Brain in Flux

Brain in Flux

FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute Sponsors International Neuroscience Meeting

The FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute recently co-sponsored “Brain in Flux,” an international meeting hosted in Gaia, Portugal, that brings together an international group of scientists and their trainees to discuss the latest advances in biological transport mechanisms in the brain.

Randy Blakely, Ph.D., executive director of the Brain Institute, chaired a session on new advances in transport and disorders associated with the neurotransmitter serotonin. In addition, Cristina Fenollar Ferrer, Ph.D., associate research professor at the Brain Institute, and Carina Meinke, a graduate student in the Brain Institute’s Blakely lab and the International Max Planck Research School for Synapses & Circuits, were selected by the event’s Scientific Advisory Committee to present during the meeting. Meinke was also awarded a travel stipend based on her submitted abstract.

Brain in Flux is held every two years as a satellite to the biennial meeting of the International Society of Neurochemistry, which takes place in nearby Porto, Portugal. The program focuses on hot topics in neurotransmitter transport research, including:

  • How metabolites, nutrients and drugs (both illicit and therapeutic) move across the blood-brain barrier to support brain function and where alterations can lead to brain disease.
  • Mechanisms by which brain cells (e.g., neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia) secrete and remove chemical substances through transport proteins.
  • How several of these proteins can be corrupted by disease-associated mutations or targeted by drugs, such as treatments for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety and epilepsy, as well as drugs of abuse (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA/Ecstasy).

“This was truly one of the best meetings I have attended in recent years,” Blakely said. “The interactions of senior scientists and trainees from across the world is important for the health of the field and brain science in general. The sponsorship from the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute was vital to running the meeting, helping support the attendance of junior scientists.”

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