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Nobel Laureate Thomas C. Südhof Makes A Report on the 5th International Conference of Neuroscience in Wuhan &Frontier Forum in Molecule, Structure and Function of Neural Circuits

Author: Source: Date:November 1, 2021 Cilk Times:[]



On October 29, 2021, the 5th International Conference of Neuroscience in Wuhan & Frontier Forum in Molecule, Structure and Function of Neural Circuits was held in Wuhan. This international conference is hosted by School of Basic Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine, Thomas C. Südhof and other world-known scholars gave academic reports online in the following three days. Over 300 scholars and students from China and beyond participate in this international conference online and offline, including 8 academicians and 38 recipients of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars.

Yutian Wang, an academician of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada, presided over the conference. He first gave a brief introduction to Thomas C. Südhof before this Nobel Laureate began his brilliant academic report. Thomas Christian Südhof was born in Göttingen, Germany, on Dec. 22 in 1955, obtained his M.D. and doctoral degrees from the University of Göttingen in 1982. In 2008, Südhof became the Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. In addition, Südhof has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986. His work initially focused on the mechanism of neurotransmitter release which is the first step in synaptic transmission, and whose molecular basis was completely unknown in 1986. Later on, his work increasingly turned to the analysis of synapse formation and specification, processes that mediate the initial assembly of synapses, regulate their maintenance and elimination, and determine their properties. This elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences was awarded Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 2013.

Südhof gave an academic report titledThe molecular logic of synapse formation in health and disease:One molecule at a time. As we know,the brain processes information in millions of parallel and intersecting neural circuits that compute information by transmitting and processing synaptic signals. Neural circuit computations critically depend on the number, location and properties of their constituent synapses. Südhof hypothesizes that the construction of neural circuits by formation of defined synapses is based on an overall simple molecular logic that is determined by interactions between pre- and postsynaptic recognition and signaling molecules and he propose that at least a subset of autism and schizophrenia disorders are produced by specific impairments in the molecular logic of neural circuits, such that the input/output relations in affected circuits exhibit a skewed information processing capacity. In his presentation,he discussed key drivers of the molecular logic of neural circuits, such as neurexins and their multifarious ligands, and described their role in neuropsychiatric disorders to illustrate the broader concepts inherent in the hypotheses outlined above.

Man Jiang, a student of Prof. Thomas C. Südhof and now a professor at the Department of Physiology of School of Basic Medicine, worked with his previous supervisor via ZOOM throughout the report and together gave a wonderful academic presentation online.

Südhof actively communicated with participants present via ZOOM chat box after he finished his thought-provoking speech. Südhof also answered questions raised by Academician Mingjie Zhang from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and other participants. This Nobel Laureate received a big round of applause from the audience for his inspiring speech and friendly manner.

The International Neuroscience Conference is the largest of its kind in Central China. School of Basic Medicine of Huazhong University of Science and Technology has successfully hosted four such conferences since 2012 and produced so much favorable comment from the academic circle. Going forward, School of Basic Medicine is expected to make the International Neuroscience Conference a bigger one as part of its efforts to further expand the influence of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in the field of neuroscience research!

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