The meeting will bring an international group of experts to Hong Kong to discuss the ways in which the brain and nervous system are impacted by the integrity of the genome. Our neurons are particularly vulnerable to a loss of genetic integrity for two basic reasons. First, with very few exceptions, the nervous system cannot generate new, replacement neurons. Thus, if their genome is damaged to such an extent that cell survival becomes impossible the lost cell cannot be replaced. A second compounding problem is that the absence of cell division (DNA replication in particular) excludes an important form of DNA repair known as homologous recombination from taking place. Simply put, each of our neurons gets one set of chromosomes and thus it must guard each nucleotide carefully. Repair can and does occur, but failure to do so is increasingly recognized as a source of human neurodegenerative diseases – dementias of all types, Parkinson’s, Huntington's, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and many others. The Advanced Study Institute will extend this perspective and bring in the unique problems that face the brain as it ages. The goal is to bring together individuals who may not be aware of each others work and engage them in conversation and idea exchange over the course of a three day meeting. We are planning for a fresh look at the problems of brain aging and the identification of one or more pathways to new interventions to treat what are currently intractable and untreatable brain disorders.
Selected snapshots (Click here for more photos)
Organizers and invited speakers gather for a group photo.
Group photo of invited speakers and participants at the Entrance Piazza (Sundial).