Plenary lectures


Plenary lectures

IBRO Workshop 2022, 27-28 January 2022, ELTE, Budapest

Prof. Ole Kiehn

Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and
Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Brainstem circuits that control locomotion in the healthy and diseased brain 
Locomotion is a universal motor behavior that is expressed as the output of many integrated brain functions. Locomotion is organized at several levels of the nervous system, with brainstem circuits acting as the gate between brain areas regulating innate, emotional, or motivational locomotion and executive spinal circuits. To be executed, locomotion requires dynamic initiation and termination and appropriate directionally. This lecture will focus on recent advances that has elucidated the functional organization of brainstem motor circuits in mammals needed to perform these roles. It will show that designated command pathways in the brainstem control the episodic expression of locomotion and that directionality of locomotion is controlled by activity in discrete brainstem circuits. The lecture will also show how these brainstem circuits are linked to higher brain centers and address how locomotor disturbances following e.g. basal ganglia disorders may be alleviated by targeted manipulation brainstem command pathways.    


Dr. Gábor Nyiri

Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest, Hungary

Brainstem control of fear memories
Encoding, recalling and, if necessary, efficient forgetting the memory of negative experience is essential for survival. Malfunctions of these memory processes can lead to mental health issues, cognitive deficits or dementia. Our recent discoveries suggest that key interconnected cell populations in the brainstem play a previously unrecognized yet crucial role in these processes. 

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Prof. Valery Grinevich 

Department of Neuropeptide Research in Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Germany 
Center for Neuroinflammation and Cardiometabolic Research, Georgia State University, USA 

What we know and what we need to know about peptidergic signaling in the brain. Oxytocin as an example
Neuropeptides represent a new class of non-canonical neurotransmitters, which dramatically challenge a plethora behavioral and homeostatic functions.  Among a hundred of identified neuropeptides, oxytocin remains the best studied molecule due to a great attention of the general public, basic neuroscience researchers, psychologists and psychiatrists based on its profound pro-social and anxiolytic effects. During the last decade, a substantial progress has been achieved in understanding the complex neurobiology of the brain oxytocin system. However, the picture of oxytocin actions remains far from being complete, and the central question remains: “How does a single neuropeptide exert such pleiotropic actions?”. In this lecture, I will tackle this question, demonstrating the anatomical divergence of oxytocin neurons and their numerous central projections. In conjunction, I will describe unique composition of distinct oxytocin-sensitive neurons in different brain regions, modulating distinct forms of behaviors. Next, I will introduce new oxytocin-sensitive cell types – astrocytes, which are involved in oxytocin-mediated emotional responses to fear and pain, and describe its pathways controlling excitability of glial and neuronal cells located in brain regions relevant to socio-emotional behaviors. At the end, I will emphasize advantages and great potencies of oxytocin – in comparison to other neuropeptides – for its use for treatment of human mental disorders.


Prof. Olivier Manzoni

Inmed Inserm, Marseille, France

Shaping of brain microcircuits – the role of endocannabinoids   
Wiring & rewiring of neural circuits depend on orchestrated changes in synaptic strengths and plasticity that consequently determine behavioral adaptations to an ever-changing environment. To understand the mechanisms by which the environment and genes interact to cause long-term changes in brain & behavior it is cardinal to understand 1/ how do synaptic rules and behavior change during brain development in health and neurodevelopment diseases? 2/ How does sex influence these rules? How do events during sensitive periods program the course of development, with the result that adult characteristics are significantly and often permanently modified? In our laboratory we address these questions by studying how meso-corticolimbic microcircuits are shaped to give rise to harmonious emotional behaviors and cognitive functions in adulthood. Based on the disambiguation of complex phenotypes into new developmental endophenotypes and the design of innovative therapeutic strategies, our work reveals that the endogenous cannabinoid system, a multifaceted modulatory system quasi-ubiquitous in the CNS, is a critical determinant of how environmental and genetic insults transform the architecture and the functionality of meso-corticolimbic synapses and ultimately change the behavioral working range.