2020 Virtual Neuroscience Retreat 
October 1-2, 2020

Keynote Speakers

Professor Michael Dickinson was born in Seaford, Delaware in 1963, but spent most of his youth in Baltimore and remains a lifelong Orioles fan. He attended college at Brown University, originally with the intent of majoring in Visual Arts, but eventually switched to Neuroscience, enticed by a fascination for the mechanisms that underlie animal behavior. While in college, he studied the roles of neurons and neurotransmitters in the control of feeding behavior in leeches. He received a Ph. D. in Zoology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1991. His dissertation project focused on the physiology of sensory cells on the wings of flies. It was this study of wing sensors that led to an interest in insect aerodynamics and flight control circuitry. Dickinson worked briefly at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, and served as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Anatomy at the University of Chicago in 1991. He moved to University of California, Berkeley in 1996 and was appointed as the Williams Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology in 2000. Dickinson served on the faculty at Caltech from 2002 to 2010. From 2010 to 2014, he was the Ben Hall Professor of basic life science in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. He is now the Abe and Esther Zarem Professor of Biology and Bioengineering at Caltech.

Dr. Dickinson’s research interests broadly concern the mechanistic basis of animal behavior. Specifically, he has studied the flight behavior of insects at several levels of analysis, in an attempt to integrate cellular physiology, biomechanics, aerodynamics, behavior, and ecology. He has published almost 200 scientific papers in journals including Science, Nature, Current Biology, and The Proceedings of the National Academy. His work has been featured in many television programs including NOVA and Discovery Channel in several countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Japan. His awards include the Larry Sandler Award from the Genetics Society of America, the Bartholemew Award for Comparative Physiology from the American Society of Zoologists, a Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and the Quantrell award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago. In 2001, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In 2008, he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Marisela Morales, MS, PhD is currently a Section Chief of the Neuronal Networks Section and Branch Chief of the Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch at NIDA Intramural Program. She is also the Director Coordinator of the Cores at NIDA Intramural Program, and the Director of the Histology Core and Electron Microcopy Core. She is originally from Mexico. As an undergraduate student she gained a strong background in virology, biochemistry and chemistry (National School of Biological Sciences at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Mexico). She was awarded degrees in master science and Ph.D. from The Institute of Experimental Biology, Mexico, which provided her with the skills to approach brain analysis at the ultrastructural, molecular and cellular levels. Her Ph. D. was in Cell Biology and Biochemistry in which she applied molecular biological approaches to manipulate cellular

mechanisms within specific biochemical pathways in fungi. As a postdoctoral fellow, she applied her training in biochemical, molecular and cellular mechanisms to pioneer the characterization of cytoskeletal molecules in the brain. As an alcohol research trainee (at the Alcohol Research Center at the Scripps Research Institute in la Jolla, CA) she was trained in research and theories of drug addiction, and began to implement experimental approaches to examine the molecules, cells and neuronal pathways central to the neurobiology of drug addiction. As an independent scientist (since 2004), she has been implementing a scientific program to address the following questions: what is the brain circuitry through which addictive drugs have their habit-forming actions, and what are the neuroadaptations in this circuitry that accompany the transition from recreational to compulsive drug-taking? In the USA, she has developed her career as independent scientist in the intramural NIH program. As a neuroscientist, she has produced more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. She has received several awards, including: the “Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers” (PECASE Award, USA), the “NIDA Director’s Award of Merit”, and the “NIH Director’s award”.


Thursday, October 1

8:30 am – 9:45 am:  Welcome/Acknowledgements

Anneliese Schaefer, PhD (Neurology; Director, Office of Neuroscience Research) and Jiwon Yi (Emcee; Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

Short Talks, Session 1

Moderator: Jiwon Yi (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

  • Hannah Frye (Neuroscience Program; Moron-Concepcion lab, Anesthesiology) – “Sex Differences in the Role of Cornichon Homolog-3 on Spatial Memory and Synaptic Plasticity”
  • Leo Volkov (Neuroscience Program; Corbo lab, Pathology & Immunology) – “The transcriptional basis of long-wavelength vision”
  • Nicole Leitner, PhD (Ben-Shahar lab, Biology) – “Crossing the midline: The neurogenetics of a polymorphic circuit in the fruit fly”
  • Ghazal Ashrafi, PhD (Assistant Professor, Cell Biology & Physiology) – “Metabolic Regulation of Synaptic Function”
9:45 am – 10:00 am: Break
10:00 am – 11:00 am: Keynote Talk

Speaker introduction: Zelun Wang (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

  • Michael Dickinson, PhD (California Institute of Technology)
    “A lesson from an ancient brain: Changing is hard, keeping straight is harder”
11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Break
12:00 pm – 1:15 pm: Introduction of first year graduate students
Short Talks, Session 2

Moderator: Shashank Anand (Graduate student, Biomedical Engineering Program)

  • Jeff Jones, PhD (Herzog lab, Biology) – “Daily corticosterone rhythms require a network of hypothalamic cell types”
  • Jung Uk Kang (Neuroscience Program; Snyder lab, Neuroscience) – “Resolving the role of the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) in spatial attention and oculomotor control”
  • Fenghe Zhong (Biomedical Engineering Program; Hu lab, Biomedical Engineering) – “Ultrahigh-speed cortex-wide multi-parametric photoacoustic microscopy”
  • Gaia Tavoni, PhD (Assistant Professor, Neuroscience) – “Computational approaches to learning and memory”
1:15 pm – 1:30 pm: Break
1:30 pm: NeurOlympics presents LIVE musical performance by Michael Dickinson
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Table Topics
7:00 pm: NeurOlympics

Friday, October 2

8:30 am – 9:45 am: Wrap Up from Day 1; Announcements

Jiwon Yi (Emcee; Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

Short Talks, Session 3

Moderator: Karl Friedrichsen (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

  • Eric Casey, PhD (Kravitz lab, Psychiatry) – “Multi-site electrophysiological recording in the basal ganglia during hedonic feeding”
  • Yvan Vachez, PhD (Creed lab, Anesthesiology) – “Ventral arkypallidal neurons inhibit accumbal firing to promote reward consumption”
  • Kalyan Tripathy (Neuroscience Program; Culver lab, Radiology) – “Brain mapping in preschool-age children with high-density diffuse optical tomography”
  • Zachariah Reagh, PhD (Assistant Professor, Psychological & Brain Sciences) – “How do we represent and remember naturalistic events?”
9:45 am – 10:00 am: Break
10:00 am – 11:00 am: Keynote Talk

Speaker introduction: Sabin Nettles (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

  • Marisela Morales, MS, PhD (National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH) “Neuronal diversity within the ventral tegmental area and co-release of neurotransmitters”
11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Break
12:00 pm – 1:15 pm: NeurOlympics; New faculty member introductions
  • Musical performance by THE PACKAGE, featuring Kalyan Tripathy, Lindsey Brier, Rachel Rahn and Dillan Newbold
Short Talks, Session 4

Moderator: Sabin Nettles (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program)

  • Dana Klatt Shaw, PhD (Mokalled lab, Developmental Biology) – “Localized EMT reprograms glial progenitors to promote spinal cord repair”
  • Jiayang Chen (Molecular Cell Biology Program; Dougherty lab, Genetics) – “A Novel Mouse Model of MYT1L Syndrome Recapitulates Human Phenotypes and Reveals MYT1L’s Function in the Brain”
  • Megan Bosch, PhD (Holtzman lab, Neurology) – “Elucidating the effect of antibiotic altered microbiota on amyloid deposition as influenced by TREM2”
  • Naresha Saligrama, PhD (Assistant Professor, Neurology) – “Diversity and Specificity of T Cell Responses in Neurological Disorders”
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Meet the Professors