Seminar Colour Guide:              
Seminar given by an external postdoc
Monday, 20 May 2019, 11:00Add to calendarOlfaction: from sensation to action and backDinu Florin Albeanu, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, USA, USAHost: Hiroki AsariCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Abstract: Understanding the interplay between feedforward and feedback neuronal signals across interconnected brain areas is essential for unveiling the computations they perform. Across the brain, specialized long-range circuits support different processing streams. These broadcast information ranging from multiple features of sensory stimuli, decision variables, and inner states to substrates for planning and execution of motor actions. To date, the logic of information flow within the early mammalian olfactory system remains poorly understood. It is not known whether different projection neurons carry different signals to particular areas, and to what degree the feedback from different target brain areas to sensory periphery is specific to the input channels. We identified two parallel feedforward-feedback loops in the early olfactory system mediated by the mitral and tufted cells and their specific cortical targets, and propose they play specialized roles in odor processing.
An emerging view of brain function is that of a simulator that generates predictions of sensory inputs via internal models which map the consequences of motor actions onto sensory outcomes. In the second half of the talk, I will introduce a novel closed loop olfactory behavioral paradigm, where animals continuously refine their motor actions based on the current and desired sensory percepts, as a framework for studying the neuronal substrates of internal models in sensorimotor integration.

External Faculty Speaker
Friday, 24 May 2019, 11:00Add to calendarOptical dissection of the thalamocortical circuits underlying the processing of sensory information in the mouse somatosensory systemTommaso Fellin , IIT - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, ItalyHost: Santiago RompaniCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Abstract: Sensory cortices are organized in multiple interconnected layers and contain several functionally distinct neural subnetworks. Elucidating the logic of interaction within and between cortical layers and subnetworks is essential for understanding the cellular basis of cortical function. In this seminar, I will focus on the role of specific layers in the modulation of sensory responses in the mouse somatosensory cortex. I will also present the development and application of new optical methods to monitor and bidirectionally manipulate the activity of neurons with high spatial resolution. I will discuss how these new technologies may greatly facilitate our understanding of the network mechanisms underlying brain function.
EMBL - Sapienza Lecture
Monday, 3 June 2019, 11:00Add to calendarHow lncRNAs shape chromatin structure to control gene expressionMitch Guttman , Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USAHost: Cornelius Gross / Irene BozzoniSapienza Università di Roma - Aula Odeion - Museo dell'Arte Classica - P.le Aldo Moro, 5 - Roma, EMBL Rome
External Faculty Speaker
Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 11:00Add to calendarGenome-wide discovery of promoters with enhancer functionSalvatore Spicuglia , INSERM,Marseille, , FranceHost: Nicolas DescostesCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
EMBL Distinguished Visitor Lecture
Friday, 14 June 2019, 10:00Add to calendarAll-optical interrogation of neural circuits in behaving animalsMichael Hausser, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, London, , United KingdomHost: Cornelius GrossCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Seminar given by an external postdoc
Friday, 21 June 2019, 11:00Add to calendarTo be announcedKatharina Gapp, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, , United KingdomHost: Jamie HackettCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
EMBL Distinguished Visitor Lecture
Friday, 12 July 2019, 10:00Add to calendarGenome-wide Analysis of Enhancers in Development and DiseaseBing Ren, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, California, USAHost: Philip AvnerCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Abstract: Transcriptional Enhancers play a crucial role in spatiotemporal expression of genes. Dysregulation of enhancers, due to mutations in transcription factors and chromatin regulators, has emerged as a major cause of human cancer. A thorough understanding of cell type specificity, function and mechanisms of action of enhancers will be valuable for development of new diagnostics and therapeutics targeting cancers. I will present our latest advances in identification and characterization of enhancers in the human and mouse genomes, across multiple stages of development, in normal and disease states, and often in single cell resolution. In addition, I will present progress in mapping distal enhancers to their target genes, via analysis of the 3-dimentional genome architecture and chromatin loops, in order to access the role of non-coding variants in human diseases. Finally, I will present results from large-scale functional screenings of oncogenic enhancers in cancer cells.
External Faculty Speaker
Friday, 6 September 2019, 11:00Add to calendarPolycomb, Inheritance and DiseaseDanny Reinberg, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA, USAHost: Nicolas DescostesCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Abstract: Epigenetics encompasses changes in gene expression profiles that occur without alterations in the genomic DNA sequence of a cell. This arises from the dynamic processes that structure regions of chromosomal DNA through a range of compaction in eukaryotes. The altered pattern of gene expression is pivotal to cellular differentiation and development and is inherited by daughter cells thereby maintaining the integrity, specifications, and functions for a given cell type. Aberrancies in this epigenetic process give rise to perturbations that are also inherited and disruptive to normal cellular properties.
Science and Society
Friday, 27 September 2019, 11:00Add to calendarWhy do Humans Harm and Kill Each Other? A Psychological Perspective on the Causes of Aggression and ViolenceBarbara Krahé , University of Potsdam, Potsdam, GermanyHost: Halldór Stefánsson CNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Abstract: Aggression (defined as behavior intended to harm) and violence (behavior intended to cause severe physical harm) are ubiquitous in human societies around the world. They cause immeasurable harm and suffering to individuals, groups, and communities and also create high material costs to societies. Therefore, understanding why humans engage in these forms of destructive behavior is a challenge for scientific research that has immediate applied consequences in a wide range of societal domains.
Aggression and violence are complex behaviors in which potential causes at the individual, interpersonal, group, and societal level come together, requiring a multidisciplinary approach for their understanding. Psychology, and social psychology in particular, is one of the key disciplines in this concerted search for understanding. In this talk, I will present an overview of psychological theorizing and empirical findings addressing four major questions:
- How can we explain why humans show aggressive behavior and what are the processes that lead from an aggression-eliciting stimulus to an aggressive response?
- Do humans differ in their propensity to engage in aggressive behavior?
- What are critical factors in the situation or the social environment that make aggressive behavior more likely?
- What can be done to prevent or reduce aggression? The talk will conclude by outlining a multidisciplinary agenda for future research on the causes of aggression and violence.
EMBL Distinguished Visitor Lecture
Friday, 4 October 2019, 10:00Add to calendarSynapses lost and found: developmental critical periods and Alzheimer's Disease Carla Shatz, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USAHost: Cornelius GrossCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
Abstract: How are connections wired up during brain development? Wiring occurs sequentially, first by forming a basic scaffold of connectivity according to strict molecular guidance cues and then the exact details of each circuit emerge by pruning and sculpting synapses. The process determining which synaptic connections remain and which are pruned is also genetically specified but in this case requires brain function. Prenatally, the brain generates its own internal neural activity patterns to jump-start the sculpting process. After birth as sensory systems such as vision mature, experience of the external world takes over to influence brain wiring during developmental critical periods. Neural activity and sensory experience regulate expression of sets of genes including several previously thought to act only in the immune system. These activity-regulated genes- including Major Histocompatibility Class I family members and Paired immunoglobulin-like receptor B- are required in neurons for synapse pruning and plasticity. Unexpectedly, they may also contribute to excessive synapse pruning in Alzheimer s disease. Thus, the baby's brain is not a miniature of the adult, but rather is a dynamically changing structure in which neural activity and experience ultimately select and stabilize essential details of neural circuitry that make each of us different from one another.
External Faculty Speaker
Friday, 11 October 2019, 11:00Add to calendarTo be announcedMaria Cristina Gambetta, Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, SwitzerlandHost: Matthieu BoulardCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
EMBL Distinguished Visitor Lecture
Friday, 25 October 2019, 10:00Add to calendarGene regulatory principles in human development, disease and evolutionJoanna Wysocka , Institute for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, Stanford, California, USAHost: Jamie HackettCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
EMBL - Sapienza Lecture
Friday, 8 November 2019, 11:00Add to calendarThe genetics of autism from risk to resilienceThomas Bourgeron, Institut Pasteur, Paris, FranceHost: Cornelius Gross / Andrea MeleSapienza Università di Roma - Aula Odeion - Museo dell'Arte Classica - P.le Aldo Moro, 5 - Roma, EMBL Rome
Abstract: The genetic architecture of autism can be different from one individual to the other. It is framed by a complex combination of common and rare variants. Our previous studies pointed at one biological pathway associated with autism related to the synapse. Among the causative genes, synaptic cell adhesion molecules (neuroligins and neurexins) and scaffolding proteins (SHANK) are crucial for synapse formation/maintenance as well as correct balance between inhibitory and excitatory synaptic currents. These findings significantly advanced our knowledge on the possible causes of autism. However, they also (unintentionally) contributed to the emergence of a simplistic conception of autism as a binary trait: mutated vs. non-mutated or affected vs. non-affected. This simplification neglects the large phenotypic heterogeneity of autism, whose genetic architecture like most complex traits cannot be reduced to a single gene. In this presentation, I will discuss our recent results coming from human studies in large populations and genetic isolates as well as mouse studies that shed new light on the inheritance of autism and some of the underlying mechanisms. Finally, I will illustrate how we are currently studying Resilience to understand why some carriers of deleterious mutations seem to be protected (The Resilients) while others are severely affected.
External Faculty Speaker
Tuesday, 12 November 2019, 11:00Add to calendarTBCJerry Workman, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Missouri, USAHost: Mathieu BoulardCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
EMBL - Sapienza Lecture
Thursday, 21 November 2019, 11:00Add to calendarChromatin topology and its function in the regulation of gene expression: a view from 3DEileen Furlong, EMBL , Genome Biology Unit, Heidelberg, GermanyHost: Cornelius Gross / Irene BozzoniSapienza Università di Roma - Aula Odeion - Museo dell'Arte Classica - P.le Aldo Moro, 5 - Roma, EMBL Rome
External Faculty Speaker
Friday, 29 November 2019, 11:00Add to calendarTBCKristina Havas Cavalletti, IFOM, Milan, ItalyHost: Phil Avner / Matthieu BoulardCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome
EMBL Distinguished Visitor Lecture
Friday, 18 September 2020, 10:00Add to calendarDNA methylation in development and disease.Alexander Meissner, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, GermanyHost: Jamie HackettCNR Seminar Room, EMBL Rome