Nov. 11 event celebrates a century of brain science at Johns Hopkins
Media are invited to attend the Nov. 11 symposium "Discovery and Hope: A Celebration of Brain Science," featuring two Nobel laureates and a host of other top neuroscientists from around the country, at Turner Auditorium at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. The daylong symposium will begin at 8 a.m.
Johns Hopkins researchers started delving into the functions and abilities of the brain a century ago, in 1906, and today the laboratories of more than 250 full-time faculty members focus on questions about the brain. The symposium is co-sponsored by the departments of Neuroscience, Neurology, Psychiatry and Neurosurgery.
But the "Discovery and Hope" symposium is not just about Johns Hopkins. Featured speakers at the symposium are from other institutions. Two Nobel laureates, Richard Axel and Eric Kandel, and six other leading neuroscientists -- Cornelia Bargmann, Roger Nicoll, Carla Shatz, William T. Newsome III, Fred Gage and Huda Zoghbi -- are scheduled to present their work. Johns Hopkins neuroscientists Rick Huganir and Solomon Snyder will provide opening and closing remarks, respectively.
The speakers' presentations will include the latest on our understanding of smell, vision, learning and memory, decision-making, and balance-eroding diseases called spinocerebellar ataxias. A separate symposium on Nov. 10 will include scientific presentations by nine Hopkins neurology faculty and three outside neurologists on topics ranging from the genetics of multiple sclerosis to new treatment options being developed for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophies and motor neuron diseases.
"There were enclaves of scientists and physicians studying the brain in various departments at Hopkins well before the neuroscience department was formed in 1980," recalls Snyder, the first and only director the Department of Neuroscience has ever had. "Hopkins has an exceptionally robust environment in which to study the brain."
Snyder, who has led a number of successful business ventures related to his academic work, is expected to step down as department director sometime this year, but will remain a full-time faculty member and head of his thriving research laboratory. He will be among those honored at a gala dinner following the symposium.
At its inception, Hopkins' neuroscience department was one of the first in the nation, and today it is the largest of the eight basic science departments at the School of Medicine, with 25 primary faculty. Another 78 Hopkins faculty have secondary or joint appointments in neuroscience, including two dozen or so whose primary appointments are in the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery or Psychiatry. In the Department of Neurology, there are roughly 75 primary faculty, in the Department of Neurosurgery, 24. The Department of Psychiatry, founded almost 100 years ago, boasts 139 full-time faculty with primary appointments.
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