Innovative Molecular, Physiological and Therapeutic Approaches to Neurodegenerative Disease

This symposium series was designed to create a platform for dynamic intellectual discussion and invaluable exchange of knowledge among peers while sharing that knowledge with the greater scientific community. 

In our second year, the focus was broadly on neurodegenerative disease, with emphasis on molecular mechanisms and pathology, disruptions in circuitry and synapses (including sleep) and plausible therapeutic interventions.

Schedule & Speakers

All times are Eastern Time.

Friday, July 9, 10:00–11:00 am
Bob Carter, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease  - Watch recording

Tuesday July 13, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Ksenia Kastanenka, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Therapeutic treatment with NB-02 is effective at slowing Alzheimer’s progression in a mouse model - Watch recording
Can (Martin) Zhang, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Modulation of γ-secretase for Alzheimer’s intervention - Watch recording

Tuesday, August 3rd, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Bryan Baxter, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Targeting sleep oscillations to improve memory - Watch recording
Graham Diering, PhD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Sleep disruption as an early symptom in Tauopathy model mice, and treatment by targeting the endocannabinoid system - Watch recording

Tuesday, August 10th, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Joanna Jankowsky, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
Uncovering neuronal vulnerability through chemogenetic modeling of Alzheimer’s disease
Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Emerging therapeutic targets in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia - Watch recording

Tuesday, August 17th, 10:00 am–12:00 noon
Marilyn Duncan, PhD, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Impact of disrupted daily sleep-wake rhythms in the 3XTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

Tuesday, August 24th, 6:00–8:00pm
Ashley Bush, MBBS, DPM, PhD, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne
Iron, ferroptosis and Alzheimer’s disease - Watch recording
Ken Nakamura, MD, PhD, Gladstone Institute, University of California San Francisco:
Understanding and visualizing mitochondrial turnover in neurons                      

Wednesday August 25th, 1:00–3:00 pm
Kira Poskanzer, PhD, University of California San Francisco
Astrocytic regulation of NREM sleep features
Christiane Wrann, DVM, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Molecular Mediators of the Cognitive Benefits of Exercise


Industry funding for this Educational Event was provided by Takeda and Biohaven.

2020 Symposium

Turning Points: From Healthy Cells and Systems to Neurological Disease States

July 21-22, August 4-5 and August 11-12, 2020

Organized by Alyssa Russ, BS and Ksenia Kastanenka, PhD


The research areas of basic and translational neuroscience are often practiced separately. The aim of these symposiums is to bring together investigators with basic neuroscience expertise knowledgeable about healthy systems and translational neuroscientists proficient in disease states to create a vibrant forum for discussion and knowledge exchange.

The 2020 symposiums covered a broad range of studies at the molecular, cellular, circuit/systems, and behavioral levels, with the hope of uniting basic and translational neuroscience expertise under the general neuroscience umbrella. We placed special emphasis on multidisciplinary work and innovative approaches. All meetings took place via Zoom.

Speakers and Dates

July 21, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern Time
Benjamin Wolozin, Boston University, USA
Biological Interplay between Tau, RNA binding proteins and Membrane-less Organelles in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease
Watch recording

Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA
Targeting tau and mitochondrial dynamics in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Watch recording

July 22, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon Eastern Time
Xiqun Chen, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA
Associations between Parkinson’s disease and cancer

Martin Ingelsson, Uppsala University, Sweden
CRISPR/Cas9 as a novel gene therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease

August 4, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern Time
Peter Ash, Boston University, USA
Macromolecular connectivity landscape of mammalian brain identifies novel ALS-relevant complex
Watch recording

Christopher Wilson, Loma Linda University, USA
Quelling the neuroinflammatory cytokine storm with bioelectrics
Watch recording
Download slides (PDF)

August 5, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Eastern Time
Carmela Abraham, Boston University, USA
The Anti-Aging Protein Klotho: A novel therapeutic target for neurodegenerative diseases
Watch recording

Elena Galea, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Dissecting the contribution of astrocytes to Alzheimer’s disease with systems biology

Matthew Rowan, Emory University, USA
Neuronal Mechanisms of Altered Circuit excitability in early Alzheimer’s

August 11, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern Time
Christopher William, New York University, USA
Regulation of circuit plasticity by APP in health and in Alzheimer’s disease

Ksenia Kastanenka, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA
A cure in mind, a cure in sight: the aducanumab story
Watch recording

Dmitry Gerashchenko, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare, Harvard Medical School, USA
Understanding the anatomy of sleep: The impact of Modern Neuroscience Tools

August 12, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern Time
Natura Myeku, Taub Institute, Columbia University, USA
Targeting the 26S Proteasome to Protect Against Proteotoxic Diseases
Watch recording

Jorge Palop, Gladstone Institute, University of California San Francisco, USA
Interneuron dysfunction and network abnormalities in Alzheimer’s disease
Watch recording