Beckman Symposium 2010 - Diseases of the Brain

October 25, 2010 | Berg Hall - Li Ka Shing Center


9:00 - 9:20

Lucy Shapiro, Stanford University

Ben Barres, Stanford University

Director of the Beckman Center

2010 Beckman Symposium Chair

Opening Remarks
9:25 - 10:05 Emmanuel Mignot, Stanford University Director, Center for Narcolepsy, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Hypocretin/Orexin: The Immune System and Narcolepsy
10:10 - 10:50 Laurie Glimcher, Harvard University Professor of Medicine and Immunology The Mammalian Stress Sensor XBP-1
10:55 - 11:35 Thomas Kodadek, Scripps Institute - Florida Professor of Chemistry and Cancer Biology Unbiased Discovery of Diagnostically Useful Antibodies: A Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Disease
11:35 - 1:00   LUNCH  


1:00 - 1:40  David Porteous, University of Edinburgh Director, Center for Molecular Medicine, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics and Medicine The Genetics and Biology of the DISC-1 Pathway in Relation to Major Mental Illness
1:45 - 2:25 Thomas Südhof, Stanford University Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology Neurexins and Neuroligins Delineate a Synaptic Pathway in Autism Pathogenesis
2:25 - 2:40   BREAK  
2:40 - 3:20 Kimberly Huber, UT Southwestern Medical School Associate Professor of Neuroscience Mechanisms of Synapse Dysfunction in Fragile X Syndrome
3:25 - 4:05 Simon John, The Jackson Laboratory and Tufts University Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Senior Staff Scientist, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology  Deciphering Complex Mechanisms of Glaucoma Using Mice
4:10 - 4:50 David Prince, Stanford University Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences Post-Traumatic Epilepsy: The Importance of Proper Connections
4:50 - 5:00 Ben Barres, Stanford University 2010 Beckman Symposium Chair Closing Remarks

Speaker Profiles

Laurie Glimcher is the Irene Given Professor of Immunology in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her laboratory uses biochemical and genetic approaches to elucidate the molecular pathways that regulate C4 T helper cell development and activation. She has focused most recently on the function of T-bet in dendritic cells in mucosal immunity and tumorigenesis. Her laboratory has also discovered a transcription factor in B cells, XBP-1, that controls the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Stress Response, and they have provided evidence that links the ER with proinflammatory/autoimmune, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.

Kimberly Huber is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. As a postdoc, she discovered a novel form long-term synaptic depression (LTD) that relies on rapid synthesis of new proteins locally at synapses. She later went on to show that this form of synaptic plasticity is specifically altered in the mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome, a form of human mental retardation and autism. Her laboratory is currently focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate synaptic plasticity, and they are attempting to identify and understand how alterations in synaptic function and connectivity lead to mental retardation and autism.

Simon John is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Senior Staff Scientist at the Jackson Laboratory. He is also a Research Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine. His laboratory is investigating the molecular features of complex diseases that lead to the death of neural cells. The laboratory combines genetics with genomics, cell/molecular biology and physiology to understand how abnormal ocular development and other processes lead to high intraocular pressure (IOP) and glaucoma and how high IOP damages ret in al neurons. The laboratory is also developing and experimenting with new treatments to prevent glaucomatous neurodegeneration.

Thomas Kodadek is Professor of Chemistry and Cancer Biology at the Scripps Research Institute, Florida. His laboratory focuses on understanding and manipulating biological pathways important in various disease states. The approach relies heavily on chemical methods and a major goal in each of the biological areas of interest is to develop compounds that serve as leads for drug development or that can be employed as tools for mechanistic studies. The three areas of biology currently under investigation are: 1) autoimmune diseases and lymphomas; 2) the involvement of the proteasome in transcription; and 3) the function of the hormone orexin in narcolepsy, diabetes, and other diseases.

Emmanuel Mignot is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of the Center for Narcolepsy at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is internationally known for his discovery of the cause of the sleep disorder narcolepsy. His research has been focused on the mechanisms underlying disorders of excessive sleepiness, neurochemical mechanisms of arousal state control, and the genetics of sleep disorders with emphasis on narcolepsy. His laboratory has performed studies in a canine model that have led to the pharmacological dissection of the mode of action of antidepressants and amphetamine-like stimulants in narcolepsy. He has also identified and is currently studying critical neurochemical systems in narcolepsy including the hypothalamic hypocretin/orexin system. In addition, his laboratory is performing HLA typing studies to refine HLA association modeling in narcolepsy and investigating a possible autoimmune abnormality affecting the hypocretin system in human narcolepsy.

David Porteous is Professor of Human Molecular Genetics and Medicine, Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine, and Chair of the Center's Medical Genetics Section, at the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine. A major focus of his work has been the application of knowledge emerging from the Human Genome Project to the identification of risk factors, disease processes and new treatments for common disorders prevalent in the Scottish population. His group has identified six genes associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder. This includes the DISC-1 gene, now widely recognized as a risk factor in schizophrenia. In addition, his laboratory developed the first transgenic model of cystic fibrosis to show a lung defect that parallels the human disease.

David Prince is the Edward F. and Irene Thiele Pimley Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His work has focused on normal and abnormal regulation of excitability in neurons of mammalian cerebral cortex and thalamus and mechanisms underlying development and prophylaxis of epilepsy in animal models. His laboratory seeks to understand how cortical injury and other pathological processes induce changes in structure and function of neurons and neuronal networks that lead to hyperexcitability and epileptogenesis. Using this information, he hopes to devise strategies to prevent the occurrence of epilepsy after cortical injury and apply those strategies to individuals with significant brain trauma.

Thomas Südhof is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Avram Goldstein Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His research has focused on how presynaptic terminals are formed during synaptogenesis, how these terminals release neurotransmitters, and how they degenerate in neurodegenerative disease. His laboratory has identified proteins on presynaptic neurons, called neurexins, and proteins on the postsynaptic neuron, called neuroligins, which come together and bind at the synapse. The synaptic binding of neurexins and neuroligins has been shown to be very important for normal brain function, and Dr. Südhof's laboratory has demonstrated that in cases of inherited autism, mutations in either of the genes that code for these proteins will impair neurotransmission.

Symposium Chair Ben Barres is Professor and Chair of Neurobiology and holds joint professorships in Developmental Biology and Neurology and Neurological Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the development and function of glial cells in the mammalian central nervous system. His laboratory has developed methods to highly purify and culture retinal ganglion cells and the glial cells they interact with, from the rodent optic nerve. They are using a large variety of methods to investigate glia cell function including cell purification by immunopanning, tissue culture, patch clamping, immunohistochemistry, and molecular biology.

Beckman Center Director Lucy Shapiro is the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research in the Department of Developmental Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Shapiro is a microbial geneticist whose research has resulted in major advances in understanding cell differentiation. Her novel use of the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus has yielded fundamental insights for understanding the bacterial cell as a paradigm for an integrated system in which the transcriptional circuitry is interwoven with the three-dimensional deployment of key regulatory and morphological proteins. She has won numerous awards for her contributions to the field including the Selman Waksman Award and most recently, the Canada Gairdner International Award for outstanding and original contributions to medical research.