This proposal seeks support for the new conference on the Behavior and Neurogenetics of Nonhuman Primates, which will take place September 6-9, 2013, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). This meeting will bring together scientists who investigate all aspects of primate neurogenetics and behavioral genetics, including behavioral and physiological phenotyping, human disease models, comparative genomics, molecular evolution, basic neuroscience, and technology development. The meeting will advance knowledge by providing a forum where scientists from different subfields can exchange ideas and discuss the latest research findings and methodological advances. It will include sessions on evolution and behavior, genome structure and brain function, comparative evolution of the brain, neurodevelopment and stem cell biology, the genetics of primate behavior, and optogenetics and transgenics in primate neuroscience. 2013 is an ideal time to launch a specialized scientific meeting that integrates research from investigators in many different subfields of primate neuroscience, all of which share interests in understanding the relationship between genes, the brain, and behavior in nonhuman primates. This new conference will employ the successful format of CSHL meetings to assemble an international gathering of scientists, discuss new developments, and catalyze innovative research collaborations, all of which will ultimately accelerate scientific progress.
Non-human primates are valuable genetic models for human brain and behavior disorders. Their nervous systems are remarkably similar to those of humans, and they may be employed in research projects that are not practical or ethical in humans. Genetic investigations in nonhuman primates have already identified genetic variants that influence a wide range of medically relevant traits, including response to stress, maternal attachment, response to alcohol, response to drugs used to treat psychiatric illness, and fundamental neurochemistry. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory conference on the Behavior and Neurogenetics of Nonhuman Primates will advance knowledge by bringing together researchers who study different aspects of primate neurogenetics and catalyzing interactions among them, ultimately accelerating scientific progress in this field.