Keynote Lecture I
(Freidrich Miescher Institute)
The first steps of vision: cell types, circuits and repair
|Dr. Botond Roska, senior group leader at the Freidrich Miescher Institute and project-leader for the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering, is a renowned expert in the structure and function of retinal circuits in health and disease. His work has contributed in both a fundamental and highly original manner to our understanding of the function of retinal circuits. In addition, he has used his knowledge of retinal processing and the newly available optogenetic tools to reactivate retinal function, at least partially, in mouse models of blinding retinal diseases. Together with scientists from around the world, but particularly the Vision Institute in Paris, he currently tries to bring this method of vision restoration to patients with retinitis pigmentosa, and other late-onset adult blindness diseases.
For his work, he was awarded the Alcon Award in 2011 and the Alfred Vogt Award in 2013. Also, the 2016 Cogan Award from the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology highlighted these outstanding contributions to the field.
His lab recently restored some visual function in vivo in mouse models of retinal degeneration and in vitro in human retinal explant cultures. The goal is to advance this therapy for use in humans.
Keynote Lecture II
(University of California, Berkeley)
Neural circuits controlling sleep
|Yang Dan is a multifaceted neuroscientist currently working on the neural bases of sleep. She is a Paul Licht Distinguished Professor in Biology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.
She grew up in Beijing and studied physics as an undergraduate student at Peking University. She conducted her PhD research in the lab of Mu-ming Poo at Columbia University, where she studied the cellular mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity. For postdoctoral training, she studied visual processing with Clay Reid, Joseph Atick, and Torsten Wiesel at Rockefeller University and Harvard Medical School. Her lab at the University of California, Berkeley uses a variety of techniques, including electrophysiology, imaging, and optogenetics, to study neuromodulation of global brain states and the microcircuits underlying cortical computation. Currently, a major interest of her group is to identify the key neural circuits generating both rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. To understand cognitive control of goal-directed behavior, her lab is also investigating how the prefrontal cortex generates task-related activity and how such activity modulates the downstream targets for optimal behavioral control.