Cambridge Neuroscience Event

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The Cambridge Clinical Neuroscience and Mental Health Symposium


29th - 30th September 2009


West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge


We are pleased to announce the Cambridge Clinical Neuroscience and Mental Health Symposium, 29th - 30th September 2009, to be held at the West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.

The Symposium will present the science and practice of brain sciences and mental health with an emphasis on disorders that are common and place a large burden on society. We have selected six cross-cutting themes that highlight the principles of contemporary translational neuroscience.

Symposium Sessions include:

  1. Genes to Endophenotype
  2. Pathways and Pathogenesis
  3. Early Detection and Biomarkers
  4. Decision-making
  5. Mechanism-based Therapeutics
  6. Injury and Repair

We have an exciting line up of local and international speakers, who will discuss their research on Addiction, Alzheimer's and Dementia, Depression, Huntington's Disease, Mood Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Obesity, Pain, Parkinson's Disease, Schizophrenia, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

This event provides an opportunity for Cambridge Neuroscientists to present their work to colleagues as well as be inspired by the latest research from leaders in the field. To present a scientific poster at this Symposium please submit your abstract, via the registration page, by the 30th June 2009.

The first day of the main Symposium (29th September) will conclude with a public music recital orchestrated by Dr. Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Composer in Residence at the Department of Psychiatry, Cambridge. The second day (30th September) will close with a Cambridge Neuroscience dinner and Ceilidh Dance.

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With Plenary Lectures by:


Dr. Daniel Weinberger, National Institute of Health, U.S.A.

The simple truth about the genetic complexity of schizophrenia

Dr. Weinberger is Director of the Genes, Cognition, and Psychosis Program of the Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

He attended college at the Johns Hopkins University and medical school at the University of Pennsylvanian and did residencies in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and in neurology at George Washington University. He is board certified in both psychiatry and neurology.

Dr. Weinberger's research at the NIMH has focused on brain mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, especially schizophrenia. His work has defined dysfunctional neural systems in the brain that appear to underlie many of the clinical symptoms of the illness. He was instrumental in focusing research on the role of abnormal brain development as a risk factor for schizophrenia. His lab has identified the first specific genetic mechanism of risk for schizophrenia, and the first genetic effects that account for variation in specific human cognitive functions and in human temperament. In addition, he and his colleagues developed the first high fidelity animal model of schizophrenia. In 2003, Science magazine highlighted the genetic research of his lab as the second biggest scientific breakthrough of the year, second to the origins of the cosmos.

He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the NIH Directors Award, The William K. Warren Medical Research Institute Award, the Adolf Meyer Prize of the American Psychiatric Association, the Research Prize of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, the Gold Medal Award of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, the Foundation's Fund Prize from the American Psychiatric Association, and the Lieber Prize of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders. He is past president of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, past President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He sits on the editorial boards of sixteen scientific journals. He has published over four hundred scientific articles and has authored or edited six books.

Dr. Mark Hallett, Human Motor Control Section, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, U.S.A.

Selective motor control and focal dystonia

Dr. Hallett obtained his M.D. at Harvard University and trained in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had fellowships in Neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health and at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. From 1976 to 1984, Dr. Hallett was the Chief of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. From 1984, he has been at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke where he serves as Chief of the Human Motor Control Section and pursues research on the Physiology of Human Movement Disorders and other problems of Motor Control. He also served as Clinical Director of NINDS until July 2000. He is past President of the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine and the Movement Disorder Society. He also served as Vice-President of the American Academy of Neurology. He is an Associate Editor of Brain and has just taken over as the Editor in Chief of World Neurology. Currently he also serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Neurophysiology, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, Annals of Neurology, The Cerebellum, NeuroTherapeutics, and European Neurology. The main work of his group focuses on the physiology and pathophysiology of movement. Dr. Hallett's interests in Motor Control are wide-ranging, and include brain plasticity and its relevance to neurological disorders and the pathophysiology of dystonia, parkinsonism, and myoclonus. Recently he has become interested in disorders of volition, including tic and psychogenic movement disorders.

Professor Ray Dolan, University College London, U.K.

Emotion, value and the tyranny of choice

Ray Dolan is Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry at UCL and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL. His research is concerned with a neurobiological characterisation of human emotion and how it interacts with other components of cognition, particularly attention memory and decision making. An emphasis in his recent work has been to link activation patterns seen during functional neuroimaging experiments to theoretical models, particularly models from reinforcement learning theory. He is among the top 5 most cited scientists in the world in the field of Neuroscience and Behaviour, and the author of 350 original papers. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including an Alexander Von Humboldt Research International Research Award for Outstanding Scholars (2004), the Kenneth Craik Research Award (2006), the Minerva Foundation Golden Brain Award (2006) and the prestigious International Max Planck Research Award (2007).

Dr. Nora Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S.A.

Conflict between brain circuits

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., became Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health in May 2003. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction.

Dr. Volkow's work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. As a research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects of drugs and their addictive properties. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting the actions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure and the decline of brain dopamine function with age. She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and the behavioral changes that occur with aging.

Dr. Volkow spent most of her professional career at the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, where she held several leadership positions including Director of Nuclear Medicine, Chairman of the Medical Department, and Associate Director for Life Sciences. In addition, Dr. Volkow was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Associate Dean of the Medical School at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Stony Brook. Dr. Volkow has published more than 380 peer-reviewed articles and more than 60 book chapters and non-peer reviewed manuscripts, and has also edited three books on the use of neuroimaging in studying mental and addictive disorders. During her professional career, Dr. Volkow has been the recipient of multiple awards, including her selection for membership in the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences. She was recently named one of Time Magazine's "Top 100 People Who Shape our World", and was included as one of the 20 people to watch by Newsweek magazine in its "Who's Next in 2007" feature. She was also named "Innovator of the Year" by U.S. News & World Report in 2000.

Dr. Ron McKay, National Institute of Health, U.S.A.

Controlling stem cells in health and disease

Dr. McKay received a B.Sc. in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under the tutelage of Edwin Southern examining DNA organization and chromosome structure. He received postdoctoral training at University of Oxford working with Walter Bodner examining restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLPs). In 1978 he became a senior staff investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory concentrating on two areas: the interaction of SV40 T-antigen with the specific binding site at the viral origin of replication and the molecular organization of the nervous system. Joining the MIT faculty in 1984, Dr. McKay continued to examine different aspects of neuronal organization in the nervous system. In 1993 he came to NINDS as chief of the Laboratory of Molecular biology. His laboratory is studying stem cell differentiation.

Dr. Wayne Drevets, National Institute of Health, U.S.A.

Neurological Studies of Rewards Processing In Major Depression

Dr. Drevets will give the 2009 Paykel Lecture on the 28th September, 6:30 pm at the Martin Cohen Lecture Theatre, Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Research Institute.

Dr. Drevets received his B.S. in Biology from Wheaton College and his M.D. degree from the University of Kansas. He joined the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University Medical School where he rose to the rank of tenured Associate Professor. During these years he conducted positron emission tomography (PET) imaging studies of mood and anxiety disorders under the mentorship of Dr. Marcus Raichle. He moved to the University of Pittsburgh, where he continued to study brain imaging and acquired additional training in the application of PET to receptor imaging. In 2001, Dr. Drevets joined the NIMH Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program as a Senior Investigator. He is currently involved in research employing PET and MRI technologies to better understand mood and anxiety disorders.

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Programme at a Glance

In addition to Plenary Lectures we have outstanding local scientists presenting their work in the Cambridge Clinical Neuroscience and Mental Health fields.

Please click here for the full symposium programme and event website.

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Please click here for the map.

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Registration for the Cambridge Clinical Neuroscience and Mental Health Symposium is now closed, with the venue at full capacity and over 500 delegates registered and over scientific 80 posters on display.

Click here to register for this event.Back to top


We are grateful to the following for their generous support, making this event possible:

Astrazeneca, Brain, Cambridge University Press, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline (Neurosciences CEDD and the Clinical Unit Cambridge), Merck, Medical Research Council, Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Wellcome Trust.

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