2008 John Merck Fund Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities

BJ Casey, Barbara Finlay and Jason Zevin

The eighth annual Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York during the week of June 22-27, 2008. The course featured experts examining sensitive periods of development and how genetic and environmental (e.g., toxins, stress, nutrition) factors influence development and may put some children at greater risk for poor outcomes. A list of invited lectures follows. Students benefited from lectures given by internationally renowned scientists and participate in didactic interactions with the speakers on each methodology described. The institute is geared toward graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and provides travel stipends, room, and partial board for attendees. The summer institute originated with funding from The John Merck Fund and is a collaborative effort of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology of Weill Cornell Medical College and the Cognitive Science Program at Cornell University as part of a joint campus training initiative (IMAGINE) and joint campus Center for Brain Genes, and Behavior research across development (CBGB).

2008 JUNE 22 Sunday: Opening Address and Introductions
2:30 Coffee and cookies
3:00
Welcome and Overview
 
3:15
History and Objective of Course
 
3:30
Genomics of the evolutionary process
 
4:30
Distinguished Professor, Birkbeck College, London
Opening Address: Emergent modularity: The developing individual from genes, brain to behavior
 
5:30 Opening Reception and Dinner
Dijon, 311 Third St.
 
7:30 Student Introductions by the Students  
2008 JUNE 23 Monday: Introduction to Genetic and Imaging Methods
8:30 Breakfast
8:45
Genetics for Dummies: Introduction
 
9:00
Charles Glatt
Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College
Importance of molecular, physiological and behavioral phenotypes
 
10:00
Kevin Bath
Lasdon-Sackler Fellow, Weill Cornell Medical College
Translation: From animals to humans.
 
11:00
Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College
Using genetic mouse models to inform complex behavior
 
12:00 Lunch on your own  
1:15
Imaging for Dummies: Introduction
 
1:30
Principles of MRI
 
2:30
Basic and advanced fMRI techniques
 
3:30 Break with refreshments  
3:45
Neuroanatomical Image Analysis
 
4:45
Novel approaches to fMRI analysis
 
2008 JUNE 24 Tuesday: Genetic control of plasticity across the lifespan: critical periods
7:30 Breakfast
8:15
Introduction and Overview
 
8:30
Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
Cellular and behavioral studies of critical periods in the songbird
 
10:30
Plasticity in visual cortex.
 
12:30 Lunch on your own  
2:30
Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley
Plasticity of auditory cortex in development
 
3:30 Break with refreshments  
7:00 Informal Dinner and Games with Lecturers
Helen Newman Bowling Alley (on campus)
 
2008 JUNE 25 Wednesday: The role of the Environment on Development
7:30 Breakfast
8:15
Introduction and Overview
 
8:30
The environment of childhood poverty
 
10:30
Genetic and environmental factors in ADHD: New insights from lead exposure studies
 
12:30 Lunch on your own  
2:30
Assistant Professor of Bio Statistics and Computational Bio, Cornell University
Quantitative genetics and genomics
 
2008 JUNE 26 Thursday: Learning across different time scales
7:30 Breakfast
8:15
Introduction and Overview
 
8:30
Learning and the hippocampal circuit
 
10:30
MIT
Formation and maintenance of memories within the hippocampus and neocortex
 
12:30 Lunch on your own  
2:30 Debate and Skit Preparation  
3:30 Break with refreshments  
6:00 Group Picture, Gala, and Debate
AD Whie House (East Avenue, on campus)
 
2008 JUNE 27 Friday: Closing Address
8:30 Breakfast
9:00
Introduction
 
9:10
Closing Address: Stress as we know it: Mental and physical health
 
11:00
Wrap Up, Course Evaluations
 
11:30 Adjourn  

Address
Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Box 140, 1300 York Avenue NY, NY 10065
Phone
212.746.5836
Fax
212.746.5755