MPFI’s Biennial Neural Circuits Research Conference

At the Forefront of Understanding Neural Circuits

MPFI's Sunposium conference brings together leaders in basic neuroscience research from all over the world
Sunposium Front Pic
MPFI's Biennial Conference At the forefront of understanding neural circuits
Palm Beach County Convention Center
West Palm Beach, Florida

MPFI’s Sunposium conference brings hundreds of the world’s most esteemed neuroscience researchers together to highlight the challenges, latest findings, and advances that address some of the most complex issues at the forefront of understanding neural circuits.

Researchers from all over the world attend Sunposium to collaborate in understanding neural circuits, which underlie sensory processing, memory, and more. Along with elucidating basic behaviors and processes, understanding neural circuits will help researchers develop and improve treatments for neurological diseases and disorders that arise when these circuits aren’t working properly. While many speakers and attendees are neuroscientists, some come from other fields such as biochemistry and physics – disciplines that cross paths with and enhance basic neuroscience research. This basic neuroscience research has the potential to put the scientific world on track to dramatically change human health - and educational conferences such as Sunposium encourage a collaborative, problem-solving approach to some of the most pressing questions and challenges in the field.

Click here for the final program.

Please note the registration fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 1  |  Monday, March 4, 2019
9:00am Registration / Continental Breakfast
9:45am Opening Remarks (David Fitzpatrick)
Session 1 (Chair: Yingxue Wang)
10:00am Alon Chen / The neurocircuits of socio-emotional balance
10:30am Scott Sternson / Neurobiology of need
11:00am Jessica Houtz / TrkB-expressing neurons in the DMH are potent regulators of energy expenditure
11:15am Break
11:45am Randy Blakely / Rare opportunities for insights into serotonergic mechanisms in autism
12:15pm Fan Wang / General anesthesia, sleep, and pain
12:45pm Yoav Livneh / Multiplexing internal physiological state and external cues in the insular cortex
1:00pm Lunch
Session 2 (Chair: Hyungbae Kwon)
2:00pm Rui Costa / Starting new actions and learning from it
2:30pm Jason Christie / Control of motor learning by inhibitory circuits in the cerebellum
3:00pm Emily Petrus / Interhemispheric plasticity is mediated by maximal potentiation of callosal inputs
3:15pm Break
3:45pm Christopher Harvey / Cortical population dynamics during navigation decisions
4:15pm Michael Halassa / A new role for the thalamus in cognitive flexibility
4:45pm Joseph Schumacher / Testing a neural basis for fine discrimination learning in the tree shrew visual cortex
5:00pm Poster Session 1
6:30pm Dinner
Plenary Session 1
7:30pm Plenary (Introduction / David Fitzpatrick):
Eric Kandel / Memory and age related memory loss

Day 2  |  Tuesday, March 5, 2019
8:30am Registration / Continental Breakfast
Session 3 (Chair: McLean Bolton)
9:00am Takao Hensch / Balancing plasticity/stability in brain development
9:30am Carla Shatz / Surprise at the synapse: MHC Class I, pruning and Alzheimer's disease
10:00am Bethany Stahl / Glial regulation of sleep and metabolic rate
10:15am Kirill Martemyanov / Deciphering molecular mechanisms of neuromodulation
10:45am John Shallcross / Enhanced mGlu5 mRNA expression in the basal lateral amygdala as a molecular feature of resilience to predator odor stress in rats
11:00am Break
11:30am Lunch & Learn: Career Panel Hosted by Network for Women in Science (NWiS) Featuring: Gloria Choi, Carla Shatz, and Yingxue Wang
1:00pm Optional Outings
5:00pm Poster Session 2
6:30pm Dinner
Plenary Session 2 – PGYIA
7:30pm Presentation of Peter Gruss Young Investigator Award (Introduction / David Fitzpatrick):
Gloria Choi / Neuroimmune interactions shaping social behavior

Day 3  |  Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Session 5 (Chair: Hiroki Taniguchi)
8:30am Registration / Continental Breakfast
Session 4 (Chair: Jason Christie)
9:00am Jeff Magee / Mechanisms of experience-dependent hippocampal representations
9:30am Yingxue Wang / Internally generated hippocampal sequences as substrates of episodic memory
10:00am Mary Phillips / Ventral hippocampal inputs to the mPFC regulate social memory
10:15am Break
10:45am Matthew Larkum / Regulation of dendritic coupling in awake and anesthetized mice
11:15am Hyungbae Kwon / Dissecting behaviorally-relevant circuits at cellular resolution
11:45am Chen-Jie Shen / Cannabinoid CB1 receptors, amygdala and depression
12:00pm Lunch
1:00pm Hongkui Zeng / Cell type classification in the mouse brain
1:30pm Gordon Fishell / The developmental genetic trajectories that give rise to subcortical projection and interneuronal populations
2:00pm Ewoud Schmidt / Humanization of SRGAP2C expression increases cortico-cortical connectivity in the mouse brain
2:15pm Kevin Briggman / Comparative connectomics of the mammalian retina
2:45pm Kiersten Ruda / Decoding retinal output: correlations, cell types and adaptation
3:00pm Break
Plenary Session 3
3:30pm Plenary (Introduction / Ryohei Yasuda):
Linda Buck / Decoding smell
4:30pm Closing Remarks (Ryohei Yasuda)

Invited Speakers

Randy Blakely
Randy Blakely
Florida Atlantic University Brain Institute
Kevin Briggman
Kevin Briggman
Center of Advanced European Studies and Research
Linda Buck
Linda Buck
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Alon Chen
Alon Chen
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry
Gloria Choi
Gloria Choi
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jason Christie
Jason Christie
Max Planck Florida Institute
Rui Costa
Rui Costa
Columbia University
Gordon Fishell
Gordon Fishell
Harvard University
Michael Halassa
Michael Halassa
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Christopher Harvey
Christopher Harvey
Harvard University
Takao Hensch
Takao Hensch
Harvard University
Eric Kandel
Eric Kandel
Columbia University
Hyungbae Kwon
Hyungbae Kwon
Max Planck Florida Institute
Matthew Larkum
Matthew Larkum
Humboldt University of Berlin
Jeffrey Magee
Jeffrey Magee
Baylor College of Medicine
Kirill Martemyanov
Kirill Martemyanov
The Scripps Research Institute
 Carla Shatz
Carla Shatz
Stanford University
Scott Sternson
Scott Sternson
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Fan Wang
Fan Wang
Duke University
Yingxue Wang
Yingxue Wang
Max Planck Florida Institute
Arturo Hongkui Zeng
Hongkui Zeng
Allen Institute for Brain Science

Selected Speakers

Selected speakers will be chosen from submitted abstracts to present at this year’s Sunposium. Question Mark

Abstract Submission Guideline

Most submitted abstracts will be selected to present in the poster sessions, which will emphasize cutting-edge findings and facilitate informal scientific discussion. To feature the latest and most exciting results, several speakers will be selected for short talks from the submitted abstracts. Travel awards will be available to help with the cost of attending the meeting for selected speakers with preference given to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.
Abstract submission deadline is 5:00PM (17:00) EST (UTC/GMT - 5.00 hours) on December 15, 2018.
Note: You may return to your registration page using log-in information to revise your abstract information. Presentation confirmation email will be sent to you separately. If you have any questions regarding poster or oral presentation, please email Paul Evans (

Submission Format

Submissions that do not meet the following guidelines may be rejected Title Limit abstract titles to 15 words. Write your title in sentence case (first word is capitalized and subsequent words are lower case). Do not bold or italicize your full title. Do not abbreviate words in the abstract title. Abstract body Limit abstract bodies to 350 words. When using abbreviations for chemical compounds, spell it out in full for the first mention, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Key Words Key words that represent your abstract Co-Authors List all authors who contributed to the work discussed in the abstract.

Sunposium Registration

  • Abstract submission deadline is 5:00PM (17:00) EST (UTC/GMT – 5:00 hours) on December 15, 2018.
  • Registration deadline is 5:00PM (17:00) EST (UTC/GMT – 5:00 hours) on January 31, 2019.
The registration fees are as follows:
General Florida
Faculty $275 $225
Postdoctoral Fellow/Scientific Staff $200 $150
Student $120 $50
Other $275

What is included in my registration fee?

  • Access to invited and selected speaker talks and poster sessions
  • Access to plenary talks
  • Continental breakfast and lunch on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
  • Poster Session reception and dinner on Monday and Tuesday
  • Beverage breaks throughout the day
Cancellation policy: Refunds may be requested until February 1, 2019.

Travel Grants

Travel awards are available to help with the cost of attending the meeting (lodging, travel, and waived registration fee) for selected speakers with preference given to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. This list will be updated if/when we learn of additional travel funding available for this conference. Register Here If you have questions or difficulties with registration, please contact
Coming Soon

Since Sunposium is held during the peak tourist season for this area, we strongly recommend you reserve your travel arrangements as soon as possible.

The Max Planck Florida Institute has established discounted rates at the following hotels. These rates are limited and on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Hyatt Place West Palm Beach/Downtown
  • 295 Lakeview Avenue
  • West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
  • Tel: +1 888 492 8847
  • Group Code: G-MP19
  • Price: $259 (King) / $269 (Double Queen)
  • Cut-off date: January 17, 2019
Nearby attractions include CityPlace, a $600 million shopping, dining and entertainment complex; the nationally acclaimed Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Palm Beach’s famous Worth Avenue; South Florida’s beautiful beaches; and a wide variety of dining options - ranging from casual waterfront to sophisticated chic. For more information about things to do in the area, please visit Discover the Palm Beaches. Non-U.S. residents may need a visa to enter the United States for Sunposium 2019. If you already have a U.S. visa, check the expiration date to ensure your visa will not expire before or during your planned travel dates. If you are attending the Sunposium and live outside the United States and need to obtain a visa, please email for assistance. Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) offers 150 daily flights on 12 major airlines. It is located less than 10 minutes (3 miles) from the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Taxis – Taxis are available at the Ground Transportation desks located on the East and West ends of the Level One - Baggage Claim at PBI. A typical one-way rate to the area hotels range from $8-14. Uber and Lyft – These ridesharing companies are another economical option to get from the airport to area hotels. With average prices ranging between $9-$15 for a one-way trip. Rental Cars – Car rental services are conveniently located on Level One – Baggage Claim of the airport terminal. Shuttles – Participating courtesy hotel shuttles are available outside the terminal on Level One - Baggage Claim. Arrangements should be made directly with your hotel. The Palm Beach County Convention Center has a new 9 story parking garage that can be accessed off Okeechobee Boulevard (south side) and right turn onto Rosemary Avenue. The garage entrance is at the end of Rosemary Avenue.
  1. Directions from I-95: Take I-95 to the Okeechobee Boulevard exit (#70) and head east on Okeechobee Boulevard, approximately 1 mile. The Palm Beach County Convention Center is located on the south side of Okeechobee Boulevard, directly across the street from CityPlace.
  2. Directions from Florida Turnpike: Take Florida’s Turnpike to the West Palm Beach/Okeechobee Boulevard exit (#99) and head east for approximately 7 miles. The Palm Beach County Convention Center is located on the south side of Okeechobee Boulevard, directly across the street from CityPlace.

Corporate Partners


Sunposium Partners

NKT Photonics
For more information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact Miriam Chun at 561-972-9067 or by email at