Caltech Home > BBE Home > Neuroimmunology Symposium
open search form

Neuroimmunology Symposium

Paul H. Patterson Honorary Symposium Dinner

Sunday, June 29, 2014
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Neuroimmunology Symposium

"From the Brain to the Body and Back: A Celebration of Paul Patterson's Life in Science"
Monday, June 30, 2014
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Beckman Institute Auditorium | Caltech

Schedule of Events


8:30 AM

Breakfast and Registration | Beckman Courtyard



Stephen L. Mayo, William K. Bowes Jr. Leadership Chair, Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech | Welcome and Introduction


David J. Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Caltech; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Remembrances of Paul and his Career


Opening Keynote Address: Joshua R. Sanes, Paul J. Finnegan Family Director, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University; Jeff C. Tarr Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology | Assembling Retinal Circuits


Edward Hawrot, Alva O. Way University Professor of Medical Science and Associate Dean of Biology, Brown University | Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors and alpha-Bungarotoxin



Morning Break



Zach W. Hall, Emeritus Professor, University of California, San Francisco | A Life Well-Lived: My Memories of Paul, Early and Late


Mahendra Rao, VP of Regenerative Medicine, New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute | Moving to the Clinic—Lessons from the Patterson Lab


Zaven Kaprielian, Director of Neuroscience Research, Amgen | Hail to the "Chief"


Hiroyuki Nawa, Professor of Molecular Neurobiology, Niigata University Brain Research Institute | Dopaminergic Plasticity and Vulnerability to Peripheral Cytokines; Implication in Schizophrenia



Lunch | Beckman Courtyard



Nicholas C. Spitzer, Distinguished Professor, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego; Director, Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind | Activity-dependent Neurotransmitter Switching: It Began with Paul


Hiroshi Ueda, Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences | My Phenotypic Switch Studies


Nancy Wexler, Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology, Columbia University | Paul Patterson - A Life Pushing the Boundaries of Science



Afternoon Break



Elaine Hsiao, Senior Research Fellow in Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech | Guts, Brains and Beyond: Learning from Paul H. Patterson


Closing Keynote Address: Tom Jessell, Claire Tow Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute | What to Do, and When to Do It


Sarkis Mazmanian, Professor of Biology, Caltech | Remembrances of Paul and his Career and Closing


4:00 PM

Reception | Beckman Courtyard

About Paul's Life in Science

Paul H. Patterson's early career was very much a product of one the first golden ages of modern neuroscience.  Having completed his Ph.D. with William Lennarz at Johns Hopkins in 1970 (working on prokaryotic membrane biology), Paul fatefully decided to head to Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow, eventually becoming a faculty member, in the first Department of Neurobiology established in the U.S.  In this unique environment, Paul pioneered the primary culture of peripheral neurons and used this system to discover that developing sympathetic neurons could switch their neurotransmitter phenotype from noradrenergic to cholinergic, in response to environmental factors.  This was a fundamental discovery in Neuroscience, as it violated the "one neuron, one transmitter" concept, and demonstrated that neurotransmitter identity is not genetically determined and immutable. Paul's quest to purify and molecularly characterize the factor that controls this switch culminated in 1989, five years after his move to Caltech, with the purification and microsequencing of the "cholinergic differentiation factor".  The sequence of this factor revealed, astonishingly, that it was identical to Leukemia Inhibitory Factor ("LIF"), a cytokine previously identified based on its immunological function.  This discovery, along with his early adoption of monoclonal antibodies as a tool to query the nervous system, marked the beginning of Paul's transformation into a "neuroimmunologist."

Paul continued his work on the effects of cytokines on the developing and diseased nervous system, deploying antibodies both as tools and therapeutic candidates.  In the early 2000's, these lines of research led Paul to become increasingly interested in the interplay between the biology of inflammation and its impact on the developing brain and behavior. Emboldened by his unique perspective, Paul expanded on the link between the immune system and behavior by establishing a mouse model of autism and schizophrenia based on studies showing infection during pregnancy increased disease risk. He showed that stimulation of the immune system in pregnant animals results in offspring with altered behaviors, and characterized the immune pathways that promoted these outcomes. This discovery served to increase awareness for environmental influences on neurodevelopmental conditions. In one of his most recent studies, Paul demonstrated that the gut microbiome, the diverse collection of intestinal bacteria, regulates behaviors in a mouse model of autism, and that probiotic treatment leads to improvements in behavioral deficits. These studies provide the hope that perhaps neurodevelopmental disorders with strong environmental influences may be ameliorated with microbial therapies. Paul's groundbreaking discoveries have advanced novel paradigms in Neuroscience and Immunology, and introduced concepts that will continue to be developed by researchers worldwide, including many of his trainees.

Events Contacts
Sponsored by Caltech Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
Caltech Faculty Hosts: Professor David Anderson x6821and Professor Sarkis Mazmanian x2356
Scholar Rock CEO Host: Dr. Nagesh Mahanthappa
Event Coordinators: Melissa Ray x4953 and Cynthia Carlson x2037