2013 Gill Symposium honors Bruce L. McNaughton and Loren M. Frank for achievements in neuroscience

  • Sept. 13, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Neuroscientists from Canada and California will receive top honors this month during the annual Gill Symposium at Indiana University Bloomington, where researchers studying memory, cognition and other complex behaviors will take the stage.

The IU Gill Center for Biomolecular Science will honor Bruce L. McNaughton with the 2013 Gill Award. McNaughton is the AIHS Polaris Research Chair at the Department of Neuroscience and Canadian Center for Behavioural Neurosciences at the University of Lethbridge. His research centers around the physiological and computational basis of cognition, focusing mainly on memory and memory disorders.

Loren M. Frank, associate professor of the University of California San Francisco Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Department of Physiology, will receive this year’s Gill Young Investigator Award. His findings have broken new ground concerning memory formation and wakefulness.

The 2013 Gill Symposium will take place Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Indiana Memorial Union at IU Bloomington. Registration is required, but is free.

Bruce L. McNaughton

According to Gerry Oxford, executive director of the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute and professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the IU School of Medicine, McNaughton has provided definitive experimental evidence for the concept that consolidation of memory --  in this case the memory of an individual journey in space -- was facilitated by repetitive "replay" of the hippocampal neuronal activity that occurred during the actual experience.

"His scientific accomplishments are extraordinary and broad, but with a relentless focus on understanding cognitive function through the dynamics of functional brain circuitry," Oxford said.

After receiving the award, McNaughton will present his talk, "Doughnuts in the Brain: A Toroidal Attractor Theory of the Cognitive Map," followed by a question and answer session.

Loren M. Frank

Ken Mackie, Linda and Jack Gill Chair of Neuroscience and Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said Frank's work has shown that neurons "relive" recent patterns of activity during wakefulness.

"Interfering with these processes disrupts memory formation," Mackie said. "These results tell us that memory consolidation occurs when an animal is awake."

Frank will present a talk titled "Neural Substrates of Memory and Decision-Making" after receiving his award, and will also host a Q-and-A.

In addition to the talks by McNaughton and Frank, two additional neuroscientists will be presenting their research. The first is Joshua Dubnau, from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, whose talk is: "Micro-RNA 276a and the Zombie Fruit Fly," while the second is Ivan Soltesz, from the University of California, Irvine, discussing: "Organization and Control of Hippocampal Chronocircuits."

After the formal talks, all four symposium speakers will participate in a panel discussion. This year, the researchers will discuss ways in which model systems can best be used to study memory and cognition.

This year's Gill Center graduate student award will be presented to Vijay K. Ramanan, who works in Professor Andrew Saykin's neuroscience lab at IUPUI.

For more information about the Gill Symposium or the Gill Center please contact Misty Theodore at 812-856-1930 or mtheodor@indiana.edu. To speak with Professor McNaughton, contact Amanda Mauthe-Kaddoura at 403-332-4099 or amanda.mauthe2@uleth.ca. Professor Frank can be reached at 415-502-7357 or loren@phy.ucsf.edu.

About the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science

The Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, was established by a generous gift from Linda and Jack Gill to advance the understanding of complex biological processes and to train the next generation of scientists in biomolecular measurements, especially in the field of neuroscience. Members and collaborators include faculty from IU's departments of Biology, Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Physics, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience and the School of Medicine. 

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Bruce L. McNaughton

Bruce L. McNaughton

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Loren M. Frank

Loren M. Frank

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Media Contacts

Misty Theodore

  • Gill Center
  • Office 812-856-1930
  • mtheodor@indiana.edu