This proposal requests support for a unique international meeting, the biennial Neurobiology of Drosophila conference at Cold Spring Harbor to be held in 2013, the 15th meeting in this series. For the 2013 edition, the organizers have refocused the meeting on topics of direct bearing on the central goals of the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint, in particular the mission of NINDS, but also those of NICHD, NIDA, NIA and NIMH. In particular, this meeting will explore the latest advances that are being made in the highly successful model system the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster using the combined power of genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, electrophysiology, imaging, and behavioral analysis to address fundamental issues in neurobiology with direct relevance to human health and disease. The meeting will comprise seven slide sessions: i) Brain, Behavior and evolution ii) Higher Order Nervous System Function;iii) Neurological disease models &mechanisms;iv) Neural circuits and computation;v) Synaptic transmission and plasticity;vi) Neural development;and vii) Technological innovations. There will also be three poster sessions, presenting additional work drawn from each of these areas. Finally, there will also be one plenary talk, the Benzer lecture, which will be given by Dr. Larry Zipursky, one of the leaders in the field of neurobiology whose scientific contributions have fundamentally changed our understanding of multiple aspects of neural development in all organisms. By vote of the previous participants, the meeting will remain of moderate size (430 participants) and will have no parallel sessions so as to facilitate discussion, exchange of ideas and techniques, and to promote new collaborations in this rapidly-evolving field. All applicants will be encouraged to submit an abstract and the majority of participants will present a talk or poster. Speakers will be chosen by session leaders and meeting organizers from the most timely and interesting abstracts submitted a few months in advance of the conference: this will ensure that late-breaking science is covered in all of the talks. In the event that the conference is oversubscribed, participants will be chosen to include at least one representative from each participating laboratory. This meeting has always attracted investigators from across many stages of their careers, and has a long history of promoting the scientific development of younger investigators and women. To encourage participation by junior investigators, a special lecture, the Elkin's Lecture, is presented by a graduate student who has written the best Ph.D. thesis since the previous meeting.
This Neurobiology of Drosophila conference focuses on advances made using the combined power of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, electrophysiology, imaging, and behavioral analysis to address fundamental issues in neurobiology using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. A driving principle of the field is that the fruit fly, while seeming to have little in common with humans, shares many of the same genes, molecules and neural wiring - albeit in a far simpler, highly tractable form - with vertebrates. Indeed, recent molecular, circuit and disease model comparisons of flies and humans have revealed strikingly deep parallels between these systems, highlighting the importance of this model in unraveling the mechanistic underpinnings of circuit development, function and dysfunction. Thus, understanding neural processes at the cellular and molecular level in Drosophila has enormous relevance to our efforts to elucidate how these things function in humans. In addition, many of the techniques that are originally developed for use in the fly have been readily adapted to mammals, opening new avenues of research into nervous system function. The aim of the conference is to provide a forum to bring together a diverse group of scientists working in different areas of the field of fly neurobiology. The meeting will be of moderate size and will have no parallel sessions so as to facilitate discussion, exchange of ideas and techniques, and to promote new collaborations in this rapidly evolving field. The scientific organizers are elected by vote of the previous participants, thus ensuring a fresh perspective on the scientific exchange. All applicants are encouraged to submit an abstract and the majority of participants will present a talk or poster. Speakers will be chosen by session leaders and the meeting organizers from the most timely and interesting abstracts submitted a few months in advance of the conference, ensuring that late-breaking science is covered in all talks.