Cambridge Neuroscience Event

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‘Ion Channels in Health and Disease: a symposium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley’


16th-17th September, 2013


West Road Concert Hall


Alan Hodgkin (1914-1998) and Andrew Huxley (1917-2012) published in 1952 a series of papers in The Journal of Physiology, which have revolutionised our understanding of neuronal function. They described in detail the conductances that underlie the action potential and proposed a model for its generation that still represents a gold standard of quantitative neuroscience. Our Symposium aims to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize to Hodgkin and Huxley, by highlighting arguably the most general and important implication of their work, the existence and function of ion channels.

This is an international meeting, open to delegates from Cambridge and elsewhere. Registration is heavily subsidised so that people working in neuroscience at all stages of their careers can benefit from the scientific interactions and lectures given by 25 speakers - 9 from the University of Cambridge, 6 based in the UK or other parts of Europe, and 10 from elsewhere in the world. We are expecting around 500 attendees, the full capacity of the West Road Concert Hall.

Reception and Gala Conference Dinner at Trinity College:

Since Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley were both former Masters of Trinity College, Cambridge, the symposium will be opened by the present Master, Sir Greg Winter, who will host a reception in the Master's Lodge before the dinner at Trinity College (places are limited so register soon).

Nan]i[ion workshop

Nan]i[ion will hold an informal workshop (lecture and demonstration) on Tuesday 17th for 40 minutes (13.30-14.10) during lunch break in Lecture Room 4. Registration is advisable and available at the Nan]i[on booth. 

Poster exhibition:

There will be a poster exhibition held during the conference with generous prizes. Posters can cover any of the five themes of Cambridge Neuroscience

Please note that poster boards will be 1 metre (w) by 2 metres (h). The optimum size for posters is A0 portrait (i.e. 841mm (w) x 1189mm (h)). If your poster is already printed and does not fit these requirements, please contact Dervila Glynn.

Public Engagement Programme:

As part of this celebratory conference, we are delighted to be able to host events that will be open to the public.

Professor Nicky Clayton and Mr Clive Wilkins will present ‘Thinking beyond words’, a dance performance representing a unique collaboration between neuroscience and the arts. Nicky Clayton is Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge and Scientist in Residence at Rambert Dance Company. Clive Wilkins is an independent fine artist, creative writer, performer and teacher. For more information on their collaboration, please read their blog.

Professor Fran Ashcroft (University of Oxford) will deliver the public lecture (sponsored by Neusentis) on 'The Spark of Life'.

The Hodgkin-Huxley Exhibition (sponsored by CED) will feature a range of equipment and memorabilia and will run along side the conference. 

Registration and Abstract submission will close on Friday 16th August 2013.

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The Alan Hodgkin Lecture

Professor Bert Sakmann, Max Planck Institue of Neurobiology, Germany

Title: Cortical Circuits

The Andrew Huxley Lecture

Professor Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University, USA

Title: “Optical deconstruction of fully-­‐assembled biological systems


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Programme at a Glance


Symposium Day One: Monday 16th September, 2013


Registration and coffee from 08.00

Opening of the Symposium

Chair: Professor Ole Paulsen / Dr Hugh Robinson, Dept of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

08.45-09.00            Welcome by The Master of Trinity College, Sir Gregory Winter

09.00-09.40            Professor King-Wai Yau, John Hopkins University, USA

<The History and Legacy of Hodgkin and Huxley>

09.40-10.10            Refreshments                         

Session One: Voltage-gated ion channels 1: Sodium channels and neuronal excitability in association with Neusentis

Chair: Professor Alastair Compston, Department of Clinical Neurosciences

10.10-10.50            Professor Bill Catterall, University of Washington, USA

Structure and function of voltage-gated sodium channels at atomic resolution”

10.50-11.20            Professor Simon Laughlin, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

”Why does a low power brain use high power action potentials?”

11.20-12.00            Professor Stephen Waxman, Yale School of Medicine, USA

Fire, Fantoms and Fugu: Sodium Channels from Squid to Clinic

12.00-13.15            Lunch and Poster Session / Hodgkin-Huxley exhibition

Session Two: Ligand-gated ion channels 1: Glutamate receptors and synaptic transmission in association with Takeda

Chair: Professor Maria Grazia Spillantini

13.15-13.55            Professor Shigetada Nakanishi, Osaka Bioscience Institute, Japan

 “Molecular diversity and synaptic mechanisms of glutamate receptors”

13.55-14.25            Dr Ingo Greger, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, Cambridge

 “AMPA receptors - from assembly in the ER to function at synapses

14.25-15.05            Professor Dennis Selkoe, Harvard Medical School, USA

 “Perturbations of neuronal receptor and channel functions in Alzheimer's Disease suggest therapeutic targets

15.05-15.35            Refreshments

Session Three: Channels in circuits

Chair: Professor Trevor Robbins, Department of Psychology

15.35-16.15            Professor Troy Margrie, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK

 “Biophysical diversity and connectivity of neuronal networks” 

16.15-16.45            Professor Ed Bullmore, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge

 “Brain connectomics from macro to micro

16.45-17.30            The Alan Hodgkin Lecture in association with MedImmune

 Professor Bert Sakmann, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Germany

 “Cortical circuits”

18.30-19.30            Reception at Trinity College hosted by the Master, Sir Gregory Winter.

19.30-22.30            Conference Dinner at Trinity College

  After dinner speech by Professor Denis Baylor, Stanford University



Symposium Day Two: Tuesday 17th September, 2013


Session Four: TRP channels in health and disease in association with Molecular Devices

Chair: Professor Ole Paulsen

09.00-09.30           Professor Peter McNaughton, Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge

”Modulation of TRP channels - fundamental mechanisms and in vivo significance"

09.30-10.00           Professor Roger Hardie, Department of PDN, University of Cambridge

”TRP channels and phototransduction in Drosophila”

10.00-10.30           Professor David Julius, University of California, USA

"From Peppers to Pit Vipers: Molecular mechanisms of thermosensation and pain”

10.30-11.00           Professor Michael Tymianski, University of Toronto, Canada

“Role of TRPM7 channels in ischemic cell death”

11.00-11.25            Refreshments


Session Five: Voltage-gated ion channels 2: Potassium channels and neuronal function

Chair: Professor Bill Harris, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

11.25-12.05           Professor Lily Jan, Howard Hughes Medical Centre, USA

”Voltage-gated potassium channels in health and disease”

12.05-12.35           Dr Hugh Robinson, Department of PDN, University of Cambridge

“Potassium channels and spike patterns in cortical interneurons”

12.35-13.15           Professor Dimitri Kullmann, University College London, UK

”Shaker potassium channels: from genetic disease to gene therapy”

13.15-14.25            Lunch and Poster Session / Hodgkin-Huxley exhibition/Nan]i[on Workshop


Session Six: Ligand-gated channels 2

Chair: Professor Eric Barnard, Department of Pharmacology

14.25-14.55           Dr Nigel Unwin, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, Cambridge

“Gating movement of the acetylcholine receptor caught by plunge-freezing”  

14.55-15.25            Professor Sarah Lummis, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

“The ABC of 5-HT3 receptors”

15.25-16.00            Professor Angela Vincent, University of Oxford, UK

“Antibodies and ion channels”

16.00-16.30            Refreshments

Session Seven: Light-activated channels and brain networks

Chair: Professor Wolfram Schultz, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

16.30-17.10           Professor Peter Hegemann, Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, Germany

“Light-gated ion transport: speed, direction, selectivity and limitations”

17.10-17.40           Professor Ole Paulsen, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

“The use of optogenetics to study neural plasticity”

17.40-18.25           The Andrew Huxley Lecture in association with Zeiss

 Professor Karl Deisseroth, Stanford University, USA

 “Optical deconstruction of fully-assembled biological systems”

Public Programme and Outreach Lecture in association with Neusentis:

Chair: Professor Barbara Sahakian, Department of Psychiatry

18.25-18.30            Public arrive

18.30-18.45            ‘Thinking Beyond Words’, Professor Nicola Clayton & Mr. Clive Wilkins

18.45-19.30            Professor Fran Ashcroft, University of Oxford, UK

  'The Spark of Life'

19.30-20.30            Drinks reception

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Please click here for directions to the West Road Concert Hall.

Map showing location of West Road Concert Hall

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Registration fees are heavily subsidised and include refreshments and lunch on both days, an evening wine reception on September 17th 2013, in addition to admittance to all talks. Please note that attendance at the Gala Conference dinner and drinks reception at Trinity College is charged in addition to registration.


Cambridge Neuroscientists: please register as normal. We will be collecting your payment on a Departmental basis so please provide your group leader's name and account code checking with your PI first. If you are paying for yourself, please use the online payment system. Please note that cheques or cash will not be accepted on the day of the conference.

Undergraduates - £30

Emeritus member - £30

Postgraduate students, Research Assistants - £35.00

Postdocs, Faculty/PI and other - £50.00

Reception at the Master’s Lodge and Gala conference dinner at Trinity College - £45

Academics not from Cambridge: Please register as normal before paying using the online payment system. Please note that cheques or cash will not be accepted on the day of the conference.

The booking system accepts all major credit/debit cards apart from American Express.

Undergraduates - £90.00

Postgraduate students, Research Assistants - £90.00

Postdocs, Faculty/PI and other - £140.00

Reception at the Master’s Lodge and Gala conference dinner at Trinity College - £60


Industry or other: Please register as normal before paying using the online payment system or provide an address for your invoice to be sent to. Please note that cheques or cash will not be accepted on the day of the conference.

Conference registration - £160

Reception at the Master’s Lodge and Gala conference dinner at Trinity College - £60


Please get in touch if there are 10 are more delegates in your group for details of College accommodation and group discount rates. 


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Please contact Dr Dervila Glynn for more information on the different sponsorship opportunities available.

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We anticipate over 500 Cambridge Neuroscientists attending this 2-day international conference from over 40 different Neuroscience related Departments and Institutions affiliated with the University of Cambridge. For further information regarding Cambridge Neuroscience, please visit our website:

Registration for this event is heavily subsidised and the evening public lecture is free of charge. As such, we are asking for sponsorship donations and offering exhibition space for suppliers to showcase their products to our research scientists.

We have some exciting sponsorship packages this year, including invitations to the gala conference dinner at Trinity College and increased contact time for sponsors with the conference delegates during the poster sessions. This could be an excellent opportunity for your company to communicate that it is making a significant investment in Neuroscience in Cambridge.

Please contact Dr Dervila Glynn for more information on the different sponsorship opportunities available.

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Please contact Dr Dervila Glynn for more information.

Accommodation and spending time in Cambridge

For everything you need to know about Cambridge including reserving accommodation for your stay in one of the Cambridge Colleges, please see the Conference Cambridge website. Here you will find details about transport, parking, guided tours and a ‘What’s on’ guide to help you plan your time while in Cambridge.

In addition, there are several city centre hotels and guesthouses in Cambridge, which offer a wide range of accommodation with something to suit every taste and budget. Please see the official website for visiting Cambridge and the surrounding area for more details.

We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge!

Further events

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