The interconnectedness of neurons within circuits may be critical for selective vulnerability to neurodegenerative disease.

In this symposium, we aim to bring together leaders in diverse fields of neurodegenerative and neurological disorders to share and discuss the latest discoveries on the relationship of neuronal assemblies to disease progression and propagation. We hope the meeting will expose commonalities of circuit dysfunction across neurodegenerative disorders that could spur new therapeutic approaches.

SPEAKERS

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Adriano Aguzzi, M.D., Ph.D., is professor and director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich. His research career has focused entirely on prions, exploring how they dam- age brain cells, why they accumulate in lymphoid organs, and how they reach the brain after entering the body from peripheral sites. Prof. Aguzzi has been Associate Dean for research at the University of Zurich Medical School, and president of the Swiss Society of Neuropathology. He is the Founder and Director of the Swiss National Reference Center for Prion Diseases. Among other honours, Prof. Aguzzi has won 2009 the Antonio-Feltrinelli Prize in Rome, as well as the medal of the European molecular biology organisation.

Adriano Aguzzi, M.D., Ph.D., is professor and director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich. His research career has focused entirely on prions, exploring how they dam- age brain cells, why they accumulate in lymphoid organs, and how they reach the brain after entering the body from peripheral sites. Prof. Aguzzi has been Associate Dean for research at the University of Zurich Medical School, and president of the Swiss Society of Neuropathology. He is the Founder and Director of the Swiss National Reference Center for Prion Diseases. Among other honours, Prof. Aguzzi has won 2009 the Antonio-Feltrinelli Prize in Rome, as well as the medal of the European molecular biology organisation.

Adriano Aguzzi 

University of Zurich

Since 2012, Dr. Patrik Brundin is the Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science and the inaugural holder of the Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson Research at the Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.. He obtained his M.D. (1992) and Ph.D. (1988) at Lund University in Sweden where he was Professor of Neuroscience in 2000-2014. 

Since 2012, Dr. Patrik Brundin is the Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science and the inaugural holder of the Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson Research at the Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.. He obtained his M.D. (1992) and Ph.D. (1988) at Lund University in Sweden where he was Professor of Neuroscience in 2000-2014. 

PATRICK BRUNDIN 

Van Andel Institute Michigan  

By applying morphological, biochemical, electrophysiological methods and modern imaging approaches the lab of Dr. Herms is best known for its work on synaptic dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, basic studies have been conducted on the physiological synaptic function of proteins critically involved in these diseases, namely the Prion protein, tau, a-Synuclein, Presenilins and the Amyloid precursor protein. As one of the first labs in Europe he established long-term in vivo 2P imaging in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases in order to understand the kinetics of spine loss and dendritic destruction throughout the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

By applying morphological, biochemical, electrophysiological methods and modern imaging approaches the lab of Dr. Herms is best known for its work on synaptic dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, basic studies have been conducted on the physiological synaptic function of proteins critically involved in these diseases, namely the Prion protein, tau, a-Synuclein, Presenilins and the Amyloid precursor protein. As one of the first labs in Europe he established long-term in vivo 2P imaging in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases in order to understand the kinetics of spine loss and dendritic destruction throughout the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

JOCHEN HERMS 

LMU Munich

Dr. Jia-Yi Li is a Professor of Neuroscience at Lund University Sweden since 2011. He received a medical degree from Luzhou Medical College, China, in 1982; Master degree in West-China University of Medical Sciences in 1988 and a Ph.D in neurobiology at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995. He led the first report of Lewy pathology spread in Parkinson patients who received neural transplantation. His current research is focused on studying molecular and cellular mechanisms of propagation of Parkinson pathology and subsequent impaired neuronal function and induced cell death, aiming for novel therapeutics.

Dr. Jia-Yi Li is a Professor of Neuroscience at Lund University Sweden since 2011. He received a medical degree from Luzhou Medical College, China, in 1982; Master degree in West-China University of Medical Sciences in 1988 and a Ph.D in neurobiology at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995. He led the first report of Lewy pathology spread in Parkinson patients who received neural transplantation. His current research is focused on studying molecular and cellular mechanisms of propagation of Parkinson pathology and subsequent impaired neuronal function and induced cell death, aiming for novel therapeutics.

JIA-YI LI 

Lund University

Dr. Bertolotti obtained her Ph.D. from Strasbourg University (France), and did a post doc at The Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, NYU, New York. She has been a group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology since 2006, an INSERM scientist since 2001, was elected an EMBO Young Investigator in 2005, was awarded an ERC consolidator grant in 2013, became and EMBO member in 2013 and won the Hooke Medal in 2014.

Dr. Bertolotti obtained her Ph.D. from Strasbourg University (France), and did a post doc at The Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, NYU, New York. She has been a group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology since 2006, an INSERM scientist since 2001, was elected an EMBO Young Investigator in 2005, was awarded an ERC consolidator grant in 2013, became and EMBO member in 2013 and won the Hooke Medal in 2014.

ANNE BERTOLOTTI

MRC LMB Cambridge  

Dr. Dauer is the Elinor Levine Professor of Neurology and Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine where he directs the Movement Disorders Group and the Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research. Following undergraduate education at Duke University, he received his MD from Washington University in St. Louis. He then spent two years in the laboratory of Dr. Steve Hyman at The MGH working on the molecular switch that converts the neurotransmitter phenotype of neural crest derivatives. After a year of medical internship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, he moved to New York to complete a neurology residency at Columbia University, followed by fellowship training in movement disorders with Dr. Stanley Fahn. He then pursued work in the laboratory of Dr. Rene Hén as a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Fellow, developing some of the first mouse models of Parkinson disease and dystonia. He joined the faculty at Columbia, and later moved to the University of Michigan where he currently directs a laboratory focused on dissecting the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of motor circuit disorders with a focus on unraveling the mechanisms of selective neuronal vulnerability.

Dr. Dauer is the Elinor Levine Professor of Neurology and Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine where he directs the Movement Disorders Group and the Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research. Following undergraduate education at Duke University, he received his MD from Washington University in St. Louis. He then spent two years in the laboratory of Dr. Steve Hyman at The MGH working on the molecular switch that converts the neurotransmitter phenotype of neural crest derivatives. After a year of medical internship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, he moved to New York to complete a neurology residency at Columbia University, followed by fellowship training in movement disorders with Dr. Stanley Fahn. He then pursued work in the laboratory of Dr. Rene Hén as a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Fellow, developing some of the first mouse models of Parkinson disease and dystonia. He joined the faculty at Columbia, and later moved to the University of Michigan where he currently directs a laboratory focused on dissecting the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of motor circuit disorders with a focus on unraveling the mechanisms of selective neuronal vulnerability.

WILLIAM DAUER

University of Michigan

Dr. Hussaini received his PhD in Neurobiology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. In his postdoctoral training at Columbia University in the Department of Neuroscience, he studied the function of hippocampal neurons and entorhinal cortex neurons that are involved in spatial memory and navigation. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. He is interested in the neurobiology of aging and Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Hussaini received his PhD in Neurobiology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. In his postdoctoral training at Columbia University in the Department of Neuroscience, he studied the function of hippocampal neurons and entorhinal cortex neurons that are involved in spatial memory and navigation. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology. He is interested in the neurobiology of aging and Alzheimer's disease.

Abid Hussaini

Columbia University New York  

Dr. Liebscher studied Medicine in Dresden, Germany from 2000-2007, where she also conducted her medical thesis research. After medical school SL joined the lab of Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA (2007-2008). Subsequently she returned to Germany and joined both the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology (Mark Hübener, Tobias Bonhoeffer) and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (Christian Haass) to pursue her PhD, in which she employed in vivo two-photon imaging to assess structural and functional alterations of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. Since 2014 she is running her own group (as of 2017 as an Emmy Noether group leader) - studying cellular and circuit mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and autoimmune encephalitis - and is working as a resident in neurology.

Dr. Liebscher studied Medicine in Dresden, Germany from 2000-2007, where she also conducted her medical thesis research. After medical school SL joined the lab of Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA (2007-2008). Subsequently she returned to Germany and joined both the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology (Mark Hübener, Tobias Bonhoeffer) and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (Christian Haass) to pursue her PhD, in which she employed in vivo two-photon imaging to assess structural and functional alterations of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. Since 2014 she is running her own group (as of 2017 as an Emmy Noether group leader) - studying cellular and circuit mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and autoimmune encephalitis - and is working as a resident in neurology.

Sabine Liebscher 

LMU Munich

Dr. Borchelt has been with the University of Florida since April of 2005 as Director of the SantaFe HealthCare Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He has authored, or co-authored, more than 150 research papers focusing on human neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Borchelt received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1986 where he studied the regulation of retrovirus gene expression. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Borchelt worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Stanley Prusiner at the University of California in San Francisco. 

Dr. Borchelt has been with the University of Florida since April of 2005 as Director of the SantaFe HealthCare Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. He has authored, or co-authored, more than 150 research papers focusing on human neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Borchelt received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1986 where he studied the regulation of retrovirus gene expression. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Borchelt worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Stanley Prusiner at the University of California in San Francisco. 

David BORCHELT

University of Florida

Marc Diamond, M.D., is a native of Berkeley, California. He graduated from Princeton University in 1987 with an A.B. in History. He entered the UCSF School of Medicine in 1987, and he carried out research on transcriptional regulation by the glucocorticoid receptor for two years with Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D. as a Howard Hughes Medical Student Research Fellow. Dr. Diamond received his M.D. from UCSF in 1993 where he also completed an internship, residency, and chief residency in Neurology in 1997. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Yamamoto until 2001, working on polyglutamine disease. He joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at UCSF from 2002-2009, before moving to Washington University in St. Louis in 2009, as the David Clayson Professor of Neurology. He joined the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2014 as the founding director of the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Marc Diamond, M.D., is a native of Berkeley, California. He graduated from Princeton University in 1987 with an A.B. in History. He entered the UCSF School of Medicine in 1987, and he carried out research on transcriptional regulation by the glucocorticoid receptor for two years with Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D. as a Howard Hughes Medical Student Research Fellow. Dr. Diamond received his M.D. from UCSF in 1993 where he also completed an internship, residency, and chief residency in Neurology in 1997. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Yamamoto until 2001, working on polyglutamine disease. He joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at UCSF from 2002-2009, before moving to Washington University in St. Louis in 2009, as the David Clayson Professor of Neurology. He joined the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2014 as the founding director of the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

MARC DIAMOND

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Hilal A. Lashuel received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the City University of New York in 1994 and completed his doctoral studies at Texas A&M University and the Scripps Research Institute in 2000. After obtaining his doctoral degree, he joined the Picower Institute for Medical Research in Long Island New York as a research. In 2001, he moved to Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women's Hospital as a research fellow in the Center for Neurologic Diseases and was later promoted to an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. In 2005 Dr. Lashuel moved Switzerland to join the Brain Mind Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) as a tenure-track assistant professor in neurosciences. Currently, Dr. Lashuel is an associate professor of life sciences and the director of the laboratory of molecular and chemical biology of neurodegeneration

Dr. Hilal A. Lashuel received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the City University of New York in 1994 and completed his doctoral studies at Texas A&M University and the Scripps Research Institute in 2000. After obtaining his doctoral degree, he joined the Picower Institute for Medical Research in Long Island New York as a research. In 2001, he moved to Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women's Hospital as a research fellow in the Center for Neurologic Diseases and was later promoted to an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School. In 2005 Dr. Lashuel moved Switzerland to join the Brain Mind Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) as a tenure-track assistant professor in neurosciences. Currently, Dr. Lashuel is an associate professor of life sciences and the director of the laboratory of molecular and chemical biology of neurodegeneration

HILAL LASHUEL

EPFL Lausanne

Dr. Magdalini Polymenidou is an Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich and her lab is investigating the molecular pathways triggering neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), with focus on the interplay between protein aggregation and RNA misregulation, characterizing both diseases. Originally trained as a pharmacist in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), she received her PhD in 2006 on prion diseases in the laboratory of Adriano Aguzzi at the University Hospital of Zurich (Switzerland). In 2008, she joined the group of Don Cleveland at the University of California in San Diego (USA) as a postdoctoral fellow, where she used genome-wide approaches to decipher the function of RNA-binding proteins associated with ALS and FTD. Among other honors, she has received the Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship, the K99 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Career Development Award from the Human Frontier Science Program and the Georg-Friedrich Götz Prize from the University of Zurich

Dr. Magdalini Polymenidou is an Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich and her lab is investigating the molecular pathways triggering neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), with focus on the interplay between protein aggregation and RNA misregulation, characterizing both diseases. Originally trained as a pharmacist in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), she received her PhD in 2006 on prion diseases in the laboratory of Adriano Aguzzi at the University Hospital of Zurich (Switzerland). In 2008, she joined the group of Don Cleveland at the University of California in San Diego (USA) as a postdoctoral fellow, where she used genome-wide approaches to decipher the function of RNA-binding proteins associated with ALS and FTD. Among other honors, she has received the Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship, the K99 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Career Development Award from the Human Frontier Science Program and the Georg-Friedrich Götz Prize from the University of Zurich

Magda Polymenidou 

University of Zurich