3-4 November 2006, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

Research in the life sciences is revealing how genes are differentially expressed in the brain and how types of behavior reflect the functioning of different neural networks. Scientists are also exploring the relationship between the neurophysiology of the brain and the nature of consciousness.

Science and technology always work in tandem. Neurotechnology refers to the set of tools that have been developed to analyze and influence the human nervous system, especially the brain. We would like to assess the uses that are – or could in the future be - made of new neurological knowledge and technologies. What are the consequences when biochemical solutions to behavioral problems such as depression, addiction, or eating disorders take precedence over attempts to repair the social environment, or defective inter-personal relations? How do we avert the risk of psychopharmacology being abused for neurochemical enhancement?

While new knowledge coming out of the neurosciences has an enormous potential for beneficial applications in diverse fields, treating or manipulating the mind will also have important social, legal and bioethical implications. These are some of the main issues that will be the focus of the next inter-disciplinary EMBL/EMBO Science and Society conference in 2006 in Heidelberg, Germany.