Plasticity in the Basal Ganglia: Dopamine and Beyond

All day
Through November 20, 2012

Nov. 18

Studies on the role of reinforcement learning in both motor control and motivated behavior are at the forefront of neuroscience research and integrate approaches ranging from behavioral to molecular. Its significance is reflected in its relevance to our daily lives. Our behaviors are shaped by reward and punishment histories through reinforcement learning.  Maladaptive reinforcement learning is implicated in many psychiatric and neurological disorders including addiction, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

One of the important neural substrates for reinforcement learning is corticostriatal plasticity which will be a central topic of the symposium.  Its modulation by dopamine and connected networks, its impact on basal ganglia function and on normal as well as maladaptive behaviors will be discussed.

The symposium will be divided into four sessions in two and half days. We will go from behavior, anatomy, neural circuits and cellular processes to molecular signaling. Besides formal presentations, we will have a lot of discussion time. Studies on reinforcement learning and basal ganglia function exemplify many of the important and challenging theoretical issues in neuroscience. We will have one open-ended discussion session devoted to two topics. In addition, we will limit each presentation to 20 min. We will leave the extra time to discussions and foster heated debates throughout the 3-day meeting.

Concrete goals of this symposium include:

The advancement of dopamine and basal ganglia research. The explosion of research in the field has created new challenges and opportunities. Bringing together top scientists in the field who have different views and approaches, integrating observations at different levels will bring new insights, especially in an intellectually stimulating atmosphere. One specific goal of the meeting is to identify key questions and controversies and propose research approaches to address them.
The facilitation of collaborations between meeting participants.  Participants will be from different countries, research institutes and disciplines. The symposium is sponsored by the University of Chicago and co-sponsored by the Chinese National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University. The University of Chicago has a core group of investigators whose research focuses on dopamine and the basal ganglia ( The symposium will provide good opportunities for interactions between all participants and establishing future collaborations.
Organizers: Xiaoxi Zhuang (Department of Neurobiology, University of Chicago) and Lin Lu (Chinese National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University)

Conference Agenda (tentative)

November 18

9: 10:20     Reception and registration

10:20               Opening remarks

Session 1. Anatomical pathways and neuronal activities that support specific behaviors.

(Moderator: Paul Vezina, University of Chicago)

10:30   Bernard Balleine         University of Sydney

Dopamine-opioid interactions in Pavlovian-instrumental transfer.

11:00   Henry Yin                   Duke University

Actions and goals: the integrative functions of the basal ganglia

11:30   Saleem Nicola             Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Pedal to the metal: how nucleus accumbens dopamine activates flexible navigation towards reward

12:00   Paul Phillips                University of Washington

Can dopamine comply to model-free learning algorithms and also regulate decision making?

12:30   Lunch (buffet at HuiXianFu Dining Hall on Renmin University Campus).

(Moderator: Jeff Beeler, University of Chicago)

2:30     Tony Grace                 University of Pittsburgh

Tonic and phasic dopamine transmission and the modulation of response selection.

3:00     Stan Floresco              University of British Columbia

Dopaminergic and habenular modulation of risky choice

3:30     Nicolas Vautrell          University of Sheffield

Dopamine made me do it but what did I learn?

4:00     John Salamone            University of Connecticut

Effort-related effects of tetrabenazine: Implications for animal models of the motivational symptoms of depression

4:30     Break

(Moderator: John Salamone, University of Connecticut)

5:00     Ralph Dileone             Yale University

Cortico-limbic interactions and control of food intake

5:30     Bruce Hope                 NIDA

Characterizing neuronal ensembles in addiction-related behaviors

6:00     Lin Lu                                     Peking University

Retrieval-extinction procedure to erase drug memories

6:30     Harriet deWit              University of Chicago

Harmonizing human and nonhuman findings: acute behavioral effects of amphetamine.

7:00     Free time.  Conclusion of Day 1

Nov 19th

Session 2. Synaptic transmission and plasticity that support specific functions.

(Moderator: Dan McGehee, University of Chicago)

8:30     Susan Sesack               University of Pittsburgh

Dopamine neuron regulation: connectivity upstream and downstream of the basal ganglia

9:00     Elyssa Margolis           UCSF

Functional heterogeneity in subsets of midbrain dopamine neurons

9:30     Steve Rayport                         Columbia University

Dopamine neuron functional connectomics

10:00   Xiangdong William Yang       UCLA

Genetic dissection of pathological basal ganglia circuitry

10:30   Break

(Moderator: Paul Phillips, University of Washington)

11:00   David Lovinger           NIAAA

Coordinated calcium signaling in the direct and indirect pathways and calcium transients in dopaminergic terminals

11:30   Dan McGehee             University of Chicago

Modulation of corticostriatal plasticity by the cAMP pathway

12:00   Anatol Kreitzer           UCSF

Striatal mechanisms underlying adaptive motor behaviors

12:30   Box lunch at the Center

(Moderator: Yan Dong, University of Pittsburgh)

1:30     Jeff Beeler                   University of Chicago

When plasticity goes bad: aberrant learning and Parkinson’s disease

2:00     Un Kang                     University of Chicago

The role of cholinergic interneurons in levodopa-induced dyskinesia of Parkinson’s disease

2:30     Joe Tsien                     Georgia Health Sciences University

Molecular and neural insights into habit learning disease

3:00     Ming Xu                      University of Chicago

Dopamine receptors and drug-induced reward learning

3:30     Break

(Moderator: Harriet deWit, University of Chicago)

4:00     Marina Wolf                Rosalind Franklin University

Plasticity of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors regulates cocaine craving

4:30     Yan Dong                   University of Pittsburgh

Synaptic reorganization in craving behaviors

5:00     Christian Luscher        University of Geneva

Drug-evoked synaptic plasticity: from cellular mechanisms to circuit remodeling and addictive behavior

5:30     Leave for dinner at Quanjude Peking Duck Restaurant. Conclusion of Day 2

Nov 20th

Session 3. Signaling pathways and therapeutic strategies for basal ganglia diseases

(Moderator: Ming Xu, University of Chicago)

8:30     Paul Vezina                 University of Chicago

Dopamine-glutamate signaling in the nucleus accumbens and the expression of stimulant sensitization

9:00     Ping Zheng                  Fudan University

Influence of chronic morphine exposure on dopamine D1 receptors

9:30     Zhuan Zhou                Peking University

Cocaine preferentially potentiates fast releasable vesicle pool in mouse dopaminergic striatum in vivo

10:00   Lin Xu                       Kunming Institute of  Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Deficiency of central 5-HT causes inflexible recall of an established morphine conditioned place preference

10:30   Break

(Moderator: Lei Wang, Georgia Health Sciences University)

11:00   Bill Green                    University of Chicago

The role of palmitoylation in neurodegenerative diseases

11:30   Minmin Luo                National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing

Behavioral and physiological functions of membrane guanylyl cyclase receptors

12:00   Xiaoxi Zhuang            University of Chicago

Dopamine, economic decision making and thrifty genes

12:30   Kurt Rasmussen          Ely Lilly

Therapeutic strategies for novel antipsychotics

1:00     Catered lunch at the center

Session 4. Open-ended discussions (with wine and beer!!!)

Topic 1. Dopamine and behavior: issues and controversies (Discussion leader: Saleem Nicola)

Topic 2. Plasticity in the striatum: roles in learning/memory and neurological/neuropsychiatric disorders (Discussion leader: David Lovinger)

Conclusion of Day 3.