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2017 Amygdala Function in Emotion, Cognition and Disease Gordon Research Conference and Gordon Research Seminar


PROJECT SUMMARY 2017 Amygdala Function in Emotion, Cognition & Disease GRC/GRS The Amygdala Function in Emotion, Cognition & Disease Gordon Research Conference (GRC) is the sixth biennial installment of a five-day meeting scheduled for August 6-11 2017 at Stonehill College, Easton, Massachusetts, to be chaired by Andrew Holmes and Kay Tye. The amygdala has been identified as a central node within brain systems subserving an array of higher-order behaviors that are disturbed in various mental disorders. Thus, the focus of the meeting reflects an ongoing shift in psychiatry towards framing the study of mental illness in terms of aberrant neural circuit functions. The aims are 1) to foster interactions across disciplines (from basic discovery research to translational research) related to understanding the role of the amygdala in mediating higher-order behaviors and mental disease states, particularly those characterized by addiction and anxiety, 2) 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, and 3) to mentor a new generation of scientists and scientist-clinicians, particularly women and other underrepresented minority groups, in a highly supportive and inclusive setting. The meeting will open with a Keynote session consisting of three plenary lectures by pioneers in neuroscience (George Koob, BJ Casey and Joseph LeDoux), selected to bring their unique and authoritative perspectives on the state of the field. The GRC will be preceded by a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) is a unique two-day forum for graduate students, post-docs and other junior scientists to present and exchange new data and cutting edge ideas. Interest in the amygdala, a brain structure known to play a pivotal role in emotional and reward processes, has increased considerably in recent years. Indeed, there is marked overlap in the amygdala plasticity mechanisms found to be maladaptive in models of, for example, drug abuse and anxiety. Added to this is a compelling body of clinical evidence implicating the amygdala in disorders ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder, autism and substance use disorders and other addictions. For these reasons, a central goal of the meeting is to further integrate investigators in the addiction field, and their research, into the fabric of this GRC. This will be achieved via a keynote lecture from a leading addiction investigator (Koob) and the inclusion of multiple sessions that explicitly focus on addiction and related themes through talks from NIDA and NIAAA funded leaders in the science of drug abuse and addiction. We expect these presentations to showcase innovative research approaches to studying the amygdala in drug abuse, and to stimulate cross-fertilization between addiction research and other aspects of work on the amygdala.

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