Auburn University Hosting Center for Neuroscience Initiative Retreat & Symposium

graphic showing a brain

February 24, 2020

AUBURN, Alabama – National leaders in the neuroscience field will be in Auburn Friday, Feb. 28 for the inaugural Center for Neuroscience Initiative Retreat and Symposium. The event will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, followed by an awards program and banquet with featured speaker and Auburn alumnus Walt Woltosz.

“Our goal with the retreat is to make both the local community and the larger scientific community aware of the cutting-edge neuroscience-related research being conducted here at Auburn,” said Dr. Miranda Reed co-director of the Auburn University Center for Neuroscience Initiative, or CNSi., “The speakers we have invited are some of the most influential neuroscientists in the world. We want them to know, and share with others, that Auburn is in the process of becoming a go-to destination for neuroscience work.”

The retreat will welcome more than 200 industry and academic professionals from the neuroscience field. Investigators attending are working with diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinsons, Tay-Sachs, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD and others in the neurosciences.

“Bringing these outstanding scientists to Auburn will further enhance the collaborative initiatives that are going on with universities in the United States, Canada and Europe,” said Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam, co-director of CNSi.“Such collaborations can lead to joint submissions of grant proposals to federal and other funding agencies, which is extremely critical for sustainability of the Center for Neuroscience at Auburn University.”

The field of neuroscience at Auburn is growing with more than 65 faculty members actively conducting research as part of CNSi. Faculty come from a variety of colleges and schools, including the Harrison School of Pharmacy, College of Education, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, College of Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, School of Nursing, College of Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Veterinary Medicine, along with faculty from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“The neuroscience program at Auburn has grown substantially in the past few years, with neuroscience-related funding almost doubling,” said Suppiramaniam. “This clearly gets national recognition for the research going on at Auburn, which in turn can attract highly competitive neuroscientists to seek out Auburn University.”

Highlighting the retreat and symposium will be presentations by scientists likes of Dr. Raymond Dingledine and Stephen Traynelis from Emory University, Dr. Matthew Johnson from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Karen Hsiao Ashe from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Michael Salter from the University of Toronto and Dr. Christine Gall from the University of California-Irvine.

Dingledine and Traynelis helped found NeurOp, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Atlanta that develops small-molecule therapies for central nervous system disorders, including severe pain, subarachnoid hemorrhage and catastrophic juvenile epilepsies.

Johnson is the founding director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medical School, the first such research center in the United States and the largest research center of its kind in the world. He examines the effectiveness of psychedelics such as psilocybin mushroom, or “magic mushrooms,” as possible therapy for opioid addiction, Alzheimer's disease, PTSD, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, anorexia nervosa and alcohol use in people with major depression.

Hsiao Ashe is the creator of the first transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, the TG2576, also known as the Hsiao Mouse. This mouse has an added human gene that reliably causes the pathology and memory deficits observed in Alzheimer’s disease, revolutionizing the field of Alzheimer’s drug treatments.

Salter is chief of research at The Hospital for Sick Children, a major pediatric teaching and research hospital in Toronto, Ontario, with total assets of $1.9 billion. As chief of research, he oversees more than 1,600 researchers with research grants and awards totaling over $100 million per year.

“By bringing in these world-renowned experts in the field, we hope to showcase the meaningful and life-saving work going on at Auburn,” said Reed. “With the development of CNSi, we believe we are gaining the critical mass necessary to become a nationally recognized university for neuroscience research.”

For more information on CNSi and the retreat and symposium, visit


About the Harrison School of Pharmacy

Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. The School’s commitment to world-class scholarship and interdisciplinary research speaks to Auburn’s overarching Carnegie R1 designation that places Auburn among the top 100 doctoral research universities in the nation. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit

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Last Updated: January 27, 2020