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Neuroscience 2021 to Offer Research, Industry Insight in Hybrid Format

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When the 50th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) kicks off this fall, its signature trade show, Neuroscience 2021, will be held both as a virtual event (Nov. 8-11) and as an in-person gathering at the McCormick Center in Chicago (Nov. 13-16). Regardless of which venue attendees choose, they can count on learning about the latest brain science research from top neuroscientists, as well as about technologies developed by myriad companies to image and analyze the brain’s growth — or regression, in the case of neurodegenerative disease — as well as its functioning.

A Presidential Special Lecture will be given by Grégoire Courtine, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, who will speak on “Spinal Cord Gateways to Restore Neurological Functions.” He will discuss optical technologies that he has used in his work, including a device for wireless, closed-loop optogenetics over the dorsolateral extent (back and sides) of the spinal cord, and light-sheet microscopy over the entire nervous system. Courtine’s research has focused on spinal cord injuries, and the dorsolateral region involves the nerve communications of sensations including pain and touch.

The McCormick Center, where the in-person Neuroscience 2021 event will be held. Courtesy of McCormick Place.

The McCormick Center, where the in-person Neuroscience 2021 event will be held. Courtesy of McCormick Place.

Other Presidential Special Lectures will be given by Freda Miller of the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto, whose lecture is titled “From Development to Repair: How Growth Factors and Stem Cells Build the Brain”; Dana Small of Yale University, who will speak on “Integration of Mind and Metabolism”; and Sarah Tabrizi of the University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology, who will speak on “New Genetic Therapies for Huntington’s Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases.”

Featured and special lectures cover topics ranging from neuroprosthetics to the brain’s sensors and motor systems. In a special lecture, Lin Tian of the University of California, Davis will discuss “Watching the Brain in Action — Creating Tools for Functional Analysis of Neural Circuitry.” She and her team discovered genetically encoded indicators that provide optical readings of neurotransmitters, enabling insight into the effects of chemical inputs on brain circuitry.

Numerous symposia and minisymposia will also be included, on themes such as neurogenerative disorders and injury, integrative psychology and behavior, and motivation and emotion.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, experts in a series of moderated panel discussions will focus on the history and evolution of neuroscience, including “Celebration of Women in Neuroscience” and “Studying Human Neurodevelopment and Diseases Using 3D Organoids.” The Then and Now Panel will focus on “What Makes a Model Nervous System?” And Dual Perspectives will feature a discussion titled “Can Artificial Intelligence Provide a Theoretical Framework for Understanding the Brain or Is It Too Far Removed from Physiology to Be Useful?”

Courtesy of the Society for Neuroscience.

Courtesy of the Society for Neuroscience.

Other elements of Neuroscience 2021 will include virtual poster presentations with several scientists engaged in conversation, as well as both virtual and in-person exhibitions by companies that offer product lines or technologies in the neuroscience realm.

“The reimagining of the virtual posters invigorates a part of the program that has proven especially challenging in a virtual format,” said SfN Program Chairwoman Sheena Josselyn. “By creating up to 1000 live online discussions among those with related research, we are looking to expand digital networking and discussion that will take place in person in Chicago.”

The virtual portion of the event will be held from Monday to Thursday, Nov. 8-11. The in-person event will be held from Saturday to Tuesday, Nov. 13-16. COVID-19 vaccinations and masks will be required, and other safety protocols will also be implemented, said SfN. Special virtual and in-person events will be held each day to celebrate the annual meeting’s 50th anniversary. For more information about Neuroscience 2021, visit

Sep/Oct 2021
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