MidBrains 2020 is being hosted by Augustana College on Saturday, October 3, 2020.  Due to restrictions on the size of in-person gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MidBrains conference will be held virtually this year using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. Rest assured that MidBrains will still include opportunities for one-on-one interaction with representatives from graduate programs and a keynote address and undergraduate poster session full of great science!  

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, there is no cost to attend the conference, however all attendees must register for the conference in order to access the virtual sessions. First authors of undergraduate poster presentations will also need to complete the poster submission process. Poster submission will close on Friday, September 18th, and Registration will close on Monday, September 28th.  You can find more information at the Register/Submit Poster link in the menu to the right. 

Keynote Address

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Ramirez from Boston University will be delivering the keynote address for MidBrains 2020. 

Title: Artificially manipulating positive and negative memories in healthy and maladaptive states

Abstract: Memories thread and unify our sense of being. In recent years, the advent of activity-dependent and inducible optogenetic strategies have enabled us to image, tag, and manipulate defined sets of cells active during discrete periods of time, including learning and recollection. Here, I’ll discuss our recent advances in modulating hippocampus and amygdala cells processing specific memories in the context of healthy and psychiatric disease-like states. Our results are twofold: 1) we show that acute activation of hippocampus and amygdala-mediated positive and negative memories can bi-directionally control both reward, social, and aversion-related behaviors; 2) we provide proof of principle data demonstrating brain-wide tagging and molecular characterization of cells active during positive and negative memory formation. Together, we suggest that these defined sets of cells are sufficient to lastingly modulate a battery of healthy and maladaptive behavioral states and provide novel avenues for molecular, circuit, and systems-wide interrogation of memory engrams.

See his laboratory website here: https://theramirezgroup.org

Schedule

Here is the tentative schedule for MidBrains 2020 (all times Central Standard Time).  A detailed program, posters, and videos will be available for previewing the week before the conference.

  • 10:00-11:15a  Keynote address by Dr. Steve Ramirez
  • 11:15a-12:15p  Undergraduate Poster Session
  • 12:15-1:00p  Lunch Break
  • 1:00-2:00p  Q&A panel discussion with graduate program representatives
  • 2:00-3:00p  Virtual visits with graduate programs (drop-in information sessions hosted by individual graduate schools for one-on-one or small group conversations)

Videos with additional information about graduate programs will be available for asynchronous viewing.

Sponsoring Institutions

We would like to thank Augustana College for hosting this year’s virtual conference and for providing financial and organizational assistance.

We would like to thank the following schools for sponsoring this year’s MidBrains conference with a generous donation:

Marquette University, University of Minnesota, University of South Dakota, and University of Iowa, University of Texas Health in San Antonio, Washington University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Representatives from these schools will be part of a panel Q&A discussion about neuroscience graduate programs and will be available to answer questions at the  drop-in Virtual Visits with Graduate Programs.

Please contact Shara Stough (sharastough@augustana.edu) if you have any questions about the conference.

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