The big brains

Society for Neuroscience brings a wide range of perspectives to the nation's capital with Neuroscience 2011

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WASHINGTON,D.C.—Billed as "the world's largest forum for neuroscientists todebut research and network with colleagues from around the world,"the 41stannual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN)—otherwiseknown as Neuroscience 2011—will take place Nov. 12 to 16 inWashington, D.C., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Withan expected attendance of more than 31,000 people, SfN will keepeveryone engaged and interactive through lectures, symposia,workshops and social events focused on innovative neuroscienceresearch. The meeting also will feature thousands of abstracts andprovide networking and professional development opportunities.

Iffiguring out what to attend and when to do it is a bit of achallenge—and it probably is for most people—the meeting sectionof the SfN website, located at, features theNeuroscience Meeting Planner (NMP). The NMP can be used not only tosearch abstracts and sessions, but also to create your own itineraryfor the annual meeting.

Tohead off other potential complications for attendees, SfN has alsocontracted with KiddieCorp to provide childcare and youth programsfor those attending the meeting with their families in tow. Onsitechildcare and youth programs are available for children between theages of 6 months and 12 years, but spaces are limited, and it'spossible if you haven't already reserved a spot, there may not beany more left. KiddieCorp can be reached by phone at (858) 455-1718or by email at, and its website is at

KiddieCorpis in its 25thyear of providing such services at conventions, trade shows andspecial events, with the goal of providing children "with a programthey want to attend, while providing you with that critical 'peaceof mind' so you can attend sessions," according to the company.This year's theme is "Science Camp" and activities will includearts and crafts projects each day, group games, music and movement,board games, story time and dramatic play.

NeuroJobsJob Fair

Newat this year's meeting will be SfN's first NeuroJobs Job Fair,featuring employers from industry, nonprofit organizations andacademia on-site, along with concurrent career development workshops.The event is free for all meeting attendees and is, as SfN notes, "anopportunity for employers to meet hundreds of job seekers atNeuroscience 2011." The NeuroJobs Job Fair will be held Saturday,Nov. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.,closing at midday for the Neuroscience 2011's "Dialogues"lecture.

Speakingof that lecture, the speaker will be Dr. Robert J. Shiller, anAmerican economist, academic and bestselling author, who will talkabout economics and behavior under the title of "Animal Spirits:How Human Behavior Drives the Economy." Shiller currently serves asthe Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics at Yale University and is afellow at the Yale International Center for Finance of the YaleSchool of Management.

Reportedlyranked among the 100 most influential economists of the world,Shiller's work has addressed how psychological factors influencedecision-making in the economic arena and the impact of groupdynamics on financial markets, and SfN invites you to "join Dr.Shiller and leading neuroscientists for an exciting opportunity toexamine the interplay between economics and the brain."

PresidentialSpecial Lectures

Neurotrophins:From Axon Growth to Synaptic Plasticity
Mu-MingPoo, Ph.D.
Universityof California, Berkeley and Institute of Neuroscience, ChineseAcademy of Sciences
Saturday,Nov. 12, 5:15 p.m. to 6:25 p.m.
Neurotrophinswere first identified as target-derived factors that promote neuronaldifferentiation and survival. Over the past decades, they also werefound to regulate neuronal differentiation, axonal and dendriticgrowth, synapse formation and plasticity, as well as cognition andbehavior. This lecture provides a retrospective view of the evolvingconcepts in the study of neurotrophins, with some highlights onrecent findings on the role of neurotrophins in axon development andsynaptic plasticity.

TheBasal Ganglia: Binding Values to Action
AnnM. Graybiel, Ph.D.
MassachusettsInstitute of Technology
Sunday,Nov. 13, 5:15 p.m. to 6:25 p.m.
Thislecture will summarize evidence that neural activity in cortico-basalganglia circuits can exhibit high levels of flexibility related tovalue-based decision-making and adaptive behavior, but also canbecome overly fixed despite the need for change. This interplaybetween flexibility and fixity, if imbalanced, may underliedysfunctions leading to motor and neuropsychiatric problems in basalganglia-based disorders.

Genes,the Environment, and Decisions: How Fixed Circuits Generate FlexibleBehaviors
CorneliaI. Bargmann, Ph.D.
Monday,Nov. 14, 5:15 p.m. to 6:25 p.m.
Howdo genes and the environment interact to generate flexible behaviors?How are behavioral decisions modified by context and experience?Genetic variation, internal states and environmental conditionsconverge on common neuronal circuits to regulate behaviors in thenematode worm C.elegans. Analysis ofthese circuits shows the detailed wiring diagram of C.elegans is bothincomplete and ambiguous, because modulatory inputs invisible in theanatomical wiring change the flow of information.

TheEpigenetic Basis of Common Human Disease
AndrewP. Feinberg, M.D., MPH
JohnsHopkins University School of Medicine
Tuesday,Nov. 15, 5:15 p.m. to 6:25 p.m.
Epigeneticsis the study of heritable information other than the sequence of DNA.We are taking an integrated approach to catalyze the generalizationof gene-specific to genomic epigenetics and to advance the focus fromcancer to common disease. Doing this requires an integration of newconceptual, technological, epidemiological and statisticalapproaches. Epigenetic variation influenced by genetic variants couldhelp mediate complex traits. We have identified sites of stochasticepigenetic variation in the genome that are stably linked to traitssuch as body mass index.

Improvedmember directory launched this spring

WASHINGTON,D.C.—April saw the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) launch a new"Enhanced Member Directory" (EMD) to give its members "a greatnew resource for finding colleagues around the world." The EMD isaccessible only to fellow SfN members, the society notes, "so youcan share your fields of study, contact information and biographicalinformation within a trusted community." According to SfN,populating the EMD was the first step toward the launch ofNeurOnLine, SfN's members-only online community that launched in thesummer. Designed to engage members at all career levels, NeurOnLine"will keep you plugged in to the global SfN membership community,"the organization maintains.

NeuroJobsgets a facelift

WASHINGTON,D.C.—Early July saw SfN change up the technology platform for theNeuroJobs online professional development offering, giving it whatthe organization calls "a new look and enhanced features to helpyou find jobs even faster. New features include: advanced searchoptions with "cloud filters," an intuitive and visual way to sortand customize your job search results; saved job searches; enhancedjob alerts, allowing users to establish a search and receive anautomatic notification whenever a matching job is posted; GoogleMaps, so that job-seekers can now assess potential commutes rightfrom the job detail screen; social media integration to more easilyaccess NeuroJobs on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and to post andfind positions using all three networking sites; job applicationpreviews; and a searchable portfolio.

Onlinefunding directory available

WASHINGTON,D.C.—A new online offering appeared in mid-August courtesy of SfN,called the "SfN Directory of International Sources of NeuroscienceFunding." This resource is for members seeking information aboutinternational sources of funding for neuroscience. The onlinedirectory provides information about agencies, programs andopportunities for research grants, fellowships and other types offunding available by region and country. SfN will continue to updatethe directory as it learns about new opportunities, and SfN membersare encouraged to submit updates and information about additionalresources to

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