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2015 Amygdala in Health and Disease Gordon Research Conference & Gordon Research Seminar


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Interest in the amygdala, a brain structure known to play a pivotal role in emotional processes, has increased considerably in recent years. Rapid progress has been made in elucidating the cellular and molecular plasticity mechanisms involved in the acquisition and expression of conditioned fear largely using rodent models. Notably, some of these same plasticity mechanisms can become maladaptive and lead to disease. Indeed, a growing body of clinical evidence implicates the amygdala in a range of affective disorders, including anxiety, depression, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and autism. There is also growing appreciation that the amygdala plays a critical role in appetitive behaviors, and amygdala dysfunction has been implicated in drug and alcohol addiction. The 2015 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on the Amygdala in Health and Disease will feature the latest findings from internationally renowned basic and clinical researchers. We will focus on research investigating the role of the amygdala in both normal and pathological emotional processes spanning multiple levels of neural organization - from molecular and cellular mechanisms at one end, to circuits, networks and behavior at the other. We will examine the role of this important structure in many behaviors, including emotion and reward. The collegial and interactive atmosphere of this conference, with programmed discussion sessions as well as opportunities for informal gatherings in the afternoons and evenings, provides an avenue for scientists from different disciplines to brainstorm and promotes cross- disciplinary collaborations in the various research areas represented. The 2015 conference will be preceded by a GRS that will feature young scientists, who are already involved in, or are interested in exploring, this exciting area of research. The Amygdala in Health & Disease is a 5-day biennial GRC will take place August 2-7, 2015 at Stonehill College. The overall goal of this meeting is several-fold. First, to foster interactions across disciplines (from basic discovery research to translational research) related to the amygdala. Second, to highlight important new tools and techniques that may be applied to the study of the amygdala, with the hope of opening new scientific questions and avenues of research. Most importantly, the third goal of this meeting is to mentor and inspire a new generation of scientists and clinician-scientists in a highly supportive and inclusive setting. The GRC will be attended by a maximum of 180 participants, with ~45 students and postdoctoral fellows also attending the preceding GRS. This current request to NIDA is specifically to fund the Substance Abuse components of this Research Meeting.

Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.