Diseases of the human brain are almost universally attributed to malfunction or loss of nerve cells. However, glia cells outnumber neurons in the human brain and a considerable amount of work has, during the last decade, expanded our view on the role of glial cells in the onset and progression of numerous neurological diseases. This one-day conference features talks by 8 speakers in the forefront of glia research. Speakers will highlight current and emerging concepts regarding the role of glia in complex physiological processes as well as the non–cell autonomous influence of glia to acute and chronic neurological injuries. Additional information on the newest experimental tools, either developed or adapted for use in glia research, will be presented. The main goal is to present this rapidly exploding area of neuroscience research in such a way that investigators can incorporate current concepts to their own field of interest.
Independent of their field of interest, researchers or clinicians alike can take advantage of this exclusive conference sponsored by CTSI to learn about glia - the other cells in brain. Registration is free, but is needed for participation.
Marjo Van der Knaap will present the Jim Garbern Memorial Lecture. Marjo Van der Knaap is an internationally renowned clinical and scientific authority on childhood leukoencephalopathies. Don Cleveland will discuss his clever use of transgenic mice to systematically dissect the role of astrocytes and other glia in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathophysiology. Sergey Kasparov will describe his use of optogenetic tools in intact animals, which led to the discovery that brain stem astrocytes drive respiration. The classical astrocytic neurodegenerative disease, Alexander disease, will be described by Albee Messing, who will provide an update on ongoing efforts to understand this fatal neurodegenerative disease. John Rash will describe how disruption of the panglial syncytium (i.e., the macroglial gap junction network) can lead to myelin and neuron dysfunction. And lastly, the conference will conclude by highlighting some of the glial research occurring in Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester. Sandra Hewett will present her work detailing the paradoxical role of astrocyte cysti(e)ne/glutamate transport in acute neuron injury paradigms . Larry Wrabetz will discuss the role of Schwann cells in debilitating peripheral neuropathy, whereas Steve Goldman will discuss the therapeutic use of human glia progenitors in leukodystrophies and multiple sclerosis.