Plenary Lecture I
(University of California, San Fransisco)
Transcriptional regulation of cell fate decisions in the embryonic forebrain
|John Rubenstein, MD, PhD is a professor in Psychiatry Department of the University of California, San Fransisco and directs the Nina Ireland Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology. His research focuses on the regulatory genes that orchestrate development of the forebrain.
In the mammalian embryo, the forebrain is the portion of the neural tube where primitive cells are organized to form the cerebral cortex, the basal ganglia and other components of the adult brain -- the structures of the human brain most involved in key functions such as speech, language, cognition and fine motor skills.
Rubenstein's lab has demonstrated the role of specific genes in regulating neuronal specification, differentiation, migration and axon growth during embryonic development and on through adult life. His work may help to explain some of the mechanisms underlying human neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
Plenary Lecture II
The evolutionary origin of the mammalian forebrain – circuits for selection of action
|Dr. Sten Grillner is a neurophysiologist and distinguished professor at the Karolinska Institute's Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology in Stockholm, where he is the director of the institute. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in the cellular bases of motor behaviour. His research is focused on understanding the cellular bases of motor behaviour; in particular, he has shown how neuronal circuits in the spine help control rhythmic movements, such as those needed for locomotion. He is the current secretary general of the International Brain Research Organization IBRO and President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). For his work, in 2008 he was awarded the $1 million Kavli Prize for deciphering the basic mechanisms which govern the development and functioning of the networks of cells in the brain and spinal cord. This prize distinguishes the recipient from the Nobel prizes in basic medical sciences.
Notable Neuroscientists like Eric Kandel, 2000 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or medicine named Dr. Grillner’s work on the workings of complex neurocircuitry extremely important and this progress in understanding motor systems, the cognitive role in motor systems, is a brilliant advance and has revolutionized our understanding of how the nervous system is wired.