The basal ganglia are an intricately interconnected group of subcortical brain regions that are critical for the motivation, selection, initiation, and execution of appropriate actions. Consistent with these roles, basal ganglia dysfunction is linked to debilitating psychomotor disorders, including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, dystonia, addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, and Tourette's syndrome. The Basal Ganglia GRC brings together basic, translational, and clinical research communities to discuss new data on basal ganglia function. The overarching theme is "from thought to action", which reflects the multitude of functions mediated by basal ganglia circuits, ranging from evaluating goals, to deciding and planning, to selecting a movement. Speakers will discuss new studies highlighting the diversity of circuits, cell types, and molecular mechanisms that contribute to cellular plasticity, interactions within and beyond basal ganglia circuits, cognition and decision, and new computational models. This conference will also highlight new discoveries enabled by new tools. Clinical relevance will be indicated by speakers addressing movement disorders, freezing of gait, addiction, and mental health. The collegial atmosphere of the Basal Ganglia GRC, with discussion sessions as well as opportunities for informal gatherings in the afternoons and evenings, provides an opportunity for scientists with different perspectives and disciplines to meet and discuss potential cross-disciplinary collaborations that should advance both basic and clinical research on the basal ganglia.
The conference will consist of nine sessions, on the topics listed below. The conference chair is currently developing their preliminary program, which will include the names of the invited speakers and discussion leaders for each of these sessions. The preliminary program will be available by July 1, 2019. Please check back for updates.
- Keynote Session: Models of Basal Ganglia and Learning
- Dissecting the Function of Basal Ganglia Projection Circuits
- Heterogeneity of Dopamine Neuron Function
- Modulating the Modulators
- Basal Ganglia in Health and Disease
- Functional Organization of Basal Ganglia Input and Output
- Insights into Old Problems from New Tools
- Basal Ganglia and Extended Circuits in Cognition and Decision-Making
- Dialogue Between Models of Basal Ganglia Function and Experimental Data