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2018 Gill Symposium to honor five scientists for cutting-edge neuroscience research

Jul 30, 2018

Registration is open for the annual symposium of the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science at Indiana University.

The Gill Center was established in 1999 to advance the understanding of complex biological processes and train the next generation of scientists in biomolecular science, especially neuroscience. The 2018 Gill Symposium will take place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union. The event is free, but registration is required.

Viviana Gradinaru, Loren Looger and Ryohei Yasuda
From left: Viviana Gradinaru, Loren Looger and Ryohei Yasuda.Photos courtesy of California Institute of Technology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “Applying Cutting-Edge Technologies to Identifying Neuronal Circuits.”

Neuronal circuits are like cables or highways that connect different parts of the body to quickly carry out various functions, such as processing visual information or performing a reflex action. Five scientists conducting research on this topic will present at the symposium and be honored with Transformative Investigator awards.

These annual awards recognize scientists who have made exceptional contributions to cellular or molecular neuroscience. The five awardees are:

    • Viviana Gradinaru of the California Institute of Technology, who has developed methods to make brain tissue appear translucent so that researchers can better visualize neural circuits inside the brain.
    • Loren Looger of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus, who uses protein engineering to create detectors that allow scientists to visualize neural activity or signal transduction in animals.
    • Ryohei Yasuda of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, who uses advanced optical techniques to precisely map the signals transmitted by neurons for learning and memory.
    • Anthony Zador of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who has developed “MAPseq,” a method to provide unique “barcodes” on thousands of neurons and determine their wiring patterns at single-neuron resolution.
    • Hongkui Zeng of at the Allen Institute for Brain Sciences, who has developed many high-throughput pipelines to generate open-access datasets that allow scientists to jump-start their brain mapping projects.

A poster session and reception will follow the symposium from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the IMU Solarium. A complete schedule for the 2018 Gill Symposium is available on the Gill Center website.

Anthony Zador and Hongkui Zeng
Anthony Zador, left, and Hongkui Zeng.Photos courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Allen Institute for Brain Sciences.

Applications are also sought for two other awards at this year’s symposium: outstanding graduate student and outstanding image. The deadline for the outstanding image award is Aug. 24. The deadline for the outstanding image award is Aug. 31.

The Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science, part of the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, was established by a gift from Linda and Jack Gill. Members and collaborators include faculty from IU’s departments of biology, chemistry, molecular and cellular biochemistry, physics, psychological and brain sciences, and neuroscience, all in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences and the IU School of Medicine.

For more information about the 2018 Gill Symposium or the Gill Center, or to nominate an awardee, contact Trisha Turner at

Trisha Turner is a program manager at the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science at IU.


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