Hosted by the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the 2012 UT Dallas Neuroscience Conference will focus on cortical and subcortical networks and the interactions between the two as they pertain to neuropsychiatric disorders. Although the neocortex represents over 70% of the volume of the human brain, its activity is tightly regulated by a complex network of subcortical nuclei responsible for the extent and the modality of cortical activity. Activity in subcortical areas is essential for the regulation of cortical function in a plethora of physiologic activities like wake-sleep cycles, emotion, memory, volition, attention and perception. Subcortical areas influence cortical activity by controlling the spatial and temporal patterns of neuromodulators in specific cortical regions, by promoting short- and long-term synaptic plasticity, and short- vs. long-distance transmission of sensory and motor information, by regulating local excitability, and by synchronizing intrinsic activity in local networks aimed to propagate salient information between different stages of cortical processing.
Among the pathological conditions associated with dysfunction of subcortical-cortical interactions are drug-addiction, psychoses, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and the control of voluntary movement. This one-day conference gathers a selected number of world-renowned scholars who will present data from cutting-edge electrophysiological, pharmacological, molecular, and human imaging studies into some of these neuropsychiatric conditions. A public keynote address, “Cures for Addiction Hiding in Synaptic Plasticity,” given by Dr. Peter Kalivas from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, will present how novel findings about glutamatergic neurotransmission may shape our concepts of drug addiction, and how this may lead to the development of new treatment options for addicts.
While walk-ups are welcome, we are unable to guarantee lunches.