this metaplasticity mechanism to memory. This symposium highlights major advances on both these fronts that have heightened interest in this field. Although the general outlines of the classical synaptic tagging and capture hypothesis are well known to a broad range of cellular and behavioral neuroscientists, it has two important limitations. First, many of the molecular mechanisms underlying this form of metaplasticity are still unclear or controversial. Second, it has been difficult to obtain compelling evidence that this in vitro plasticity mechanism is relevant to memory in vivo. Recent studies have yielded major new advances in both these areas, making a symposium on this topic especially timely. The topics being addressed by the four speakers are complementary making for a cohesive symposium. Dr. Fonseca will discuss her studies identifying the key role of actin polymerization/de-polymerization in structural changes underlying the “tag”. Dr. Baraban will present novel findings implicating the microRNA system in regulating translation of plasticity-related proteins. Dr. Sajikumar will discuss his recent, unpublished studies demonstrating how sleep deprivation produces defects in the synaptic tagging and capture process that underlie memory impairment. In addition, Dr. Takeuchi will present his groundbreaking studies indicating that the locus coeruleus, a canonical noradrenergic system, influences hippocampal plasticity underlying memory by a highly unexpected mechanism, release of dopamine. Accordingly, each of the presentations will focus on novel aspects of the synaptic tagging and capture hypothesis and will provide many opportunities for interaction among the speakers.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDisorders of the nervous system Mouse models of neuropsychiatric disorders: Integrative analyses from genes to circuits Day2-PM, 22 September
OrganizerJa-Hyun Baik (Korea University, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersCynthia L Smith (The Jackson Laboratory, USA), Akihiro Yamanaka (Nagoya University, Japan), Joung-Hun Kim (Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Korea, Republic of), Ja-Hyun Baik (Korea University, Korea, Republic of)
Understanding the pathogenesis and pathology of neuropsychiatric disorders, which are now major burdens on our society, is a major challenge in neuroscience of today. Analysis of mechanisms underlying behavioral disorders in these diseases has benefited from the recent progress in generation of sophisticated mouse models with gene and circuit-manipulating technology. However, it is certainly necessary to refine the way we analyze disease-related phenotypes with these animal models to strengthen the translational application with improved clinical relevance. There are a wide range of freely available, bioinformatics data resources and on-line translational tools for hypothesis generation and data analysis of human disease and for the development of candidate gene disease models. This symposium will describe recent efforts towards an integrated analyses of different panel of neuropsychiatric disorders with animal models, concerning this issue. First, Cynthia Smith describes different types of analysis tools and resources, the importance of uniform data standards to enable data integration and retrieval, and practical resource usage examples to answer research questions, to open the symposium. The remaining session will cover recent cutting-edge findings elucidating different neuropsychiatric disorders including sleep disorder, addiction and impulsivity. Second speaker, Akihiro Yamanaka shows hypothalamic neural ablation for neuropsychiatric disorder model mice. Third, Joung-Hun Kim will talk about the cellular and molecular analyses of addictive behaviors via mouse self-administration. Finally, Ja-Hyun Baik will
present circuit analysis in impulsive behavior in mouse models.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDevelopment Transcriptional regulation of neural cell fate Day2-PM, 22 September
OrganizerJin Woo Kim (KAIST, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersRyoichiro Kageyama (Kyoto University, Japan), Zhengang Yang (Fudan University, China), Seth Blackshaw (Johns Hopkins University, USA), Jin Woo Kim (KAIST, Korea, Republic of)
Development of neuronal repertoires in the nervous tissues is orchestrated by various transcription factors, which are expressed in spatial- and temporal-specific manners. However, information about key transcription targets that defines the cells in each neural lineage is still poor to understand the neural fate determination processes comprehensively. Recent advances in genomics and visualization tools start to shed light on the transcriptional regulation of fate determining genes in macro and micro scales. In this session, speakers will introduce latest works on transcriptome analysis of various neural lineages and dynamic gene expression regulation mechanisms of neural development.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDisorders of the nervous system Towards an understanding of neural basis of neurodevelopmental disorders: from cells to circuits Day3-AM, 23 September
OrganizerTommaso Pizzorusso (University of Florence, Italy)
SpeakersStuart Cobb (The University of Edinburgh, UK), Alysson Muotri (University of California at San Diego, USA), Tommaso Pizzorusso (University of Florence, Italy), Michela Fagiolini (Boston Children's Hospital, USA)
Neurodevelopmental disorders are often marked by complex behavioral deficits and epilepsy due to abnormal neural circuit function. Tracing the neurobiological underpinnings of these alterations, establishing reliable and quantitative biomarkers and designing target therapies are major challenges for the neurosciences nowadays. This symposium will address how studies focused on selective neuronal deficits in animal models and in organoids derived from patient cells may contribute to the success of such quest.
By adopting a developmental perspective, we will first show how the complex mechanisms underlying cell fate determination during cortical neurotypical development may derail in models of autism spectrum disorders and give rise to behavioral deficits. Then we will discuss how brain organoids derived from reprogrammed pluripotent stem cells obtained from patients of different neurodevelopmental disorders are yielding in depth and novel insights into cell maturation and the onset of circuit function and dysfunction. The following talks will address how impairments can occur at later developmental stages of experience- dependent maturation of neuronal circuits. By using the visual system, where critical period mechanisms of cortical development are better characterized, we will demonstrate how selective disruption in key excitatory and inhibitory circuits can reverberate on cortical development in models of monogenic disorders such as Rett Syndrome and CDKL5 disorder. Importantly, we will highlight how electrophysiological and imaging techniques can monitor natural history of the disease and response to treatment both in animal models and in patients.
All the speakers are leading scientists in their field with high impact publications. They are actively involved in studies on neurodevelopmental disorders and can contribute to the meeting with novel unpublished data. Their background is different ranging from in vivo imaging to cellular neurophysiology and molecular and developmental neurobiology constituting a perfect mix of different point of views on the same scientific problem. Importantly, views coming from studies on animal models will be next to data coming from human brain organoids and functional analysis in patients allowing a direct comparison representing a hot issue in the contemporary neuroscientific debate. The speakers are of both genders (two females and two males) and wide geographic distribution (one from Japan, one from Europe and two from the east and west coasts of US).
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: neuronal excitability and synapse function From synaptic and network plasticity to behavior Day3-AM, 23 September
OrganizerJuan Lerma (Instituto de Neurociencias CSIC UMH, Spain)
Co-chairYing-Shing Chan (Hong Kong University, Hong Kong SAR, China)
SpeakersYukiko Goda (RIKEN Center for Brain Science, Japan), Marina Picciotto (Yale University, USA), Ying-Shing Chan (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China), Juan Lerma (Instituto de Neurociencias CSIC UMH, Spain)
In the central nervous system, excitatory synapses communicate neurons for interactions within local circuits or link many brain regions. Within circuits, inhibitory interneurons sculpt the activity and determine the output of these circuits. The synapses, show activity-dependent changes in strength, which is thought to be the bases for learning and memory providing compelling cellular models for the study of these phenomena. Synapses are also subjects for disruption, contributes to behavioral deficits and/or psychiatric disorders. Recent advances have been made in identifying key molecules and mechanisms that underlie synapse development, activity and stability and their contribution ot circuit equilibrium. Meanwhile, the study of neuronal circuits has been revolutionized by the aabvailability of new methods to control neuronal activity and map circuits in living animals (e.g. optogenetics, DREADDS, etc). In this symposium, the following expert speakers will present their most recent data and will discuss synaptic transmission and plasticity in relation to their effects on microcircuit function in emotion and behavior.
• Prof Marina Picciotto (USA) is a world expert on the role of single molecules in complex behaviors related to learning and brain diseases such as addiction and depression. Using a range of techniques, her group has revealed the molecular mechanisms of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in regulating cognitive circuits for affective behaviors.
• Prof Yukiko Goda (Japan) is renowned for her work on the role of integrins in regulating synaptic plasticity and in turn determining the connectivity pattern of neural networks. This offers the molecular link for understanding mechanisms that control changes in neural processes such as memory consolidation.
• Prof Ying-Shing Chan (Hong-Kong) has pioneered work that unveils the mechanisms by which neuromodulators regulate experience-dependent plasticity of postnatal excitatory/inhibitory synapses that control maturation of the neural circuitry for spatial navigation. His group recently revealed how adult-born neurons reset the synaptic plasticity and sensitivity of brainstem circuits for coping with navigational deficits in the adult.
• Prof Juan Lerma (Spain) is well-known for his work on kainate receptors, which as important mediators of the synaptic actions of glutamate are implicated in cognitive dysfunction leading to disease states, such as autism and schizophrenia.
The current proposal is lead by J.Lerma and Y.S. Chan, acting as co-chairs, and while encompassing synaptic transmission and plasticity, is much broader in covering the general issue of neural circuit function and how this controls emotion and behavior. We believe this exciting symposium will be of broad interest to the neuroscience community.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeSensory and motor systems Recent advance in studying neural mechanisms for pain Day3-AM, 23 September
OrganizerUhtaek Oh (KIST, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersJohn Wood (University College London, UK), Rohini Kuner (University of Heidelberg, Germany), Jin Mo Chung (University of Texas Medical Branch, USA), Min Zhuo (University of Toronto, Canada)
Chronic pain is a distressful experience that a large population suffers from. Although pain is a warning sign of tissue damage, prolonged or intense pain affects people’s lifestyle. Neural mechanisms underlying pain have been studied for a long time. Numerous receptors and ion channels such as TRPV1 and TRPA1 have been discovered for their roles in nociception. In addition, many endogenous mediators that cause pain or sensitize nociceptors were also reported. Neural mechanisms of neuropathic pain have also been studied extensively. Various animal models are useful for investigating neuropathic pain. Integration of nociceptive inputs to neurons in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord becomes the main topic for central sensitization of nociception. With the rich knowledge on nociception, many molecules in the nociceptive pathways become targets for the development of novel analgesic drugs. In this symposium, recent advances in pain research will be introduced from renowned scientists.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior Hypothalamic control of social behavior Day3-AM, 23 September
OrganizerMinmin Luo (NIBS, China)
SpeakersXiaohong Xu (Institute Of Neuroscience, China), Hyosang Lee (DGIST, Korea, Republic of), Sonoko Ogawa (University of Tsukuba, Japan), Oliver Bosch (University of Regensburg, Germany), Daniel Olazabal (UdelaR, Uruguay)
The hypothalamus plays important roles in organizing social behaviors. However, the exact neurobiological mechanisms had remained elusive. In this symposium, five speakers will present their latest studies on how aggression and mating behaviors are regulated by the hypothalamic neurons at the circuit, cellular, and molecular levels.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeHomeostatic and neuroendocrine systems Homeostatic and neuroendocrine systems Day3-AM, 23 September
OrganizerKi Woo Kim (Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersGang Shu (South China Agricultural University, China), Yasuhiko Minokoshi (National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan), Min-Seon Kim (University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Korea, Republic of), Chen Liu (UT-Southwestern Medical Center, USA)
Studying the neural pathways in the brain involved in regulating autonomic functions such as body weight, thermogenesis, and energy homeostasis is vital to understand our whole body physiology. The hypothalamus among many brain regions integrates information regarding the body’s internal environment and orchestrates a series of coordinated endocrine and autonomic behavioral responses that maintain metabolic and body homeostasis. However, the neuroanatomical and molecular circuitries underlying this process remain to be identified. For this reason, we, in this session, invited four leading scientists in the field of central nervous system-mediated energy homeostasis to discuss neuroendocrine homeostatic system.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior Behavioral control and reward-seeking Day4-AM, 24 September
OrganizerAndrew Lawrence (Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, Australia)
SpeakersLaura Corbit (The University of Toronto, Canada), Andrew Holmes (National Institutes of Health, USA), Gavan McNally (The University of New South Wales, Australia), Valentina Vengeliene (Vilnius University, Germany)
A range of experiences including drug use, particular diets or exposure to chronic stress promote the development of response habits. Habits provide a rapid, efficient means for decision making however, this comes with a loss in behavioural flexibility. Although striatal circuits are involved in habit learning, little is known about how experiences that accelerate habit learning alter activity in these circuits to promote premature habitual control. Dr Corbit will discuss investigations into changes to glia and neurons in dorsomedial (DMS) and dorsolateral striatum (DLS), regions known to control flexible and habitual behaviours, respectively.
A clinical hallmark of AUD sufferers is that alcohol drinking persists despite an awareness of the potential adverse consequences that may occur as a result. Prior studies in rodents have identified the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) as a key source of top-down control over subcortical regions, such as the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and basolateral amygdala (BLA), that encode the positive and negative valence of ethanol (EtOH)-related stimuli. Dr Holmes has used in vivo single-unit electrophysiological recordings and circuit-specific optogenetic manipulations to examine the role of the mPFC and mPFC-inputs to the NAc and BLA in a mouse assay of punished EtOH self-administration. Optogenetic photosilencing of the ventral mPFC or projections from this area to the NAc shell prevented punished suppression of EtOH self-administration, providing anatomic evidence for encoding of punished-avoidance of EtOH self-administration in neurons in the ventral, but not dorsal, subregion of the mPFC.
The nucleus accumbens consists of a collection of neural ensembles with distinct input-output relationships. Dr McNally will discuss recent experiments mapping the roles of these ensembles and their major output pathways in promoting and preventing relapse to alcohol seeking in animal models. These experiments reveal considerable functional convergence and segregation, at the level of cell types, projections, and post-synaptic targets, in promoting relapse versus abstinence from alcohol seeking that parallels the well documented anatomical convergence and segregation of these pathways.
At the clinical level, only a small proportion of alcohol addicted individuals benefit from a specific medication. Biomedical intensive longitudinal data collection enables us to observe progression of drinking behaviour in a stage-by-stage fashion and provides a better profiling of drug effects. Dr Vengeliene will demonstrate that alcohol drinking rats that are classified into distinct ""drinker types"" may respond differently to the same pharmacological treatment.
Collectively, all of these presentations have important implications for understanding failures of behavioural control and strategies for improving behavioural flexibility.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeGlia, glia-neuron interactions The role of NG2 glia in brain disorders Day4-AM, 24 September
OrganizerJiawei Zhou (Institute of Neuroscience, China)
SpeakersAkiko Nishiyama (University of Connecticut, USA), Katerina Akassoglou (University of California, San Francisco, USA), Frank Kirchhoff (University of Saarland, Germany), Jiawei Zhou (Institute of Neuroscience, China)
Brain disorders represent one of major public health challenge today. Over the years, tremendous efforts have been taken by the international community to develop new approaches in the early diagnosis and treatment of various brain disorders. Although remarkable progress in this field has been made in the past decades, we still face serious challenges in the 21st century, such as deeper understanding pathogenesis of brain diseases, the development of new medicines that help early diagnosis, effective therapeutic interventions for disease progression. Accumulated evidence suggest that many brain disorders involves prominent glial pathology across different disease stages, implying that glial cells may be potential targets for disease interventions.
NG2 glia has been recently considered as one of four large glial cell populations in the central nervous system (CNS), in addition to astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes. The well-established role for NG2 glia is functioning as precursor cells of myelinating oligodendrocytes during development. In the last several years, emerging evidence suggests that NG2 glia may play important roles in pathological process of brain disorders. For instance, NG2 is shown to contribute to remyelination after insults. However, we still know very little about the role of NG2 glial cells in homeostasis and pathophysiological conditions.
To promote NG2 glia research in brain disorders, we propose this very exciting symposium at the upcoming IBRO Congress. The four speakers will talk about the role of NG2 glia in the pathogenesis of brain disorders such as neurodegenerative disease (e.g. Parkinson’s disease), de- and re-myelination-associated diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis) and brain repair. We believe that our proposed symposium addresses cutting-edge science in glial biology associated with various brain disorders, representing one of new research fields in neuroscience. Thus it is expected that this topic would attract a broad audiences in the Congress.
Content of the proposal
In this symposium, four speakers will present their latest work illuminating how NG2 glia mediates sophisticated response of adult brain to pathological insults and why NG2 glia functions as an emerging important player in the pathogenesis of brain disorders and whether NG2 glia is beneficial to brain repair.
It is known that NG2 glia responds to various CNS injuries and participates in the glial scar formation by the proliferation and accumulation in the injury sites. However, the role of NG2 glia in the glial scars and its impact on brain disorders, for example, de- and re-myelination-associated brain disorders, has not been fully understood. This question will be addressed by two speakers, Dr. Akassoglou and Kirchhoff, from different angles in this proposed symposium.
Importantly, uniform distribution of NG2 glia in the adult CNS including those regions with few oligodendrocytes, indicates that they may play unexpected role rather than just being oligodendrocyte precursors. Moreover, a wide range of neuromodulatory molecules, including various neurotransmitter receptors, cytokines and chemokines, complement and complement receptor molecules have been shown to be expressed on NG2 glia, suggesting a potential role for NG2 glia in modulating brain immune homeostasis. So far, there have been few studies that has defined the precise roles of NG2 glia in the context of neuroinflammation in vivo. Dr. Zhou will provide new insights into the role of NG2 glia in the regulation of brain innate immunity.
The replacement of lost neurons in the brain due to injury or disease holds great promise for the treatment of neurological disorders. However, logistical and ethical hurdles in obtaining and maintaining viable cells for transplantation have proven difficult to overcome. In vivo reprogramming offers an alternative, to bypass many of the restrictions associated with an exogenous cell source as it relies on a source of cells already present in the brain. Recent studies have demonstrated the possibility to target and reprogram glial cells into functional neurons with high efficiency in the murine brain, using virally delivered transcription factors. In this symposium, Dr. Nishiyama will show how NG2 glial cells react to injury and how they can be exploited for reprogramming purposes. She will also discuss future challenges and what remains to be explored in order to determine the potential of in vivo reprogramming for future brain repair.
Tentative titles of their talks:
(1) JW Zhou: Role of NG2 glia in neuroinflammation
(2) A Nishiyama: Neuronal reprogramming from NG2 glia
(3) K Akassoglou: Fibrinogen in neurological diseases: Mechanisms, imaging, therapeutics
(4) F Kirchhoff: GABAergic signaling to NG2 glia in de- and remyelination
Explain the choice of speakers/chairperson
All four speakers are internationally renowned scientists in the field of glial biology. Some are widely recognized as distinguished experts in NG2 glial cell research, for example, Drs. Akiko Nishiyama, Katerina Akassoglou and Frank Kirchhoff, as shown in their c.v. Below I will explain my choice of speakers.
(1) Dr. Jiawei Zhou, Chairperson. Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
His research focus on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the maintenance of immune homeostasis in the CNS and the regulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission in mammals. Specific focuses are in understanding cell signaling that regulates neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease (Nature, 2013), as well as molecular basis for dopamine storage and reuptake (Nat Neurosci, 2015). In the last several years, he and his colleagues have studied the role of NG2 glia in the brain innate immunity and its association with Parkinson’s disease. They found that NG2 glia likely play a previously unexpected but critical role in the modulation of neuroinflammation. The manuscript reporting this work is now under revision in Nat Neurosci. He is going to present this interesting finding in the 2019 IBRO Congress.
He is the recipient of several awards, including the Outstanding Youth Award (NSFC), Sanofi Neuroscience Outstanding Scholarship Award. He is the Chair of the Translational Neuroscience Subcommittee and member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Association for Physiological Sciences as well as the Chair of Glial Cell Research Subcommittee, the Chinese Neuroscience Society. He is a member of Editorial Board of ACS Chem Neurosci (Associate Editor) and Front Aging Neurosci (Associate Editor). Very recently, he was invited to join the Editorial Board of Brain, Behavior & Immunity. He has organized/chaired several national or international scientific conferences or symposiums in the past several years.
(2) Dr. A Nishiyama, University of Connecticut, USA
She is the most renowned and internationally recognized NG2 glia researchers. Her research on NG2 glia may trace back to 1990’s. During that time, she was the first to define a population of NG2 glial cells in the mammalian CNS using NG2 and platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (Pdgfra). She also found that NG2 cells exist not only in the developing CNS but also are distributed uniformly throughout the mature CNS where they exhibit a complex multi-processed morphology and remain proliferative throughout life. They are distinct from neurons, astrocytes, microglia, or mature oligodendrocytes. Since then, they have continuously made progress toward understanding the biology of NG2 cells over the past 25 years.
(3) Dr. K Akassoglou, Gladstone Institute, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), USA
She has pioneered studies in the investigation of vascular and immune mechanisms in neurologic diseases, and in particular the role of the blood clotting factors in CNS autoimmunity, trauma, and neurodegeneration. Her aim is to understand the mechanisms that control the communication between the brain, immune and vascular systems with the ultimate goal to design novel therapies for neurologic diseases—and in particular, multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Akassoglou identified blood clotting factors as major mediators of neurologic disease. She made the unanticipated discovery that the blood clotting factor fibrinogen is a major activator of innate immune responses in the CNS. She developed novel imaging tools to study the neurovascular interface and therapeutic strategies to protect from neuroimmune diseases by blocking the damaging effects of blood factors in the brain without affecting their beneficial effects in blood clotting. Dr. Akassoglou has published over 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals and she is active in several national and international organizations, editorial boards, and funding agencies.
(4) Professor Frank Kirchhoff, University of Saarland, Germany
His research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuron-glia interaction in the CNS. They are pursuing the following research questions: How do glial transmitter receptors sense and modulate synaptic transmission? What is the impact for living organisms? How do glial cells respond to acute injuries within the central nervous system? He has contributed significantly to glial biology, for instance, they found the astrocytic regulation in neurotransmission. He is one of the first research groups who first established NG2-CreERT2 knock-in mice (Glia, 2014)
The proposed symposium follows geographic and gender balance. The symposium has multi-national participants. They come from China (Zhou), USA (Nishiyama, Akassoglou) and Germany (Kirchhoff), respectively. Among them, half men and half women.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: neuronal excitability and synapse function The NMDA receptors in synapse physiology and brain diseases Day4-AM, 24 September
OrganizerNigel Emptage (University of Oxford, UK)
SpeakersJean-Pierre Mothet (CNRS, France), Nigel Emptage (University of Oxford, UK), Eunjoon Kim (KAIST, Korea, Republic of), Lynn Raymond (University of British Columbia, Canada)
N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) subtype of glutamate receptors are central for neural coding, rhythmic activities of neuronal circuits but also for transducing specific patterns of synaptic activity into long-term structural and functional changes of synapses underlying experience-driven learning and memory. Alterations in NMDARs signaling are consistently associated with the etiology of numerous neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases including schizophrenia, Alzheimer and Huntington diseases. So there’s an absolute need to understand the basic mechanisms driving the activation of these receptors and their downstream signaling cascade in order to better define their roles in brain physiology and pathology.
NMDARs have been traditionally thought to function as ionotropic receptors located at postsynaptic sites where they act as coincidence detectors of presynaptic glutamate release and postsynaptic depolarization for the induction of hebbian forms of synaptic plasticity. In the proposed symposium, renowned leaders in the field would highlight novel findings concerning these receptors and describe unconventional modes of NMDARs action and regulation in the healthy and diseased brain. More specifically, we would show that the identity of the co-agonist (ie D-serine or glycine) at specific NMDARs is synapse specific and developmentally regulated (JP Mothet, France), and that NMDARs found presynaptically powerfully shape synaptic plasticity in the healthy brain (N Emptage; UK). Then, we will present compelling evidence that NMDARs are involved in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (E. Kim; Korea) and that extrasynaptic NMDARs are involved in the pathogenesis of Huntington disease (L Raymond, Canada).
So, our symposium will provide a timely overview on the diverse roles of NMDA receptors in brain physiopathology, thus attracting interest across the broader neuroscience community attending the IBRO meeting.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeSensory and motor systems Multi-areal circuit mechanisms of action Day4-AM, 24 September
OrganizerKazuo Kitamura (University of Yamanashi, Japan)
SpeakersDaesoo Kim (KAIST, Korea, Republic of), Kazuo Kitamura (University of Yamanashi, Japan), Kamran Khodakhah (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA), Naoshige Uchida (Harvard University, USA)
Acquisition and execution of skilled movements critically depend on multiple brain regions including the neocortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum. The brain must coordinate the activity of neural circuits located at these areas, and impairment in these circuits and also in their communications leads to serious motor deficits. Understanding how generation and control of action can be implemented through multi-areal interconnectivity and network dynamics is one of the most fundamental challenges in today’s neuroscience. The advent of modern technologies has facilitated high-resolution measurement and cell-type specific manipulation of local and long-range circuit dynamics in behaving animals, which have provided important insights into the mechanism of action generation and control. In this symposium, leading speakers in this field will introduce their cutting- edge research topics on multi-areal circuit mechanisms of action, and will discuss the future outlook.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDisorders of the nervous system New perspectives on mental illness research Day4-AM, 24 September
OrganizerToru Takumi (RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan)
SpeakersZilong Qiu (Institute of Neuroscience, China), Toru Takumi (RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan), Heon-Jeong Lee (Korea University, Korea, Republic of), Anthony Isles (Cardiff University, UK)
Mental illness research is a field of increasing interest in neurosciences because of the increased prevalence of mental illnesses in modern society. In neuroscience, psychiatry is still an unknown area and there are many things that need to be revealed. This symposium is focused on the new research approach in psychiatric disorders such as autism, mood disorder, and psychosis. The speakers of this symposium will approach the pathophysiological mechanisms of various psychiatric disorders through the study of genetic, circadian biology, and epigenetic methods.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior The “emotional thalamus” on the regulation of reward, fear, and aversion Day4-PM, 24 September
OrganizerFabricio Do Monte (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA)
SpeakersSeema Bhatnagar (University of Pennsylvania, USA), Zhi Ong (University of New South Wales, Australia), Shelly Flagel (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA), Fabricio Do Monte (The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA)
Overall Panel Abstract
The thalamus is often viewed as a relay of sensorimotor information to the cortex and a regulator of arousal and sleep processes. However, this view of the thalamus is rapidly changing because of the recognition that some thalamic nuclei integrate signals from various brain sites and direct their outputs to subsets of cortical and subcortical regions for appropriate actions. Recent interest has been focused on the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT), which has emerged as a key nucleus of the midline thalamus involved in the control of emotionally arousing situations including food- and drug-seeking behaviors, anxiety and fear responses, and stress-related processes. Supporting these PVT functions are neuroanatomical studies in both primates and rodents demonstrating that PVT is directly connected with brain regions implicated in motivation, reward, and energy balance control, including the prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, amygdala and the hypothalamus. Recently, a growing number of studies using a variety of novel experimental approaches have begun to further elucidate PVT’s functions and dissect its underlying mechanisms. These studies reinforce the idea that PVT plays a critical role in the control of emotional behaviors.
This mini-symposium will provide new vistas on how the PVT regulates appetitive motivation during drug- and food-seeking responses, as well as negative emotional behaviors during fear and stressful situations. Our panel is composed of a diverse group of speakers from different nationalities and countries, 3 women and 1man, at different career levels (postdoctoral fellow, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor), with a very good track-record of scientific publications focusing on different functional aspects of the PVT. Our mini-symposium will be composed of four scientific talks as following:
Molecular and circuit mechanisms underlying paraventricular thalamic regulation of habituation to repeated stress. (Dr. Seema Bhatnagar, University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Dr. Bhatnagar will discuss the role of the posterior division of the PVT (pPVT) in regulating the ability to habituate to repeated exposure to familiar and predictable stressors at the molecular and network levels. She will discuss the role of the immediate early gene Arc in mediating mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the pPVT that are important for habituation. At the network level, she will discuss the importance of projections from the pPVT to the medial prefrontal cortex in mediating habituation and the coherence of activity between these two structures. Together, these data reveal novel molecular and network mechanisms through which the pPVT regulates an important adaptation to stress that is disrupted in some stress-related psychiatric disorders such as PTSD.
Overcoming fear to obtain food: focus on the paraventricular thalamus.
(Dr. Fabricio Do Monte, University of Texas at Houston, USA)
Dr. Do Monte will focus on the temporal recruitment of the PVT for the integration of fear memories with other adaptive behaviors. He will speculate as to why the PVT and its downstream projections to the nucleus accumbens and amygdala are recruited for the regulation of behavioral responses. Using multidisciplinary tools that include immunohistochemistry, optogenetics, and electrophysiological recordings in freely behaving rats, Dr. Do Monte will show recent data supporting the idea that PVT circuits integrate fear with reward-associated memories to facilitate adaptive behavioral responses.
Peptidergic signaling in the paraventricular thalamus: effects on food intake and reward. (Dr. Zhi Yi Ong, University of New South Wales, Australia)
Dr. Ong will discuss the role of PVT on the appetitive and motivational aspects of food intake control. She will focus on hindbrain inputs to the PVT, specifically, on neurons that express glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). Dr. Ong will present complementary anatomical, behavioral, pharmacological and electrophysiological data demonstrating the contribution of NTS GLP-1 inputs to the PVT on the control of food intake and food-seeking behavior. She will also discuss a possible role for NTSGLP-1 PVT nucleus accumbens pathway in mediating these motivated behaviors.
The paraventricular thalamic nucleus: A fulcrum for top-down and bottom-up processes regulating reward learning. (Dr. Shelly Flagel, University of Michigan, USA)
Dr. Flagel will demonstrate a role for the PVT in mediating individual differences in addiction-related behaviors, including the propensity to attribute incentive motivational value to reward cues and reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior. Specifically, Dr. Flagel will present anatomical tracing data that reveals the engagement of distinct PVT-circuits in two behavioral phenotypes that respond differently to reward cues. In addition, she will show data from chemogenetic studies that permit selective manipulation of the circuit from the prelimbic cortex (PrL) to the PVT. These studies have revealed a role for this circuit in inhibiting addiction-related behaviors. Finally, Dr. Flagel will present additional data that suggests that the PVT acts as a fulcrum to balance “top-down” cortical vs. “bottom-up” subcortical processes. Disruption of this balance thereby results in maladaptive behaviors.
Together, our mini-symposium will provide grounds to support the PVT as a crucial player in the regulation of positive and negative emotional responses, giving justice to its nickname: “Emotional Thalamus”. The studies presented in this mini-symposium will help to advance the field of thalamic function by providing a better understanding of the thalamic circuits that mediate drug-taking and drug-seeking behaviors, over-eating, and fear/stress responses. These topics are of significant relevance to basic neuroscience research as well as clinical studies targeting health issues related to substance use and/or eating and anxiety disorders.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeHomeostatic and neuroendocrine systems The gating and maintenance of sleep and wake: New circuits and insights Day4-PM, 24 September
OrganizerPatrick Fuller (Harvard Medical School, USA)
SpeakersHiroki Ueda (The University of Tokyo, Japan), Zhi-Li Huang (Fudan University, China), Michael Lazarus (UNiversity of Tsukuba, Japan), Patrick Fuller (Harvard Medical School, USA)
Sleep is a highly conserved behavior among all living organisms with a nervous system that is vital to survival. Chronic sleep loss is linked to a wide range of deleterious physiological changes including: altered food intake, weight loss or gain, skin lesions, compromised thermoregulation and even death. Humans spend one third of their lives asleep. While we know why we eat, drink, or mate, we do not know why we sleep. Therefore, there is an increasing urgency in the neuroscience community to gain knowledge of the molecular and circuit basis of sleep/wake regulation and its link to the physiological function of sleep. New genetic approaches (genetic engineering of mice using CRISPR/Cas9 and of receptor/channel systems) have permitted the interrogation of circuit elements (transmitters, pathways, etc.) and the identification of genes that regulate sleep/wake behavior. All invited speakers have a long-standing interest and expertise in the area of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of sleep control or homeostasis. They also have recently published high profile papers in which they have identified new neuronal mechanisms controlling the behavioral state and sleep amount per day. The objective of our symposium is to highlight some of this recent work and provide new insights into molecular or circuit mechanisms of gating and maintenance of sleep and wake. The symposium format will allow us to cover a wide range of aspects of sleep control and our integrative approach will allow us to achieve a “whole” that is far greater than its individual parts and shed light on a bona fide mechanism of sleep homeostasis. For example, Dr. Hiroki Ueda's group recently published a fascinating paper showing that the components of Ca2+-dependent hyperpolarization pathway play a role in sleep duration regulation in mammals (Neuron, 2016). Dr. Zhi-Li Huang’s group recently published highly regarded papers on the role of dopaminergic systems in sleep/wake regulation (Nature Communications, 2018 and PLOS Biology, 2018). Dr. Patrick Fuller will discuss the subcortical circuit basis of arousal and sleep (Nature Communications, 2015 and Current Biology, 2016). Finally, Dr. Michael Lazarus will present the research of his group on a novel sleep circuit in the basal ganglia that is under motivated behavior (Nature Communications, 2017).
In the spirit of IBRO, our speaker panel hails from four countries and three geographical regions, spanning from Japan to China to USA to Germany. Finally, I have had the pleasure of previously attending seminars given by the invited speakers, and so I can attest to the speakers’ ability to deliver engaging, accessible, highly informative and lucid talks.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: systems/network functions, computational neuroscience Network/Computation (TBA) Day4-PM, 24 September
OrganizerMayank Mehta (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
SpeakersSophie Deneve (Collège de France, France), Emilio Kropff (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Joseph Raimondo (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Rishikesh Narayanan (Indian Institute of Science, India), Yasser Roudi (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway)
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeSensory and motor systems Magnetoreception, the sixth sense of animal: From worms to human Day4-PM, 24 September
OrganizerKwon-Seok Chae (Kyungpook National University, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersPeter Hore (University of Oxford, UK), Can Xie (Peking University, China), David Keays (The Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Austria), Kwon-Seok Chae (Kyungpook National University, Korea, Republic of)
Magnetoreception, the sixth sense of an animal is a new sensation added to the existing five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, tactile) that are necessary for animals to perceive and adapt changes of environment for survival. For much of the 20th century, magnetoreception research was regarded as a pseudoscience like as dowsing or telepathy. Yet it is now accepted that dozens of animals across a broad range of phylogeny such as worms, insects, fishes, birds, and mammals sense the always-on magnetic field of Earth, to navigate short- or long-distance or pose a selective body alignment for living. Based on the compelling evidences from about three decades of research in the field, two rival entities have been suggested as magnetoreceptors that initiate signaling from magnetoreception to motor system, even though little is known for the system in contrast to those of the five senses. One is a protein, called cryptochrome that triggers quantum chemical reactions upon contact of geomagnetic field (GMF) with the protein. As well known, cryptochrome protein is one of the crucial components in the master clock of circadian rhythms. Cryptochromes have been found in the retina and the Johnston’s organ of magnetoreceptive birds and flies, respectively, but no one has determined how they might control neural pathways. The other potential magnetoreceptor is miniature compass needles sit within receptor cells, either near the trigeminal nerve behind animals’ noses or in the inner ear. The needles, presumed to be made up of a strongly magnetic iron mineral called magnetite, would somehow open or close neural pathways.
Although it has fascinated both scientists and the public, it is broadly thought that human cannot sense magnetic fields including the GMF. A series of studies conducted by Dr. Robin Baker at the University of Manchester in the 1980’s, suggesting that human non-visual magnetic navigation by sensing the GMF through the biogenic magnetite in the brain, attracted immense interest in human magnetic sense. However, the results have not been consistently replicated by others despite some subsequent studies that implied the existence of magnetic sense in human. Very recently, human cryptochrome-rescued transgenic fruit flies showed light-dependent magnetoreceptive behavior, implying that cryptochromes in the retina of human eyes may have the capability of eliciting magnetoreception at a molecular level. Moreover, Dr. Joseph Kirschvink at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) pronounced in the Royal Institute of Navigation 2016 conference that he found a strong evidence for the existence of magnetic sense in human and magnetites in the brain are necessary for the magnetoreception. In contrast, my lab and presumably some other scientists in the field, have conducted experiments to decide whether cryptochromes mediate GMF-sensitive behavior of human in recent years. In this symposium, recent progress in magnetoreception research on some model organisms including birds, sea turtles and human will be presented.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDisorders of the nervous system Advances in neurodegenerative diseases research Day4-PM, 24 September
OrganizerZhiying Wu (Zhejiang University, China)
SpeakersZhiying Wu (Zhejiang University, China), Jun Takahashi (Kyoto University, Japan), Seung-Jae Lee (Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of), Huaxi Xu (SBP Medical Discovery Institute, China)
With the expanding of elderly population, diagnosis, prevention and cure provided to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases are greatly needed, while there are still no effective treatment options currently. This symposium will provide some great advances in diagnosis and treatment on neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and so on. Four presenters, from China, Japan, Korea, and the United States respectively, will overview the latest progress of diagnosis and treatment of these neurodegenerative diseases with molecular diagnosis and intervention technology. This symposium will bring you not only a rich academic feast but also a platform for the development of collaborations on the study of these diseases.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: systems/network functions, computational neuroscience Neuromodulatory regulation of brain health and disease: Unifying experiments and computational models Day5-AM, 25 September
OrganizerSrikanth Ramaswamy (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland)
SpeakersYevgenia Kozorovitskiy (Northwestern University, USA), Luis de Lecea (Stanford University, USA), Christopher Fiorillo (KAIST, Korea, Republic of), Srikanth Ramaswamy (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland)
Neuromodulators, the master switches of the brain, enable a fixed configuration of neurons to shape myriad behavioral states such as sleep and wakefulness or distraction and attention. Altered levels of neuromodulators are implicated in the onset of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Despite their crucial role in physiology and pathology, the cellular and synaptic mechanisms by which neuromodulators control neural activity remain unclear. Global efforts such as the US BRAIN initiative and EU Human Brain Project are developing tools to enable an unprecedented reconstruction of neuromodulatory circuits. This propitious symposium will bring together researchers employing cutting-edge tools developed in global brain projects to synthesize an integrative view of neuromodulation in brain function and dysfunction. An international multidisciplinary panel will present novel findings unifying in vivo, in vitro, and in silico approaches to reconstruct neuromodulatory circuits implicated in brain health and disease. Speakers will deliver insight on how multiple neuromodulatory mechanisms regulate behavioral states in brain health and disease, highlight the governing principles of neuromodulatory regulation of neural microcircuits, and foster discussion. Together, this symposium will not only enable a quantitative assessment of neuromodulatory control in brain function and dysfunction but also aim to identify common organizing principles of how neuromodulators are engaged in different brain regions and species.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeNew technology - Neurotool Next-gen neurotech Day5-AM, 25 September
OrganizerMichael Roukes (Caltech, USA)
SpeakersMichael Lin (Stanford University, USA), Darcy Peterka (Columbia University, USA), Lin Tian (University of California, Davis, USA), Nick Steinmetz (University College London, UK), Michael Roukes (Caltech, USA)
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeHomeostatic and neuroendocrine systems Dialing in the dialogue between inflammation and the brain Day5-AM, 25 September
OrganizerKeith W. Kelley (University of Illinois, USA)
SpeakersElisa Hill-Yardin (RMIT University, Australia), Sarah J. Spencer (RMIT University, Australia), Suzi Hong (Univ. of California San Diego, USA), Mark Hutchinson (University of Adelaide, Australia)
Inflammation is a process that removes damaged cells and infectious microbes and initiates healing. But when it becomes dysregulated and chronic, systemic inflammation is a costly contributor to the pathogenesis of obesity, atherosclerosis, chronic pain, type II diabetes and even cancer. Growing evidence points to peripheral and neuro-inflammation as a major factor underlying a myriad of neuropsychiatric conditions, including clinical depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, cognitive dysfunction and neurodevelopmental disorders. Understanding how inflammation throughout the body affects the brain and behavior of laboratory animals and humans represents a new frontier in both neuroscience and immunology. Four internationally-recognized scholars will highlight some of the newest and most exciting developments in this field that relate directly to the gut-immune-brain axis, obesity, cardiovascular disease and advanced imaging technologies. Links between the gut microbiome and brain are one of the most burgeoning fields of research in modern medicine. Associate Professor Elisa Hill will present new discoveries that begin to explain how bacteria in the gut affects our mood as well as new findings relevant to autism. The second speaker, Dr. Sarah Spencer in Melbourne, focuses on metabolism, stress, inflammation and satiety signaling, including early life programming of the obese brain. She will highlight how overfeeding early in life leads to chronic inflammation and influences the brain. Although pharmacologic therapy is most often emphasized for management of patients with hypertension, the use of non-pharmacologic approaches is now recognized for disease interruption and bears vast public health significance. Suzi Hong will describe the `neurogenic hypothesis' of hypertension and vascular inflammation. Dr. Hong will then present new data on how the meditative movements of Tai Chi affect not only the hemo- and vascular-dynamic and immuno-vascular systems but also lead to reductions in psychological distress and physiological arousal. Decoding neuroimmune communication systems, particularly in humans, requires a variety of advanced imaging technologies. Professor Mark Hutchinson at the University of Adelaide will highlight next-generation nanoscale diagnostic devices that use the power of light to discover, sense and image molecular processes throughout the body. These technologies are being developed and are already used for monitoring health and disease. Collectively, dialing into this dialogue between the brain and immune system provides new vistas for discovering the mechanisms by which chronic inflammation throughout the body affects our brain and behavior.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeCognition and behavior Imaging cognition and motivation in zebrafish Day5-AM, 25 September
OrganizerHitoshi Okamoto (RIKEN Center for Brain Science, Japan)
SpeakersHerwig Baier (Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Germany), Jiu-Lin Du (Institute of Neuroscience, China), Jennifer Li (Rowland Institute at Harvard, USA), Julie Semmelhack (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China)
Due to small size and transparency of the brain, zebrafish has been widely used to decode the meaning of neural activity in behavioral regulation thanks to the rapid development of technology for the in-vivo whole-brain Imaging of both live larval and adult zebrafish either in virtual or real environments. In this symposium we will focus on motivational behavior such as prey capturing and escape from danger and how the large-sale imaging o neural activities contributes to the understanding of the neural mechanisms for such behaviors.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeSensory and motor systems Novel concepts of the visual hierarchy Day5-AM, 25 September
OrganizerTadashi Isa (Kyoto University, Japan)
SpeakersAnna Wang Roe (Zhejiang University, China), Wim Vanduffel (KU Leuven, Belgium), Seung-Hee Lee (KAIST, Korea, Republic of), Tadashi Isa (Kyoto University, Japan)
Traditionally, it has been considered that the visual sensory processing is hierarchically organized; the lower visual areas process simple features of the target objects, and the feature information is sequentially processed and integrated to emerge more complex features during the hierarchically organized cortical visual areas. In addition, interaction between the cortical and subcortical processing has not been studied in depth. However, knowledge on the visual processing are drastically updated recent years by introduction of novel concepts based on cutting-edge technologies. In this symposium, 4 eminent speakers will discuss on the most recent conceptual updates in the distributed processing through the visual areas of the brain.
The titles of the talks will be as follows;
Anna Wang Roe; “TBA”
Wim Vanduffel; “Discovering the fine-scale functional organization of macaque cortex using mesoscale whole-brain mapping.”
Seung-Hee Lee; “Cortical circuits for visual processing and audiovisual integration”
Tadashi Isa: “Neural mechanisms and functions of blindsight”
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeDevelopment Development and plasticity of brain connectivity Day5-PM, 25 September
OrganizerAlain Chedotal (INSERM, France)
SpeakersAlain Chedotal (INSERM, France), Linda Richards (The University of Queensland, Australia), Guillermina Lopez-Bendito (Universidad Miguel Hernández, Spain), Hidenobu Mizuno (Kumamoto University, Japan)
Research in neuroscience that includes the interrelated areas of axon guidance, synaptogenesis and neuronal plasticity includes some of the most exciting and rapidly growing topics in neurobiology. Current work on imaging neuronal process connectivity and activity provides unprecedented access, both in vitro and in vivo, for understanding mechanisms that underlie the logic of circuit assembly and function. Importantly this is clinically relevant as diverse neurological diseases can trace their origins to defects in early mechanisms of neuronal wiring.
This symposium will provide a forum for the exchange of results and ideas in these rapidly advancing fields. Work presented at the symposium will incorporate diverse experimental approaches and models including 3D light sheet microscopy, genetics, live functional imaging and circuit-level neuroscience.
Dr Guillermina Lopez-Bendito studies the principles underlying thalamocortical axonal wiring and maintenance and how reprogramming of cortical wiring takes place following brain damage. She found that the development of the thalamocortical wiring requires a precise topographical sorting of its connections and that an intra-areal topographical organization allows the generation of accurate spatial representations within each cortical area. She will review her recent work on the thalamic activity-dependent mechanisms controlling neuroplasticity and cortical changes following sensory deprivation using several optical imaging, sensory deprivation paradigms and electrophysiology. Alain Chédotal has investigated several guidance cue signaling pathways, uncovering functional differences among certain neuronal guidance cue receptors that suggest important implications for distinct aspects of connectivity in the mammalian brain. He will also present additional work utilizes whole brain imaging approaches to investigate the elaboration of neural connectivity in both mice and humans, and from these and other observations the behavioral consequences of defective guidance events are becoming clearer. Dr Hidenobu Mizuno will present his work on the in vivo imaging of the developing cerebral cortex and how this helps elucidating the mechanism for activity-dependent circuit maturation. He found that neuronal activity plays critical roles in the maturation of the cortical circuits. Using in vivo 2-photon imaging, he discovered a novel patchwork-pattern activity in neonatal somatosensory cortex. He will discuss the mechanisms for activity-dependent maturation of the cortical circuits during early postnatal periods. Dr Linda Richards studies long-range commissural projections which are highly conserved in vertebrates and function to integrate information from both sides of the body. She compares commissural circuits development in humans, mice and marsupials to uncover the critical molecular and activity-dependent mechanisms involved. Her work encompasses cellular, molecular and genetic investigations together with studies of anatomical and structural brain connectivity at a systems level using MRI, and how structural brain connectivity underpins cognitive function.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeGlia, glia-neuron interactions Neuron-glia interactions in sensory disorders Day5-PM, 25 September
OrganizerSung Joong Lee (Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersRu-rong Ji (Duke University, USA), Makoto Tsuda (Kyushu University, Japan), Sung Joong Lee (Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of), Michael W. Salter (Hospital for Sick Children, Canada)
Sensory detection of potential harmful environment (such as noxious and pruritic stimuli) is essential for our protection by avoiding such environment. Damage or dysfunctions of such sensory systems often causes severe neurological disorders such as neuropathic pain and itch. Millions of people worldwide are suffering from these devastating neurological disorders, yet the pathogenic mechanisms and effective treatments are limited. Studies over the last two decades have uncovered neuron-glia interactions at the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) levels play critical role in central and peripheral sensitization, respectively, and thereby contributes to neuropathic pain and itch. Therefore, elucidating the molecular mechanism and function of these neuron-glia interactions are of utmost importance to elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of these sensory disorders.
In this mini-symposium, three world-renowned scientists who are front-runners in this research field will be invited to give talks. Current progress in their research on the molecular mechanisms underlying microglia/astrocyte-neuron interactions in the central nervous system (CNS) and also satellite glia-neuron interactions in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) will be presented in this mini-symposium. In-depth critical discussions about involvement of neuron-glia interactions in various sensory dysfunctions and future research prospects will be expected in this mini-symposium.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeSensory and motor systems Birdsong, a tractable model system for studying basal ganglia and dopamine-dependent skill learning Day5-PM, 25 September
OrganizerSatoshi Kojima (Korea Brain Research Institute, Korea, Republic of)
SpeakersTodd Roberts (UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA), Richard Hahnloser (University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Satoshi Kojima (Korea Brain Research Institute, Korea, Republic of)
The basal ganglia and dopamine system has been implicated in the learning and execution of skilled motor behaviors. Advancing our understanding of circuit and cellular mechanisms underlying basal ganglia functions in mammals has been hindered by the complexity of the connections within the basal ganglia circuit and by the multiple functions that basal ganglia are engaged in. Songbirds such as the zebra finch have recently been drawing attention as a tractable model system for studying basal ganglia functions, because they have a discrete basal ganglia circuit dedicated to a specific motor skill learning, song learning. This minisymposium will highlight recent advances in understanding how songbirds learn and maintain their song using the basal ganglia and dopamine system, with a focus on reinforcement signals, motor bias, and motor memory consolidation.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimeNew technology - Neurotool Advance in circuit interrogation technologies Day5-PM, 25 September
OrganizerHaruhiko Bito (University of Tokyo, Japan)
SpeakersLiping Wang (Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, China), Haruhiko Bito (University of Tokyo, Japan), Bong-Kiun Kaang (Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of), Michael Hausser (UCL, UK)
New technologies are being developed and the importance of neurotools has been keep increasing in the field of neuroscience. Neuro-technological advances have the potential to dramatically increase our understanding of the human brain, treat and cure injury and disease, and enhance our general well-being.
Scientific Topic Symposium Title Date & TimePhysiology: systems/network functions, computational neuroscience Valence and reward encoding Day5-PM, 25 September
OrganizerLan Ma (Fudan University, China)
SpeakersKenji Doya (OIST Graduate University, Japan), Min Whan Jung (KAIST, Korea, Republic of), Ilya Monosov (Washington University, USA), Lan Ma (Fudan University, China)
The ability to distinguish cues predicting positive (reward) or negative (aversive) valence is crucial for survival of individual and species, and perturbations in this ability can result in aberrant behaviors relevant to psychiatric diseases. Brain regions including VTA, NAc, and amygdala have been identified as regions important for reward and aversive behaviors. However, the molecular and circuitry mechanisms underlying valence encoding and reward prediction remain largely unknown. In this session, we invite four leading scientists in the field to discuss their recent findings on this topic