Science Programme – Building the Brain: from genes to circuits to cognition

Thursday 19 November 201509:00 – 09:50 Registration with coffee

09:50 – 10:00 Meeting opening


Functional anatomy of the brain: Genetics and evolution – AM


Alicia Hidalgo (University of Birmingham, UK)

Thursday 19 November 2015


10:00 – 10:30 Pasko Rakic (Yale University, USA)

Genetic and epigenetic determinants of cortical development and evolution

10:30 – 11:00 Detlev Arendt (EMBL, Germany)

The bilaterian brain: an evolutionary chimera

11:00 – 11:20 Elia Benito-Gutierrez (University of Cambridge, UK)

Building a young brain on old shoulders

11:20 – 11:45 Coffee/tea break

11:45 – 12:15 Binyamin Hochner (Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel)

Divergent and convergent processes in the evolution of the octopus nervous system – a special case of complex behavior in a soft-bodied animal

12:15 – 12:45 Corinne Houart (King’s College London, UK)

Early regulation of forebrain size and complexity

12:45 – 14:20 Lunch and poster session: odd numbered posters


Functional anatomy of the brain: Genetics and evolution – PM


Mari Palgi (Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia)

Thursday 19 November 2015


14:20 – 14:40 Claude Desplan (New York University, USA)

Evolution of color and motion vision

14:40 – 15:00 Tapio Heino (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Cells with microglia-like properties in the metamorphosing Drosophila brain

15:00 – 15:30 Alicia Higalgo (University of Birmingham, UK)

The Drosophila neurotrophin system and structural plasticity in the fly

15:30 – 16:00 Richard Benton (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

Chemosensory evolution in Drosophila

16:00 – 16:30 Rui M Costa (Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal)

Generating and shaping novel action repertoires

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee/tea break

17:00 – 17:30 Gaia Tavosanis (Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Bonn, Germany)

Activity dependent circuit organization in the fly brain

17:30 – 18:00 Gerhard Schratt (Marburg, Germany)

miRNA function in synapse development and plasticity


18:00 – 19:00 The Genetics Society Medal – Alan Ashworth (UCSF, USA)

Harnessing Genetic Defects to Develop New Cancer Therapies

19:00 – 20:00 Wine reception and informal poster session

20:00 Conference Dinner


Genetics of behaviour and cognition – AM


Scott Waddell (University of Oxford, UK)

Friday 20 November 2015


09:00 – 09:30 Frank Hirth (King’s College London, UK)

Evolutionary conserved mechanisms for the selection and maintenance of behavioural activity

09:30 – 10:00 Sten Grillner (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden)

Conservation of the basal ganglia as a mechanism for action selection

10:00 – 10:20 Marco Tripodi (MRC-LMB, Cambridge)

Discrete and genetically defined motor modules controlling spatially tuned movements in mice

10:20 – 10:40 Hernan Lopez-Schier (Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Germany)

The Neural Basis of Directional Mechanosensation in Zebrafish

10:40 – 11:10 Coffee/tea break

11:10 – 11:40 Patrick Callaerts (VIB Laboratory of Behavorial and Developmental Genetics, Leuven, Belgium)

Brain homeostasis and behavior in Drosophila

11:40 – 12:10 Liliana Minichiello (University of Oxford, UK)

Neural mechanisms in health and disease: how BDNF affects the function of specific central neurons in the mature brain

12:20 – 12:40 James Hodge (University of Bristol, UK)

Electrophysiological and optogenetic characterisation of daily and acute light effects on Drosophila circadian clock neurons

12:40 – 14:00 Lunch and poster session: even numbered posters


Genetics of behaviour and cognition – PM


Frank Hirth (King’s College London, UK)

Friday 20 November 2015


14:00 – 14:30 Bruno Van Swinderen (University of Queensland, Australia)

Visual selective attention in Drosophila

14:30 – 15:00 Birte Forstmann (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

The anatomo-functional role of the subthalamic nucleus in strategic decision-making

15:00 – 15:30 Gene Robinson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)

Context-Dependent Rewiring of Brain Transcriptional Regulatory Networks for Social Behavior in Honey Bees

15:30 – 15:50 Arantza Barrios (University College London, UK)

Glial-derived neurons are required for sex-specific learning in C.elegans

15:50 – 16:30 Coffee/tea break

16:30 – 16:50 David FitzPatrick (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Human genetic variants causing severe and extreme developmental brain disorders: lessons from the DDD study

16:50 – 17:20 Dianne Newbury (Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford, UK)

Genetic contributions to Specific Language Impairment

17:20 – 17:50 Martin Heisenberg (University of Wuerzburg, Germany)

The brain as the behavioral organizer

17:50 – 18:30 Discussion: Round tables