Distinguished Lecture & Symposium

DIBS holds an annual interdisciplinary symposium focused on translational brain research, alternating between clinical and basic research topics. We invite an exceptional speaker to give the keynote address for the symposium. The event also includes a panel of Duke experts discussing research related to the event's theme, and a poster exhibition by graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and trainees.

Watch Past Distinguished Lectures Here

Past Symposia


"Representing Our World in the Brain." Marlene Behrmann, PhD, of Carnegie Mellon University, gave the 2022 DIBS Distinguished Lecture on Clinical Research on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, during a virtual symposium. The free event was open to the public and continues the DIBS tradition of expanding the understanding of neuroscience research and its impact on our lives.

The event kicked off with a virtual poster session featuring posters from Duke trainees, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and residents. Following that, Duke faculty Dr. Jenni Groh, Dr. Roberto Cabeza, and Dr. Lindsey Glickfeld gave TED-style talks aimed to show the breadth of neuroscience research, followed by a panel discussion with the speakers. The event culminated with Dr. Behrmann's keynote address on "Hemispheric organization in the service of visual recognition: Emergence and plasticity."

Watch Dr. Behrmann's keynote address here, as well as an interview with Dr. Behrmann and DIBS faculty member Scott Heuttel preceding her talk.

Eve Marder

"Understanding Neural Circuits: Development, Plasticity & Function." Eve Marder, PhD, Biology, Brandeis University, gave the 2021 DIBS Distinguished Lecture on Basic Research on Wednesday, March 17, during the virtual symposium. The free event was open to the public and drew a crowd from around the world. 

Graduate students, postdocs, and trainees shared their research during an online poster session. Congratulations to our winners Danielle Clark in the area of Basic Science - Cellular/Molecular and Dr. Jia Hou Poh in the area of Basic Science - Human Subjects. Ms. Clark is a graduate student in Immunology and presented her poster, "The Role of Interferon-gamma and STAT1 Signaling in Neuronal Excitability and Behavior." Dr. Poh is a Postdoc in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and presented his poster, "Tuned to learn: Anticipatory hippocampal pattern stability during mesolimbic activation predicts successful memory formation." Watch highlights from Ms. Clark and Dr. Poh's presentations here. Dr. Marder spoke following poster presentations (watch here) and TED-style talks by three Duke faculty members (watch here):

  • Nicole Calakos, PhD, Lincoln Financial Group Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology, and Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine

  • Michael Tadross, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering, and Neurobiology, School of Medicine
  • Pelin Volkan, Associate Professor, Biology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and Neurobiology, School of Medicine

Dr. Marder studies the modulation of neural networks. The Marder lab is interested in is the extent to which similar circuit outputs can be generated by multiple mechanisms, both in different individual animals, or in the same animal over its life-time. The  crustacean stomatogastric nervous system is used to study central pattern generating circuits, which are groups of neurons found in vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems responsible for the generation of specific rhythmic behavior, such as walking, swimming, and breathing.

Josh Gordon and Elena Tenebaum
National Institute of Mental Health Director Josh Gordon takes a selfie with Elena Tenebaum, Psychiatry, with one of the winning posters

"From Brain Circuits to Behavior: How Technology is Transforming the Science of Mental Health." Josh Gordon, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, gave the keynote address after presentations by Duke faculty Duke faculty Kafui Dzirasa, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, and David Carlson, Civil Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering; Alison Adcock, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience; and Guillermo Sapiro, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering. Dr. Gordon met with DIBS Faculty Network Members and discussed career options with graduate students and postdoctoral associates. See news story.

Other Annual Symposia

Center on Addiction & Behavior Change

In April of each year, the CABC and DIBS host a major symposium focused on research, public health and policy issues related to addiction. (Note: Due to COVID-19, the 2021 CABC Symposium was rescheduled for Sept. 25).

2020: Substance Use Prevention: A Community-Based & Neuroscience Approach. This event was held Sept. 25, 2020, co-sponsored by Together for Resilient Youth and the Center on Addiction and Behavior Change at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. It brought together researchers, practitioners, and community members for a wonderful day of information-sharing and collaboration. A video recording of the event may be viewed HERE.

2019: "Altered States of Cannabis Regulation: Informing Policy with Science" This event brought in scientific experts and policy professionals to discuss medical marijuana, preconception and psychosocial effects of cannabis exposure, and legal aspects of legalization.

2018“Tackling the Final Few: Bringing Light Smokers to Cessation" This symposium brought together basic, clinical, and public health researchers to address the important, yet often overlooked, public health issue of light smokingSpeakers focused on topics such as dependence and treatment, tobacco-related health disparities among African-Americans and Latinos, and differential effects of nicotine administration in rats.

Past Interdisciplinary Symposia

“Exercise & the Brain”: In 2018, more than 225 researchers representing multiple disciplines attended a symposium focused on physical exercise as a powerful strategy for promoting and  maintaining brain health and resilience across the lifespan. See news story.

“Summer School in Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics”: In June 2018 and 2019, DIBS and the Scientific Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging, co-founded by DIBS Faculty Network Member Gregory Samanez-Larkin, PhD, co-sponsored this multidisciplinary program. Faculty members, instructors, and graduate student, postdoctoral, and junior faculty attendees come from across the country to discuss topics such as Social Perception and Judgment, Social Cognition, and Decision-making.