• Brain Dysfunction Discussion Group

    This highly interdisciplinary discussion group focuses on timely issues in neuroscience, bringing together scientists working in basic neural systems, neurodegenerative diseases, and psychiatric disorders.

    Meetings concentrate on cell death, mitochondrial function, protein misfolding, glial cell function, motor neuron deficiencies, synaptic integrity, and other physiological functions as they relate to the central nervous system. There is a particular emphasis on the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases including but not limited to autism, Alzheimer’s disease, demyelinating diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia, and depression. Meetings feature talks covering basic, clinical, and translational aspects of research.

  • Past Events

    Monday, March 13, 2017 | 9:00 AM - 4:45 PM

    Targeting Tau in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders

    Speakers: Michael G. Agadjanyan (The Institute for Molecular Medicine), Bernardino Ghetti (Indiana University School of Medicine), Khalid Iqbal (New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities), Viktoriya Morozova (College of Staten Island, The City University of New York), Einar M. Sigurdsson (New York University School of Medicine), Qian Wu (New York University School of Medicine), Emanuele Sher (Lilly UK), and Henrik Zetterberg (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

    This event will cover the translational potential of immunotherapy for tauopathies, reviewing the pre-clinical and clinical development of several tau immunotherapy programs that exemplify this emerging therapeutic approach.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2016 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Surgery and Cognition: Delirium, Cognitive Decline, and Opportunities to Protect the Brain

    Keynote Speaker: Sharon Inouye (Harvard Medical School)

    This meeting will convene leading scientists and physicians to discuss the challenges and opportunities to create biomarkers and therapeutics for these patients who are vulnerable to delirium, cognitive decline, and dementia following surgery.

    Friday, September 18, 2015 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Alzheimer's Disease and Tau: Pathogenic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Approaches

    Speakers: George S. Bloom (University of Virginia), Peter Davies (Feinstein Institute for Medical Research), Marc I. Diamond (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), Michael Hutton (Eli Lilly and Company), Khalid Iqbal (New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities), Magdalena J. Kiprowska (Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY), Hartmuth C. Kolb (Johnson & Johnson, Janssen R&D), Nicole Leclerc (Université de Montréal), Kun Ping Lu (Harvard Medical School), Natura Myeku (Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease Research, Columbia University), Richard M. Ransohoff (Biogen)

    Speakers at this symposium will address novel tau-centered mechanisms of neurodegeneration and new therapeutic approaches for many devastating neurological disorders.

    Thursday, June 11, 2015 | 8:45 AM - 5:15 PM

    Learning from Cancer to Advance Neurodegeneration Drug Discovery and Development

    Keynote Speaker: Jane A. Driver (Brigham and Women's Hospital)
    Speakers: Kurt Brunden (University of Pennsylvania), Stuart Calderwood (Harvard Medical School), Gary Landreth (Case Western Reserve University), Tamara Maes, PhD (Oryzon Genomics S.A.), David M. Roy (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Stephen Strittmatter (Yale University School of Medicine), Li Huei Tsai (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Raymond Scott Turner (Georgetown University), Claes Wahlestedt (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine), Hui Zheng (Baylor College of Medicine)

    Does having cancer decrease your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases? Why do many cancer drug targets overlap with targets for neurodegenerative diseases? This meeting will address these questions to help advance therapeutic development.

    Monday, November 3, 2014 | 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

    Gene Network Changes in Alzheimer's Disease: Potential Points for Therapeutic Intervention

    Speakers: Kwame O. Affram (Uniformed Services University), Erik H.W.G.M. Boddeke (University Medical Center Groningen), Oleg Butovsky (Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Philip L. De Jager (Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital), Joseph El Khoury (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Miriam Merad (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), Michael C. Oldham (University of California, San Francisco), Vishal Sahni (Eisai Inc), Bin Zhang (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai)

    Next generation sequencing of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression reveals gene networks within microglial pathways. This symposium focuses on microglia biology, molecular signatures specific to microglial phenotypes, and phenotype modulation.

    Friday, May 9, 2014 | 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

    The Biology of Aging: Novel Drug Targets for Neurodegenerative Disease

    Speakers: Carmela R. Abraham (Boston University School of Medicine), Eric H. Baehrecke (University of Massachusetts Medical School), Nir Barzilai (Albert Einstein College of Medicine), Jerry R. Colca (Metabolic Solutions Development Company), Brendan D. Manning (Harvard School of Public Health), Beth Stevens (Harvard Medical School), D. Martin Watterson (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine), Haung Yu (Columbia University), Jeffrey W. Kelly (The Scripps Research Institute), Richard I. Morimoto (Northwestern University)

    Age is the major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, and key pathways in aging biology offer targets for novel drugs. Explore recent advances in the science of aging and innovative drug discovery for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

    Monday, May 6, 2013 | 8:15 AM - 4:00 PM

    Translating Natural Products into Drugs for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Disease

    Speakers: Kurt R. Brunden (University of Pennsylvania), Grant J. Carr (AMRI), Gabriela Chiosis (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), Jerold Chun (The Scripps Research Institute), Bonnie M. Davis (Synaptec), Chad Dickey (University of South Florida), Frank E. Koehn (Pfizer Global R&D), David J. Newman (National Cancer Institute, NIH), Salvatore Oddo (University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio), Giulio Maria Pasinetti (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

    Alzheimer's disease may benefit from the novel chemistries found in natural products. This conference explores drug discovery from natural products, including novel approaches and technologies, and promising Alzheimer's drug discovery programs.

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Genes to Circuits to Behavior

    Speakers: Ben Philpot (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Tim Roberts (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), Stephan Sanders (Yale University School of Medicine), Laurence Tecott (University of California, San Francisco), Paul Wang (Seaside Therapeutics)

    Explore recent breakthroughs in early detection of autism and promising therapeutic interventions. This symposium features presents updates on the genetic landscape, the use of mouse models to explore behavior and potential therapeutic biomarkers.

    Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 12:00 PM - 4:15 PM

    Targeting Metals in Alzheimer's and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

    Organizers: Rudolph Tanzi (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), George Zavoico (MLV & Co.), Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)
    Speakers: Robert A. Cherny (The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia), Steven M. Hersch (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Rudolph Tanzi (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School), Dan Tardiff (Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research)

    Transition metals including Fe, Zn and Cu affect neurotransmission and are implicated in Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases. This symposium explores mechanisms for restoring the physiologic balance of transition metals in the brain.

    Friday, May 4, 2012 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

    Targeting the Vasculature in Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Cognitive Impairment

    Organizers: Howard Fillit (Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation) and Jennifer Henry (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    Vascular alterations are both a cause and a consequence of neuronal loss. This conference presents current knowledge on the vascular connection to Alzheimer's pathogenesis and highlights novel approaches to intervention for therapeutic development.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Epigenetics of Alzheimer's Disease

    Speakers: Paul D. Coleman (Sun Health Research Center), Yitshak Francis (Columbia University Medical Center), J. David Sweatt (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Li-Huei Tsai (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Benjamin Tycko (Columbia University).

    This symposium will review current knowledge on the contribution of epigenetic modifications in the initiation and progress of Alzheimer’s disease with the goal of advancing basic knowledge and identifying new areas for therapeutic interventions.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

    Targeting Synaptic Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease

    Organizers: Howard M. Fillit (Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation) and Sonya Dougal (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    This conference will provide an overview of the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in normal aging and in neurodegenerative disease, and outline therapeutic strategies to preserve vital neural connections.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011 | 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

    Case Studies in Psychiatry for Updating the DSM

    Keynote Speaker: John H. Krystal, MD (Yale University School of Medicine) and Darrel A. Regier, MD, MPH (American Psychiatric Association)

    This meeting will examine the current relationship between basic research and psychiatric diagnosis and the issues that need to be addressed for these two perspectives to more effectively inform one another.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Autism Spectrum Disorders: Early Behavioral Predictors and Biomarkers

    Speakers: Brett Abrahams (Albert Einstein College of Medicine), Ami Klin (Yale University), Tim Roberts (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), Matthew State (Yale University School of Medicine), and Paul Wang (Seaside Therapeutics)

    This meeting will feature researchers striving to advance our understanding of the causes of ASD and to improve the ability for early diagnosis through genetic, neuroimaging, and behavioral techniques.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010 | 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

    Mitochondrial Function as a Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer's Disease

    Organizers: Howard M. Fillit (Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation) and Sonya Dougal (The New York Academy of Sciences)

    Please join us for a critical discussion of potential drug therapeutics for mitochondrial dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Deciphering Bipolar Disorder: Insights for Improved Research Strategies

    Speakers: Haim Einat (University of Minnesota), Rif S. El-Mallakh (University of Louisville School of Medicine), Todd Gould (University of Maryland School of Medicine), Alexander B. Niculescu, III (Indiana University School of Medicine)

    This symposium will highlight new developments in Bipolar disorder models and biomarker identification, and will reveal how these new strategies can further our understanding of the disease and our ability to identify new therapies.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Is Alzheimer's Disease Type 3 Diabetes?

    Speakers: Suzanne M. de la Monte (Brown Medical School), William L. Klein (Northwestern University), José A. Luchsinger (Columbia University), Mark Mattson (National Institute on Aging, NIH)

    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been called Type 3 diabetes, unique to the brain; others suggest that diabetes is a risk factor for AD. This symposium will discuss the significance of cerebral metabolic disturbances in Alzheimer's disease.

  • Steering Committee

    Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD

    Columbia University

    Howard Fillit, MD

    Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation

    Kevin Lee, PhD

    Ellison Medical Foundation

    Cecilia Marta, PhD


    John Spiro, PhD

    Simons Foundation


  • Sponsors

    The Brain Dysfunction Discussion Group is proudly supported by

    • Acorda Therapeutics

    Get more information about how you can sponsor a discussion group.