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Thousands convene at neuroscience conference

Perkins_Robertby Robert Perkins
Antonio Damasio explored the nature of creativity at the annual conference attracting scientists from around the world. (USC Photo/Dietmar Quistorf)
Antonio Damasio explored the nature of creativity at the annual conference attracting scientists from around the world. (USC Photo/Dietmar Quistorf)

University Professor Antonio Damasio, holder of the David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and professor of psychology and neurology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, spoke about the neuroscience of creativity during a recent conference in San Diego that drew 30,000 worldwide scientists.

Damasio’s presentation launched the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held Nov. 9-13. The event was presided over by USC’s Larry Swanson, Milo Don and Lucille Appleman Professor of Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife and president of the society.

At the event, several key faculty members from USC presented their latest research in neuroscience. Scientists and collaborators from 80 countries gathered for presentations by luminaries in the field, including Berislav Zlokovic, Dan Campbell and Dion Dickman of USC.

“USC has shown how to use imaging and other technologies to discover the workings of the human mind,” said Randolph Hall, vice president of research. “Our ability to integrate technology and science is unmatched.”

Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute based at USC Dornsife, presented his research with a fellow neuroscientist from Johns Hopkins University as well as a composer, a visual artist and an inventor. The discussion explored the nature of creativity and how the brain works to create extraordinary products in various fields.

Zlokovic, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, delivered an presentation on the blood-brain barrier, the system that prevents toxic elements from reaching the brain. Zlokovic discussed the role that damage to the blood-brain barrier may play in neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Campbell, assistant professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School, participated in a symposium on the genetic correlates of autism. Campbell’s research focuses on the MSNP1AS gene, which contributes to the disorder.

Dickman, assistant professor of neuroscience at USC Dornsife, chaired a minisymposium about a species of fly known as Drosophila melanogaster that is offering new insights into synapses in healthy and diseased brains.

The Society for Neuroscience is an international organization of scientists and physicians with nearly 42,000 members in more than 90 countries.

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