Public Release: 

Symposium turns spotlight on brain research

Nearly 230 neuroscientists expected to attend the 10th annual 'Glial-neuronal Interactions in Health and Disease' symposium at UC Riverside on Jan. 13

University of California - Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The brain is home to two kinds of cells: neurons and glia, with the latter protecting the former. Glia, the stuff between neurons, are important also because they regulate and define neuron-neuron communication.

The study of glia is so intense that an annual symposium held at the University of California, Riverside on how glial-neuronal interactions impact health and disease is in its 10th year.

The next "Glial-neuronal Interactions in Health and Disease" symposium will take place on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, and is expected to attract about 230 top brain-researchers. Scientists attending the symposium will discuss and present their latest findings in glial-neuronal interactions - now one of the most active pursuits in brain research.

The symposium is from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Room 302 of the Highlander Union Building, a short walk from the bell tower on campus. Registration is free for attendees from UC Riverside, non-profit organizations and the media. For others, registration costs $175 per person, which includes lunch. All attendees are requested to register.

"At UC Riverside, we have a novel focus - glial-neuronal interactions applied to a multiplicity of diseases," said Monica Carson, Ph.D., the director of the UCR Center for Glial-Neuronal Interactions (CGNI) and a professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine, who is organizing the symposium. "We look at mechanisms common to all of these diseases, as well as how one disease differs from the rest. Our center is unique in that we examine glial-neuronal interactions at a level that few other centers worldwide do. We are very pleased to host the symposium for the tenth year in a row."

Carson, who is also the chair of Biomedical Sciences, said that glia play prominent and often causative roles in the development of many common neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders including Alzheimer's disease, autism-spectrum disorders, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.

The keynote lecture will be given at 10 a.m. by Greg Lemke, Ph.D., whose lab has made major contributions to understanding the role that receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) play in mammalian development and physiology. Lemke is Françoise Gilot-Salk Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he is a member of the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and co-director of the Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Laboratory. He is also adjunct professor of neurosciences, and biomedical sciences, at UC San Diego. A major focus of his current research is the TAM family of RTKs -- Tyro3, Axl, and Mer -- and how this family functions in immune regulation, virus infection, and cancer.

See the complete schedule for the symposium.

The Glenn Hatton Lecture at 5 p.m. will be given by Tore Eid, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of laboratory medicine and the associate director of the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Conn. Eid's research focuses on the discovery of novel diagnostics and therapeutics of epilepsy, one of the most common chronic neurological disorders in humans. The lecture honors the memory and vision of Glenn I. Hatton, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience at UCR who died in 2009.


Founded in 2007, CGNI, the first center in UCR's School of Medicine, facilitates innovative collaborations between neuro- and glial-centric researchers, as well as with researchers from outside the field of neuroscience. The goal is to understand how the central nervous system functions at the molecular level and to identify both risk factors for brain disease and therapeutic targets of intervention for neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and neuro-autoimmune disease.

The 10th annual "Glial-neuronal Interactions in Health and Disease" symposium is supported by UCR's School of Medicine, the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, the Graduate Program in Neurosciences, the Glenn Hatton Memorial Fund, and several sponsors.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment is now nearly 23,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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