Neuroscientists from CSHL, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University gathered at the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University last Friday for a day-long symposium, “Recent Advances in Neuroscience Research.” The symposium involved over 200 registrants and featured research presentations as well as a poster session. Participants enjoyed hearing about a host of topics, ranging from cutting edge brain imaging technology to recent findings on neural circuits involved in brain disorders. In addition, they welcomed the opportunity to interact with colleagues and potential collaborators from their neighboring institutions.
This symposium, which highlighted young investigators doing innovative research, brought to focus the unique strengths and technological expertise of the neuroscience programs at CSHL, BNL and SBU. As illustrated by the outstanding science presented throughout the day, scientists at these three institutions are at the leading edge of neuroscience research.
CSHL’s Anne Churchland, Josh Huang and Bo Li were among the 10 scientists who presented research talks. Dr. Churchland described her work to understand how our brains integrate information from the environment – such as what we see and hear – to make decisions. To manage this integration, our brains use neural circuits, which connect distinct areas of the brain. Mapping these connections is extremely difficult, but Dr. Huang described his powerful and elegant methods for doing just this, focusing on a specific type of circuit that uses the neurotransmitter GABA. Following on this theme of circuits, Dr. Li described a circuit he has identified involving a specific region of the thalamus that controls attention and may be disrupted in patients with schizophrenia.
In addition to the research talks, there were 25 poster presentations on display. Ten of these were selected for short oral presentations including two from CSHL, Duda Kvitsiani, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Adam Kepecs, and Yongsoo Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Pavel Osten. Other poster presenters from CSHL were Jiangteng Lu (Huang Lab) and June Hee Park (Enikolopov Lab).
Research collaborations that combine the individual strengths from each institution are already identifying new avenues for discovery and facilitating the development of powerful new technologies. Through activities such as this symposium, more collaborative opportunities will be identified and pursued in the near future.
(Dr. Sydney Gary is Director of Research Operations at CSHL and a co-organizer of the cooperative symposium)