International Symposium

Invited Guest Speakers

Claudia Bagni : UNIL | Université de Lausanne

Claudia received her Ph.D. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Rome, “Tor Vergata”. Following postdoctoral positions in France, Germany, and the United States, she established her own laboratory in Rome (“Tor Vergata”) and later also in KU Leuven. In 2016, Claudia was appointed director of the DNF where her group continues to work on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptopathies.

Grae Davis : UCSF | University of California, San Francisco

Grae and his lab have pioneered the rapidly growing field of homeostatic plasticity. Using powerful forward genetics screens they have discovered cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the homeostatic stabilization of synaptic transmission. Recently, they have discovered some of the first mechanisms responsible for the homeostatic control of neuronal firing rate. Grae has served as the Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Dan Feldman : UC Berkeley

Dan Feldman received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Stanford University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). His laboratory was at UCSD from 2000-2007. He has been at UC Berkeley since 2007.

Julijana Gjorgjieva : Research Group Leader at the MPI for Brain Research

Julijana is a computational neuroscientist studying the emergence of organization and computation in neural circuits during postnatal development and evolution. She is interested in the interaction of single neuron properties and synaptic plasticity to appropriately wire circuits at the cellular and sub-cellular levels during development, and the homeostatic mechanisms that recover neuronal function after perturbation. She works closely with experimentalists to constrain her models and to test modeling predictions in different model organisms from mouse to fly. She obtained her PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cambridge in 2011, and did postdocs at Harvard University and Brandeis University in the US, supported by grants from the Swartz Foundation and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund. In 2016, she set up an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt and joined TUM as an assistant professor shortly after as part of the MaxPlanck@TUM program.

Phil Haydon : Tufts University

Philip G. Haydon is the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professor and Chair of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). For thirty years his research has focused on roles played by glial cells in the modulation of neurons and recently into the use of glial targets as therapeutic interventions for brain disorders.

Friedemann Zenke : FMI | Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research

Currently a junior group leader at the FMI in Basel, Friedemann Zeneke was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and Stanford University. The overall aim of the Zeneke’s new lab in Basel is to understand the principles that underlie memory formation and information processing in biological neural networks. To this end, they build neural network models with experience-dependent plasticity and study how specific function can emerge through the orchestrated interplay of different plasticity mechanisms.

The following scientists were invited, but are unable to attend due to diary conflicts.

Yuki Goda : Riken Brain Science Institute (Wakō city, Japan)

Yuki Goda's research seeks to understand how synapses acquire a particular strength and how the strength of individual synapses is dynamically modified in relationship to other synapses of the neural network. Her lab studies how these mechanisms of synaptic strength regulation control neural circuit properties underlying particular types of behavior.

Gina Turrigiano : Brandeis University (Waltham, Massachusetts, USA)

The Turrigiano lab studies the plasticity mechanisms that allow our brains to “tune themselves up” and remain both plastic and stable. They are especially interested in understanding how homeostatic mechanisms operate within complex circuits, where they interact with classical forms of synaptic plasticity such as LTP/LTD to allow experience-dependent circuit refinement and learning.

Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

Max-von-Laue-Straße 4, 60438 Frankfurt am Main

By Train

Take the U-Bahn from Frankfurt Central Station to Willy-Brandt Platz (U4 to Enkheim or U5 to Preungesheim). From Willy-Brandt Platz take the U8 (direction Riedberg) to Uni Campus Riedberg. The MPI for Brain Research is a short walk from there.

By Plane

Frankfurt Airport: Take train 8 or 9 towards Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhof). At Hauptwache switch to U8 (direction Riedberg) to the campus. Then, get off at Uni Campus Riedberg. The MPI for Brain Research is a short walk from there.

Please note that the airport Frankfurt-Hahn is located almost 140 km from the MPI for Brain Research. Visitors to the MPI are recommended to only book flights to Frankfurt Airport.

By car

Campus Riedberg is north of Frankfurt close to the Bad Homburger Kreuz on the A5 motorway. From the Bad Homburger Kreuz take the A661 towards Offenbach (not Bad Homburg). Take the second exit (Heddernheim) onto Marie-Curie-Straße. Then, take a right on to the Altenhöfer Allee at the (second) traffic lights (follow the sign for Riedberg). Then, left at the roundabout on to the Max-von-Laue-Straße. The institute is located on your right-hand side. Parking available on-campus.

At the Venue

  • Name badges can be collected from the reception area.
  • Food and refreshments will be served outside the lecture hall.
  • WLAN will be available to guests.
  • The Bistro is available for other food and drink items (cost not covered).
  • Please make note of the fire safety instructions and the exits.


After the event on Thursday all 1080 PIs are invited to attend a dinner with the guest speakers at the Minerva Bistro.