Neuroscience Day 2015 Plenary Lecture

Dr. Bryan Luikart, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Neurobiology

"Understanding the Neurophysiological Basis of Autism Using Pten as a Genetic Model"

Bryan Luikart received a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from Texas A&M Universty (1999) and a PhD in Neuroscience from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2004). Working under Dr. Luis Parada, Dr. Luikart began to study how neurotrophic factors influence brain development and synapse formation. During this time, Bryan first discovered that knockout of the autism candidate gene, Pten, profoundly increases the growth of dendrites and associated synapses in the mouse brain. Dr. Luikart completed postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Gary Westbrook at the Vollum Institute of Oregon Health and Science University. Here, Dr. Luikart developed techniques for viral-mediated molecular manipulation in vivo and during electrophysiological studies, found that Pten knockdown increased the formation of functional excitatory synapses. Dr. Luikart joined the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in 2011 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology. Since joining the faculty at Geisel, Dr Luikart has continued to study how Pten knockout impacts neuronal function and has discovered that autism-associated mutations in Pten can result in the same pathological changes as seen in Pten knock-out neurons. Further, the Luikart laboratory has continued to develop more sophisticated tools for viral-mediated molecular manipulation with the goal of understanding the neurobiological basis of autism.

Neuroscience Day 2015 Keynote Lecture

Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD
Director, The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research; John G. Bowes Distinguished Professor in Stem Cell and Tissue Biology, Department of Neurology, UCSF School of Medicine

"Human cortical development: what makes us unique?"

Dr. Kriegstein received a BS from Yale University (1971), and MD and PhD from New York University (1977) with Dr. Eric Kandel as thesis advisor. He completed Neurology Residency at the Brigham and Women's, Children's, and Beth Israel Hospitals, Boston, and is a board-certified clinical neurologist. He has held academic appointments at Stanford, Yale, and Columbia before joining UCSF in 2004. In 2001 he was named the John and Elizabeth Harris Professor of Neurology and became the founding Director of the Neural Stem Cell Program at Columbia University. Dr. Kriegstein is currently the John Bowes Distinguished Professor in Stem Cell and Tissue Biology and Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF. He oversees one of the largest and most comprehensive stem cell programs in the US, encompassing over 70 laboratories focused on disorders ranging from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and diseases of the nervous system.

Dr. Kriegstein's research focuses on the stem cell niche and ways neural stem and progenitor cells produce neurons in the developing brain. He was one of the first to find that radial glia (RG), long thought to simply guide neuron migration, are the primary neural stem cell population in the embryonic brain. He also described a second type of precursor cell, an intermediate progenitor, produced by RG that contributes to the generation of neuronal diversity. Recently he described oRG cells, a neural stem cell type in the human outer subventricular zone, that accounts for the bulk of human cortical neurogenesis. Lineage analysis links this cell type to transit amplifying daughter cells and helps explain evolutionary cortical expansion. Currently he is analyzing gene expression profiles of single cells to link human precursor cell diversity with the generation of specific adult cortical neuron subtypes. In addition, together with colleagues at UCSF, he has developed methods to derive human inhibitory cortical interneurons from pluripotent stem cells, a finding that may provide cell-based therapy for disorders including epilepsy and neuropathic pain.

Dr. Kriegstein serves on the editorial boards of Cell Stem Cell, Stem Cell Reports, Developmental Neuroscience, and Journal of Experimental Neurology and is currently Chair of the Publication Committee of the ISSCR. He has been an external reviewer for RIKEN, ANR, Welcome Trust, and MRC, and reviewer and Chair of the NIH Stem Cell Study Section. He has served as SAB member for Pfizer and advisory board member for the John Merck Scholars Program and the Allen Brain Institute. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and was twice awarded a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the NINDS. Among other honors, he was the Dodge lecturer (Washington University), the Hunt-Wilson Lecturer (American Association of Neurological Surgeons), the Lippard Lecturer (Columbia University), the Cotzius lecturer (American Academy of Neurology), and received the Solomon A. Berson Medical Alumni Achievement Award (NYU). He was selected Senior Visiting Professor by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2012), and Astor Visiting Professor, University of Oxford (2013).