Wiregrass Homeschool Civitan

Welcome to the homepage for the 2016 Civitan International/Simpson-Ramsey
Neurodevelopment Symposium!

Friday, April 8 - Abstract deadline for inclusion in award competition
Monday, April 11 - Registration deadline to receive lunch on Thursday, 4/22
Friday, April 15 - Deadline for pdf format of poster for award competition

Thursday, April 21-22nd

The Neurodevelopment Symposium and Simpson-Ramsey Lectureship will be held at the Alumni House located at 1301 10th Avenue South and the poster session will be held at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA), located at 1221 10th Avenue South. The symposium will feature seminars from local and invited speakers and a poster session for those involved in basic or clinical research related to normal or disordered brain development or child health. The goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers throughout Central Alabama
to discuss recent progress in the field of brain development and
neurodevelopmental disorders and to provide a forum for anyone involved in
research related to child mental and neurological development to interact with
other researchers.


Parking is available at the Alumni House and across the street at AEIVA.

We are privileged to be hosting eight external speakers at the symposium. 
*Carl Cooley
*Christopher Cowan
*Brian Dias
*Elisabeth Dykens
*Marcel Just
*Ian Maze
*AJ Robison
*Stephan Sanders


Civitan International / Simpson-Ramsey Neurodevelopment Symposium

April 21-22, 2016

UAB Alumni House

1301 10th Avenue South AGENDA

8:30 am Sign-in and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am Opening Remarks, 
David Sweatt, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Civitan Int Res Center Director 

Rita Cowell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology, Associate Director of Education and Outreach, CIRC

Session I

9:10 am  Ian Maze, Ph.D., The Mount Sinai Hospital
“Histone monoaminylation in the developing and adult brain: novel mechanisms of ‘epigenetic’ plasticity”

9:40 am Farah Lubin, Ph.D., Dept. Neurobiology, UAB
“Neuro-Epigenetic basis of Memory, Behavior, and its disorders”

10:10 am AJ Robison, Ph.D., Michigan State University 
"Transcriptional mechanisms of normal and pathological hippocampal function”

10:40 am Break

10:55 am Rhiana Simon, Neuroscience Undergraduate Student, UAB 
"Activity-dependent enhancer RNAs regulate target gene expression”

11:10 pm Christopher Cowan, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
“Regulation of cortical synapse balance in intellectual disabilities and autism”

12:00 pm Lunch (boxed lunches for first 100 registered guests)

Session II

1:00 pm  Brian G. Dias, Ph.D., Emory University School of Medicine
“Ancestral imprints on descendant neurobiology”

1:30 pm  Stephan Sanders, BMBS, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
“From genes to etiology in autism”

2:00 pm  Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D., Dept. Psychology, UAB
“Developmental Disabilities and Driving”

2:30 pm  Break 

2:45 pm  Jamie Holloway, PT, DPT, PCS, Dept. Psychology, UAB
The Impact of a Movement-Based Intervention Program on Peer Relationships in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Series”

3:00 pm  Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
“Reducing stress in parents of children with developmental disabilities”

3:50 pm  Break

4:00 pm  Poster Session and Reception

Friday, April 22
8:30 am Sign-in and Continental Breakfast

9:05 am Announcements and Introductions

Session III

9:10 am Marcel Just, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
Autism as a neural systems disorder: A theory of frontal-posterior underconnectivity”

10:00 am  Nina Kraguljac, M.D., Assistant Prof, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology, UAB
“Mechanisms of Hippocampal Pathology in Schizophrenia”

10:30 am Mary Phillips, B.S., Graduate Student, Neuroscience Graduate Theme, UAB
“Consequences of hippocampal hyperactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex of Mecp2 knockout mice, a model of the autism Rett syndrome”

10:45 am Abbey Herringshaw, B.A., Graduate Student, Dept. Psychology, UAB
“Differential Engagement of Prefrontal Cortex Underlies Local Bias in Children with Autism”

11:00 am  W. Carl Cooley, M.D., Dartmouth
“Improving Health Care Transitions from Pediatric to Adult Care – Implementing the 6 Core Elements of Health Care Transition”

11:50 am  Announcement of Poster Awards

12:00 pm  Meeting Adjourns

Boxed lunches will be provided for first 100 registered guests. If you register after the deadline, you will not be guaranteed a lunch, but can sign up on a waiting list when you sign in at the symposium.

Abstract and Poster Submission
Two abstracts are required for this symposium – a scientific abstract and a lay abstract (to orient the non-scientific audience to your research). The abstracts should be less than 250 words in length. Submission of the abstracts is required using the online registration form BY FRIDAY APRIL 1st. By April 8th, graduate trainees (categories: basic graduate, translational graduate, clinical graduate, general undergraduate) will be chosen from the abstracts to give a 10 minute presentation. Each will receive a $100 award. All abstracts will be printed in an abstract book for distribution to participants.

Poster - Maximum size of 4’ x 6’

Poster topics can include but are not limited to:
basic brain development
studies of
neurodevelopmental disorders (basic or clinical)
child health
issues of special needs
clinical psychology
clinical trials
any other discipline that
relates to child mental and neurological health

Poster Awards
Three poster awards will be granted this year, with an award amount of $100 per person. These are separate from the speaker awards. Three awards will be given to graduate student/postdoc/resident trainees (basic, clinical, and translational themes), and one award will be given to an undergraduate trainee (any theme).

Posters will be judged based on
·Rationale/purpose of the study (20 pts)
·Use of scientific method (35 pts)
·Clarity of presentation (35 pts)
·Originality and creativity (10 pts)

Examples of previous award winners in the different
·Basic research
“Histone methylation is dynamically regulated in the entorhinal cortex during consolidation of long-term memories.”
·Basic research – translational
“Developing mouse models of autism.”
·Clinical/applied research – translational
“Influence of parental distracted driving on teens with and without ADHD.”
·Clinical/applied research
“Developing More Ways for Children to Share Their Perceptions of Parenting Behaviors.”

CME Credit
If you would like to receive CME credit for this event, please indicate on the registration form.

The University of Alabama School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide
continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Alabama School of Medicine designates this symposium for a maximum of ( ) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Learning objectives
After participating in this CME activity, participants should be able to
1) Review different ways in which genes can be modified to influence behavior
2) Review the approaches used to determine how genes can give rise to autism and other developmental disorders
3) Review the ways in which human brain imaging can be used to understand neurodevelopmental disorders
4) Review current approaches to reduce stress in parents with autism
5) Review current approaches to promote healthy transition from pediatric to adult care environments

Contact information
For questions about your registration, please contact Vicki Hixon ( If you have any
questions specifically about the symposium, abstracts, or poster competition, please contact Rita Cowell,

We would like to enthusiastically thank the following for making this event possible.
Simpson-Ramsey Lectureship Fund
Civitan International Research Center (
Comprehensive Neuroscience Center (
Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics (
Department of Pediatrics Program in Translational Research in Normal and Disordered Development
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology (
Department of Human Genetics (
Department of Cell Biology (
Department of Neurobiology (
Department of Pathology (
Center of Clinical and Translational Science (
UASOM Division of CME (
Department of Psychology

History of the Simpson-Ramsey Lectureship
The Simpson-Ramsey Lectureship was established to honor the contributions of two men who devoted much of their lives to individuals and families with developmental disabilities. Dr. John Simpson and Dr. Joseph Ramsey helped the Sparks Center make great strides in training professionals to care for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Dr. John Simpson dedicated his medical career to improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. He served as a staff physician at the Sparks Center from 1967 until his death in 1973. While at the Center, he was known as a “people person” who never tired of serving children and families with disabilities. An associate professor of pediatrics at UAB for 28 years, he was a member of the Jefferson County Medical Society and the Alabama State Medical Association. Dr. Simpson was co-founder of the CharlanneSchool in Homewood, a residential school for children with cerebral palsy.

After being in private practice for 23 years, Dr. Joseph Ramsey joined the UAB Sparks Center in 1971 for a one-year-post-doctoral fellowship in developmental pediatrics. After completing the fellowship, he was appointed Director of the Division of Medicine. Increasing other pediatricians’ awareness of developmental disabilities was only one of his many contributions. Dr. Ramsey was a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Jefferson County Medical Association, and President of the Jefferson County Pediatric Society. He was also an associate professor of pediatrics in the UAB School of Medicine.

Previous Distinguished Simpson-Ramsey Lecturers

1978-Julius B. Richmond, MD
1979-Thomas E. Malone, PhD
1980-H. Carl Haywood, PhD
1981-Phyllis B. Acosta, DrPH
1982-Jean K. Elder, PhD
1983-Vince L. Hutchins, MD, MPH
1984-Edwin W. Martin, Jr., PhD
1985-Craig T. Ramey, PhD
1986-Marie Scott Brown, RN, PhD
1987-Paul Cassamassimo, DDS, MS
1988-Robert J. Haggerty, MD
1989-Marcel Kinsbourne, MD
1991-Diana Slaughter-DeFoe, PhD
1993-Wade F. Horn, PhD
1996-Jim Dearth, MD
2002-Reid Lyon, PhD
2003-Albert C. Hergenroeder, MD
2004-William E. Pelham, Jr., PhD
2005-Zolinda Stoneman, PhD
2006-Joseph Piven, Jr., MD
2007-Stephen D. Cederbaum, MD
           Darryl C DeVivo, MD
           Lane Rutledge, MD

History of the Civitan/Simpson-Ramsey Neurodevelopment Symposium
In 2010, Fred Biasini (Associate Professor, Department of Psychology) and Rita Cowell (Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology) decided to combine efforts and expand upon the Simpson-Ramsey Lectures to include lectures by scientists researching the neurobiology of neurodevelopment disorders. The initial symposium occurred on April 22nd, 2010, and featured lectures by external and internal speakers. The symposium attracted over 200 people from 22 different departments and has continued to be successful in subsequent years. In 2016, the Civitan International Research Center contributed significant resources to increase the number of external speakers, expanding the event to 1½ days with additional trainee awards and an evening reception accompanying the poster session at the art museum AEIVA ( ).

Previous Distinguished Simpson-Ramsey/Neurodevelopment Symposium Lecturers
2010 Alcino Silva, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Neurobiology, University of California at Los Angeles
     Peter Mundy, Ph.D., Professor of Education and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of California-Davis
2011 John Rubenstein, M.D. Ph.D, Nina Ireland Distinguished Professor in Child Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco
     Eric Klann, Ph.D., Professor of Neural Science, New York University
     Eric Courchesne, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience, University of California at San Diego
2012 Takao Hensch, Ph.D., Professor of Neurology, Harvard
     Pat Levitt, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Dept. Cell and Neurobiology, University of Southern California
     Jack Katz, Ph.D., Speech Pathologist, Auditory Processing Service
2013 Kevin Pelphrey, Ph.D., Harris Professor, Child Study Center, Dept. Psychology, Yale Univ.
     Edwin Cook, M.D., Director, Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Professor of Psychiatry, Univ. Illinois College of Medicine
2014 Stephen Back, M.D. Ph.D., Director, Pediatric Neuroscience Research Program, Pediatric Research Institute, Oregon
     Heath and Science University
     Christopher Pittenger, M.D. Ph.D., Associate Professor, Depts. Psychiatry and Psychology, Yale Univ.
     Donna Ferriero, M.D., Professor and Chair, Dept. Pediatrics, Univ. California, San Francisco

By Bob Shepard
With a new state-of-the-art full-body magnetic resonance imaging scanner, the University of Alabama at Birmingham opened the Civitan International Neuroimaging Laboratory in UAB Highlands Hospital. The facility is supported by Civitan International, an organization of volunteer service clubs around the world, dedicated to helping people in their own communities.

Investment in the lab includes $3 million for the 3T MRI, the fastest scanner for human use, along with $1 million for renovation of the space. The lab has 5,000 square feet of space to support advanced MRI research and clinical MRI imaging.

The lab officially opened during a ceremony at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3, 2016 at the lab on the first floor of UAB Highlands.

The lab’s imaging equipment will be used for both research purposes and patient care in conditions such as autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, macular degeneration, spinal cord injury, glioma, ALS and traumatic brain injury.