Virginia Tech partners with Nordic universities to host first international precision neuroscience conference

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

David Hungate

Roanoke will host the Virginia-Nordic Precision Neuroscience Conference from Oct. 5-7 at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

The conference will bring together neuroscientists from major universities, clinicians from health centers, and national health science leaders from the National Institutes of Health with thought leaders from the pharmaceutical industry. Speakers from the United States and Nordic nations, including Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden will share the latest research in precision neuroscience, an area of biomedical research and clinical practice with significant potential for improving human brain health as well as preventing, diagnosing, and treating brain disorders.

Michael J. Friedlander, PhD, Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology and executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Tor Haugstad, MD/PhD, the Neuroscience Clinical Chair and Professor at Norway’s Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, co-chair the conference international planning committee. The committee also includes Stephen LaConte, PhD, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, and the University of Oslo’s Leif Gjerstad, MD/PhD, Emeritus Professor of Neurology, and Jon Storm Mathisen, MD/PhD, a professor at the University of Oslo Center for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience.

“The conference will explore the future and challenges of the promise of personalized medicine to brain health and brain disorders,” Friedlander said. “This first-of-its-kind international meeting will provide a unique opportunity to share insights, current cutting-edge research breakthroughs, and patient needs to address the single largest and most impactful group of health challenges that we face as a species – nervous system disorders. In addition, the program will foster collaborations between the commonwealth’s major health research universities and with colleagues from multiple international institutions.”

More than 35 speakers will participate in the conference, including 2014 Chemistry Nobel Prize laureate, Eric Betzig, PhD, and Karel Svoboda, PhD, the 2015 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Prize recipient. Jon Storm-Mathisen, of the faculty of medicine at the University of Oslo, will discuss efforts to design therapeutic pathways for patients over a wide range of traumatic and degenerative neurological disorders. The director of the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke at NIH, Walter Koroshetz, MD, and the director of intramural research programs at the National Institute of Mental Health at NIH, Susan Amara, PhD, will discuss national strategies for advancing the development of precision guided treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders.

“Excellence in neuroscience research is becoming one of the premiere health science focus areas across Virginia and has strong historic roots as a premiere medical and scientific enterprise in the Nordic countries. In fact, the commonwealth’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, has declared Virginia as the brain state,” Friedlander said. “Recent research progress allows for unprecedented interventions, such as reversing unhealthy decision-making by the brain, modulating the activity of cellular networks in the living brain to alleviate major neurological and psychiatric symptoms, using a patient’s unique genetic profile to select a customized treatment for brain injury, and measuring the release of major chemical neurotransmitters in the living human brain during behavior.”

Members of the neuroscience research and clinical communities are welcome to attend the conference presentations and panels. Speakers will share research findings and clinicians will address ways in which research is improving patient outcomes by bridging work from the laboratory to bedside applications. To facilitate physician participation, Carilion Clinic’s Continuing Medical Education Program has designated the conference with a maximum of 14.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

Registration is free and open to faculty, postdoctoral students, graduate and undergraduate students, and physicians for one, two, or all three days of the conference. Poster submissions consistent with the precision neuroscience conference theme are welcome. To register, submit a poster proposal, or find out more information, please visit to the conference website at www.vnpn.org.

Media contact

Ashley WennersHerron
ashleywh@vtc.vt.edu
540-526-2002

September 2, 2016
Roanoke, VA

Featured speakers include:

Susan Amara, PhD
Director of the Division of Intramural Research Programs, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH

Eric Betzig, PhD
2014 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Group Leader, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA

Suzanne Craft, PhD
Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Center for Comparative Medicine Research,Wake Forest University Medical School

James Ecklund, MD
Chair, Inova Neuroscience and Spine Institute, Inova Health System, Falls Church, VA; Professor of Neurosurgery, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Professor of Surgery, Uniformed Services University

Jonathan Flint, PhD
Professor-in-Residence, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Senior Scientist, Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Walter Koroshetz, MD
Director, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, NIH

Jon Storm-Mathisen, MD, PhD
Professor, Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, University of Oslo, Norway

Karel Svoboda, PhD
Co-Recipient, 2015 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Prize
Group Leader, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA