Since 1984, the CNLM has hosted an annual scientific conference in the spring to discuss recent advances in the field and launch new collaborations and synergies. The conferences include several themed symposia, short presentations by trainees, panel discussions, and keynote lectures. It is a crucial scientific development opportunity for students and postdocs as well as a faculty. Attendance is by invitation only (except for the triennial international conference – see 2018 below), and the program is developed by a committee of CNLM faculty fellows, including external fellows. The conferences are highly renowned for their intellectual atmosphere, use of the 50/50 discussion rule, and the special edited volumes that result from them. Typical attendance at the annual conference is between 100-120 attendees. Attendance at the 2018 meeting exceeded 1,000 scientists.
2019 - New Directions in Memory: Modulation, Mapping, and Machines
April 25-26, 2019
Ron Frostig, Christine Gall, Sunil Gandhi, and John Guzowski.
The topics for the 2019 spring meeting were based on the CNLM Fall Retreat in 2018, where team science brainstorming sessions identified strategic areas of development for collaborative research themes at the Center. The three symposia selected and developed for this conference were based on extensive discussions among CNLM faculty and plans to develop center-scale federally funded research programs in these areas. The first “Big Idea” was related to mapping plasticity which focused on cortical and subcortical integration across levels of analysis. The second idea focused on bidirectional memory modulation and its relationship to vulnerability or resilience to psychiatric illness, with a particular focus on transdiagnostic constructs. The third idea focused on artificial memory systems, with a particular focus on developing a complete understanding of information flow in perception-memory-action cycles and using this information to build tomorrow’s intelligent machines. Finally, one “Big Idea” discussed involved examining signaling at the neuro-immune interface, however, this topic will be addressed separately in a dedicated symposium later in 2019.
Symposium 1: Frontiers in Bidirectional Memory Modulation
Moderator: Christine Gall, Ph.D.
- Lulu Chen, Ph.D. (UC Irvine)
- Steve Ramirez, Ph.D. (Boston University)
- Nanthia Suthana, Ph.D. (UCLA)
- Brian Wiltgen, Ph.D. (UC Davis)
Symposium 2: Novel Approaches in Mapping Plasticity in Neural Circuits
Moderator: Ron Frostig, Ph.D.
- Kevin Beier, Ph.D. (UC Irvine)
- Brenda Bloodgood, Ph.D. (UCSD)
- Laura DeNardo, Ph.D. (UCLA)
- Jun-Hyeong Cho, Ph.D. (UCRiverside)
- Symposium 3: Information Processing and Computation in Learning and Memory
- Moderator: Bruce McNaughton, Ph.D.
- Bartlett Mel, Ph.D. (USC)
- Maksim Bazhenov, Ph.D. (UCSD)
- Mimi Liljeholm, Ph.D. (UCIrvine)
- Tatyana Sharpee, Ph.D. (Salk Institute)
Timothy Murphy, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia)
2018 - The International Conference on Learning & Memory: LEARNMEM™2018
April 18-22, 2018
Huntington Beach, CA
Michael A. Yassa, Tallie Z. Baram, Sunil Gandhi, Kei Igarashi, Barbara Knowlton, Dane Clemenson, Brittney Cox, Gabriel Elias, Janine Kwapis, Alberto Lopez, Freddie Marquez, Maria Montchal, Terra White.
The field of learning and memory has evolved rapidly over the last fifty years. Technological advances have made it possible to observe and record from a large number of neurons simultaneously, manipulate cellular activity to influence regional dynamics, visualize whole brain structure and function with unprecedented resolution, and create artificial intelligence that is capable of complex problem solving. With new technologies, the nature of the questions the field is able to address has also evolved. In 2018, the CNLM hosted the first International Conference on Learning and Memory (LEARNMEM™) in Huntington Beach, California, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Center and to bring the field together to discuss the latest research in learning and memory, spanning across all levels of analysis. The conference was attended by 1,034 scientists from 35 countries and was supported by two NIH grants and 32 commercial and nonprofit sponsors. Approximately half of the attendees and speakers, both invited and accepted, were women. The conference featured 35 symposia, 240 talks, 280 posters and 16 plenary lectures, including a keynote by Nobelist Dr. Edvard Moser, co-director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. The significant attendance and participation at LEARNMEM™2018, which will be held triennially, is a testament to the growth of the learning and memory field as well as the increasing desire for interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration.
The full program for LEARNMEM™2018, including all scientific abstracts, is available online (http://learnmem2018.org). Contributions from the conference are now published in two special issues. The first is a special research topic for Frontiers in Neuroscience which has collected more than 100 contributions, either in press or under review (https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/7985/learning-and-memory). The second is a special issue of the journal Learning and Memory focused on research presented at the conference.
Edvard Moser (Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway)
Edvard Moser is a professor of neuroscience and director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim. He is interested in how spatial location and spatial memory are computed in the brain. His work, conducted with May-Britt Moser as a long-term collaborator, includes the discovery of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, which provides the first clues to a neural mechanism for the metric of spatial mapping. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014 with May-Britt Moser and John O’Keefe for their work identifying the cells that make up the brain’s positioning system.
- James L. McGaugh (UCI)
- Lynn Nadel (University of Arizona)
- Carol Barnes (University of Arizona)
- Claudia Kawas (UCI)
- Daniel Schacter (Harvard University)
- Caroline Montojo (Kavli Foundation)
- Elizabeth Phelps (New York University)
- Neal Cohen (University of Illinois)
- Reisa Sperling (Harvard University)
- György Buzsáki (New York University)
- Molly Wagster (National Institute on Aging)
- Ann Graybiel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- Gary Lynch (UCI)
- Elizabeth Loftus (UCI)
- Bruce McNaughton (UCI)
- Richard Morris (University of Edinburgh)
2017 - The Persistence of Memory
April 13-14, 2017
Tallie Z. Baram, Christie Fowler, Gary Lynch, Stephen Mahler, and Marcelo Wood.
What makes some memories fleeting and others persistent? In 1890, William James suggested that memories, particularly emotional ones, can be so strong as to leave “a scar upon the cerebral tissues”. For centuries, the ability of salient experiences to leave behind persistent traces has captivated scientists and philosophers alike. While we now have a better understanding of the neural bases underlying the formation of many types of memory, the neural mechanisms of their persistence, and implications of this persistence for neuropsychiatric disorders have been subject to much debate. For example, it is not clear whether persistence and forgetting are active or passive processes at a physiological or biochemical level. Our understanding of how memory traces are transformed over time by repetition, rehearsal and reconsolidation (broadly defined) is also evolving and subject to conflicting views. The role of modulatory processes – including reward, stress, and fear – in making memories persistent is also a rapidly growing area of interest, with particularly important clinical implications. The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory focused on this particular set of issues and facilitate a discussion of the state of the science, crucial unresolved questions, and experimental paths forward.
Symposium 1: Persistence in rehearsal, retrieval, and reconsolidation
Moderator: James McGaugh
- Courtney Miller (Scripps Research Institute, Florida)
- Gary Lynch (University of California, Irvine)
- Michael Yassa(University of California, Irvine)
Session 2: Persistence of reward and addiction memories
Moderator: Marcelo Wood
- Christie Fowler (University of California, Irvine)
- Steve Mahler (University of California, Irvine)
- Matthew Lattal (Oregon Health and Sciences University)
Session 3: Persistence of fear and stress memories
Moderator: Tallie Z. Baram
- Helen Scharfman (New York University)
- Julie Lauterborn (University of California, Irvine)
- Steve Maren (Texas A&M University)
What makes some memories lasting and some memories fleeting?
Moderator: Alcino Silva (UCLA)
2016 - Guts, Brains and Memory Dynamics
May 20, 2016
Larry Cahill, Jorge Busciglio, Daniele Piomelli
Neuroscience in the main explores brain function with little or no reference to the body. However, this situation appears finally to be changing, as investigators increasingly recognizethat in many situations the brain functions in tight conjunction with the body, thus can only be fully understood as such. The first session of the conferences focuses on this profound and relatively new development in brain science, and in particular work an understanding of the gut microbiome, the role of endocannabinoid signaling from the gut, and the relationship between diabetes and cognition. The second session attempts to make headway on understanding neurons as dynamical systems. Neurons “carry their histories on their backs”. To date, neuroscience has often assumed a given population of neurons responds in a stochastic fashion, as if all of the given units are at the same basal state. The complexities of cell signaling, and its tight coupling to neural firing patterns, would suggest that every neuron is at some different state at any given time. Indeed, recent neurophysiological studies suggest that there is a large degree of heterogeneity in the responses of hippocampal neurons, and that “pre-play” of neurons before experience suggests a “stacking of the deck”. How do such dynamics influence which neurons are engaged during learning? What are these molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal allocation? How could such molecular and cellular dynamics facilitate memory formation? These are some of the questions that were addressed in this session.
Discussion 1: Putting the Brain Back in the Body
- Lisa Kilpatrick (UCLA)
- Daniele Piomelli (UC Irvine)
- Jorge Busciglio (UC Irvine)
Discussion 2: Stacking the Deck? The Dynamics of Memory Dynamics
- Bruce McNaughton (UCI)
- John Guzowski (UCI)
- Alcino Silva (UCLA)
Norman Weinberger Memorial Lecture: James McGaugh, UC Irvine
2015 - Frontiers in Memory Research: Sex, Inhibition, and Engrams
April 23-24, 2015
Larry Cahill, John Guzowski, Tim Bredy
The 2015 conference is held in remembrance of Richard Thompson who passed away on September 16, 2014 at the age of 84. We remember him fondly as a pioneer in the neuroscience of learning and memory, and a wonderful mentor and colleague. Dick was among the first to ever link neural plasticity with behavioral plasticity, work that he began while at UC Irvine. Subsequently at Stanford University, he elegantly mapped in exquisite detail the neural circuitry involved in the rabbit classical eye-blink conditioned reflex, providing very diverse yet cohesive and compelling evidence that the cerebellum mediated this response, contrary to popular beliefs about the cerebellum’s role in motor control and not learning. His seminal work is a model for how circuit mapping and systems neuroscience should be conducted. Tracy Shors was invited to deliver the Richard Thompson Memorial Lecture.
Symposium 1: Sex Influences on Brain and Memory
Moderator: Larry Cahill (UC Irvine)
- Tracey Shors (Rutgers University)
- Mohammed Milad (Harvard University)
- Michael Fanselow (UCLA)
Symposium 2: Inhibitory Mechanisms of Plasticity and Memory
Moderator: Tim Bredy (UC Irvine)
- Greg Quirk (University of Puerto Rico)
- Tim Bredy (UC Irvine)
- Melissa Davis (UC Irvine)
- Marcelo Wood (UC Irvine)
Symposium 3: New Frontiers in the Search for the Engram
Moderator: Jim McGaugh, UC Irvine
- Haruhiko Bito (University of Tokyo)
- Brian Wiltgen (UC Davis)
- Mark Mayford (UC Dan Diego)
Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health, NIH
Richard F. Thompson Memorial Lecture: Tracey Shors, Rutgers University
2014 - From Models to Neural Circuits to Behavior: What Does Pattern Separation Have to do With Memory?
May 1-2, 2014
Craig Stark, Ivan Soltesz, Norbert Fortin
Pattern separation can be defined in many way and coming up with good operational definitions is part of the mission statement. However, a reasonable first pass is something like “the process of reducing interference among similar inputs by using non-overlapping representations“. In the brain, this is represented by using distinct neural codes. Although this definition seems simple and straightforward, it is far from it, and there are lots of nuances and caveats. For example, what do we mean by “distinct neural codes”? What is “interference”? How is quantified? How do we determine if a region or cell ensemble performed pattern separation? What kind of data can allow us to conclude that such a computation occurred? In other words, what is its neural basis? What kind of flexible behavior does it support? The 2014 spring conference aims to provide an interface for interaction among colleagues who do work in this area of investigation and discuss pertinent issues related to pattern separation. This includes discussions of operational definitions of pattern separation at several levels (computational, neural, behavioral) and the applications of findings in this realm to translational investigations of clinical disorders.
Symposium 1: What is pattern separation? What makes the dentate gyrus special?
Moderator: Ivan Soltesz (UC Irvine)
- Bruce McNaughton (UC Irvine)
- Jill Leutgeb (UCSD)
- Jim Knierim (Johns Hopkins University)
Symposium 2: How can we link pattern separation and behavior?
Moderator: Michael Yassa (UC Irvine)
- Michael Fanselow (UCLA)
- John Guzowski (UC Irvine)
- Craig Stark (UC Irvine)
Symposium 3: What is the role of neurogenesis?
Moderator: John Guzowski (UC Irvine)
- Brad Aimone (Sandia National Labs)
- Paul Frankland (Hospital for Sick Children)
- John Guzowski (UC Irvine)
Symposium 4: Is there pattern separation outside the mammalian hippocampus?
Moderator: Georg Striedter (UC Irvine)
- Norbert Fortin (UC Irvine)
- Donald Wilson (New York University)