2009 John Merck Fund Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities

BJ Casey, Barbara Finlay and Leah Somerville

The ninth annual John Merck Fund Summer Institute on the Biology of Developmental Disabilities was held during the week of June 9-14, 2009 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. This week-long course featured expert speakers whose work focuses on the organization and development of brain systems mediating learning, emotion, and reward processing and their relation to developmental and psychiatric disorders. Course faculty investigated these issues using a wide variety of scientific approaches, including developmental, behavioral, comparative, imaging, genetic, and clinical. Students benefited from lectures given by internationally renowned scientists and will 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 currently a collaborative effort of The John Merck Fund, 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 Behavioral Research Across Development (CBGB).



TENTATIVE PROGRAM
2009 JUNE 9 Tuesday: Opening Address and Introductions
NOTE: All opening day activities will take place at AD White House (East Avenue, on campus)
4:30 pm
Historical Overview of Summer Institute and The John Merck Fund & Overview of the 2009 Summer Institute: The week to come!
 
5:00 pm
Opening Address: New Directions in Autism Research
 
6:30 pm Opening Reception and Dinner
 
7:30 pm Student Introductions  
2009 JUNE 10 Wednesday: Genetic and Environmental Risk Factors
8:45am
Introduction and Overview
 
9:00am
Population and Statistical Genetics
 
10:30am
Animal models of attachment and its influence on cognitive and emotional development
 
12:00pm Lunch on your own  
2:00pm
A mouse model for examining gene by environmental interactions across development
 
2009 JUNE 11 Thursday: The Development of Emotion and Learning
8:45 am
Introduction and Overview
 
9:00 am
Animal models of fear conditioning and extinction
 
10:30am
Development of neural substrates involved in human emotion
 
12:00pm Lunch on your own  
2:00pm
Gene by environment interactions in development
 
6:00pm Informal dinner and activities with faculty  
2009 JUNE 12 Friday: Adolescence and Risk for Psychopathology
8:45 am
Introduction and Overview
 
9:00am
Interpreting developmental neuroimaging data: What are the challenges?
 
10:30am
Influence of pubertal hormones on adolescent brain development
 
12:00pm Lunch on your own  
2:00pm Student Preparation of Skits  
2009 JUNE 13 Saturday: Social Learning & Psychopathology
8:45 am
Introduction and Overview
 
9:00am
The role of context in social learning in adults
 
10:30am
Implications for social learning in psychopathology
 
12:30pm Lunch on your own  
2:30pm Student Preparation of Skits for Evening Debate  
5:30pm Group Picture, Gala, and Debate
The Carriage House Cafe (305 Stewart Ave., Ithaca)
 
2009 JUNE 14 Sunday: Closing Address
8:45 am
Introduction and Overview
 
9:00am
Closing Address: Fetal Exposures and Infant/Child Outcome
 
11:00am
Closing remarks, course evaluations
 
11:30am Adjourn  


*Confirmed speaker
Address
Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Box 140, 1300 York Avenue NY, NY 10065
Phone
212.746.4886
Fax
212.746.5755