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‘Speaking of Science’ panel examines link between brain circuitry, novel disease cures Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.
‘Speaking of Science’ panel examines link between brain circuitry, novel disease cures Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.January 24, 2007Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
On Wednesday, Jan. 24, The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University and The Dana Foundation will present another installment in their successful “Speaking of Science” series in Washington, D.C. A panel discussion titled “Understanding the Circuits of the Brain: New Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease, Depression, and Epilepsy” will be hosted by New York Times columnist and author William Safire ’51, HON’78 and feature prominent neurologists William Mobley, director of the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University; Mahlon Delong, director of the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center at Emory University; Helen S. Mayberg, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Emory; and Brian Litt, assistant professor of neurology and bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The discussion will be guest moderated by Guy McKhann, director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at The Johns Hopkins University.
The invitation-only event, which includes brief multimedia presentations by the panelists and an audience Q&A session, will begin at 5:45 p.m. at The Dana Center in Washington, D.C., and will be web-streamed from its website (http://www.dana.org) the following week.
Safire, a journalist, speechwriter, historian, novelist and lexicographer, is chairman of The Dana Foundation and active in funding brain science, neuro-immunology research and arts education. He was honored Dec. 15, 2006, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President George W. Bush. The Presidential Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award, recognizes high achievement in public service, science, the arts, education, athletics and other fields.
Safire worked on the first Eisenhower presidential campaign and later became a senior speechwriter in the Nixon White House. He left there to write “Before the Fall” (Tower, 1975), a history of the pre-Watergate White House. As a historical novelist, he has written “Freedom” (Harper Collins, 1988), about the Civil War, and “Scandalmonger” (Harcourt, 2001), about the origins of America’s press freedom. Safire’s anthology of the world’s great speeches, “Lend Me Your Ears” (Norton, W.W., & Company Inc., 2004), is recognized as a classic. He ended his op-ed column of three decades in The New York Times in 2005, but he has continued his weekly column, “On Language,” in The Times Magazine. He won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and was a member of the Pulitzer Board for nine years.
William C. Mobley, M.D., Ph.D.
Mobley is director of the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University, where he is also professor of neurology and neurosciences. His laboratory studies the signaling biology of neurotrophic factors in the normal brain and in animal models of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome.
After earning a medical degree and doctorate in neuroscience at Stanford, Mobley completed a residency and fellowship in neurology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, where he was chief resident in pediatric neurology. In 1985, he joined the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, rising to the rank of professor of neurology, pediatrics and neuroscience and serving as director of child neurology. In 1991, he was named the Derek Denny Brown Scholar of the American Neurological Association. From 1997 to 2005, he served as chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford, where he held the John E. Cahill Family Endowed Chair. He was recently appointed director of the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford and director of the Center for Research and Treatment of Down syndrome.
Mahlon Delong, M.D.
DeLong is the William Timmie Professor of Neurology at Emory University. He served as chair of the Department of Neurology at Emory’s School of Medicine from 1990 to 2003. DeLong and his colleagues have researched the functional organization of “basal ganglia” and the role these structures play in the pathophysiology of movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. He and his colleagues proposed the now widely accepted concept of functionally segregated “basalganglia-thalamocortical” circuits, which has helped clarify the diverse role of basal ganglia in motor, cognitive and emotional functions. He has carried out important studies in primate models of both hypo- and hyperkinetic disorders, providing fundamental insight into the underlying mechanisms of these conditions. His studies helped renew interest in new surgical approaches to the treatment of movement disorders.
Helen S. Mayberg, M.D.
Mayberg is a professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine. Her functional neuron-imaging studies over the past 20 years have systematically examined neural mechanisms mediating depression pathogenesis in both psychiatric and neurological patient subgroups, as well as antidepressant response to various treatments, including pharmacotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and placebo, with a goal toward the identification of neurobiological markers predicting treatment response and optimized treatment selection. Her long-term interest in neural network models of mood regulation in health and disease led to the recent development of a new intervention for treatment-resistant patients using deep brain stimulation, a study initiated at the University of Toronto and now continuing at Emory.
Brian Litt, M.D.
Litt is an associate professor of neurology and bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. An active clinician-investigator, he translates his neuron-engineering research to patients, showing a deep interest in the care and treatment of individuals with epilepsy. His research focuses on automated implantable diagnostic and therapeutic devices for brain disorders; the understanding of how seizures are generated and spread through networks in the human brain; the localization of seizures and brain functions; the mapping of functional networks and circuits in the human brain through recording oscillations and computer-controlled electrical stimulation; and minimally invasive tools for acquiring, localizing and displaying high-fidelity electrophysiologic recording. Litt is active as a medical entrepreneur and inventor, co-founding two companies, IntelliMedix and BioQuantix.
Guy McKhann, M.D.
McKhann is director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at The Johns Hopkins University and founding director of the department of neurology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also is a professor of neurology and the neurosciences at Johns Hopkins. He began his career as a pediatric neurologist, but he recently has concentrated on diseases across the entire age spectrum. Internationally renowned for his research on acute inflammatory and demyelinating neuropathies, McKhann is current involved in research directed toward the mechanisms of Guillain-Barre syndrome and the neurological and cognitive outcomes after coronary artery bypass heart surgery. McKhann has authored 10 books on such topics as childhood neuropathies, Guillain-Barre syndrome, other diseases of the nervous system and the neurology of language; more than 130 scientific papers; and 40 book chapters. He is a scientific advisor to the Charles A. Dana Foundation and an executive committee member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.