MMiN 2024 Invited Speakers

We are pleased to announce the Keynote Speakers for the 2024 MMiN Conference

Robert Kennedy

Hobart H. Willard Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology

Working Title: Metabolomics of the Living Brain for Phenotyping and Pharmacology

Robert Kennedy is the Hobart H. Willard Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. He earned a PhD at University of North Carolina in 1988 where his work focused on using open tubular LC to analyze single cells. He then studied as a post-doc with Mark Wightman, also at UNC, using electrochemical sensors for monitoring dopamine release in brain slices and single cells. In 1991 he started his own research program at University of Florida before moving to University of Michigan in 2002. His research has combined his interest in biology with chemical analysis, separations and microfluidics. A theme of his group has been development of new chemical analysis tools that can be used at the nanoscale for several applications including screening of drugs, engineering enzymes, monitoring neurotransmitters in the brain, and studying the secretion of insulin and other hormones. Key technical areas including ultra high pressure LC, droplet microfluidics, and mass spectrometry. His work has been recognized by several awards including the American Chemical Society Award in Chromatography, the Ralph Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry, and two NIH MERIT awards. He has held several service posts including Department Chair and is presently Associate Editor of Analytical Chemistry and ACS Measurement Science Au.

Marisela Morales

Branch Chief of the Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch and Section Chief of Neuronal Networks Section in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in USA & NIDA-IRP Associate Director of Technology

Co-release of different neurotransmitters, unanticipated types of neurotransmission and future challenges

Dr. Marisela Morales is a Branch Chief of the Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch and Section Chief of Neuronal Networks Section in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in USA. She is also the NIDA-IRP Associate Director of Technology. She has been investigating the molecular and cellular composition of neuronal networks and how their different elements play a role in different aspects of neuronal transmission underlying animal behavior. She is known particularly for her studies on neuronal diversity among ventral tegmental area neurons, their neuronal connectivity and role in motivated behavior. She has discovered that the ventral tegmental area has different types of glutamatergic neurons that play a role in reward, aversion or drug seeking behavior. She also discovered unanticipated neuronal phenotypes in the midbrain and forebrain, including neurons in the ventral tegmental area that co-release GABA and glutamate from different pools of vesicles from a share axon terminal in the lateral habenula. She was a co-leader of the NIDA Initiative to Promote Racial Equity and a member of the NIH Equity Committee.

Paul Kenny

Ward-Coleman Professor and Chair, Nash Family Department of Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York

Molecular, cellular, and circuit mechanisms of alcohol reinforcement

Dr. Paul Kenny is the Ward-Coleman Professor and Chair of the Nash Family Department of Neuroscience at the Icahn Schools of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Dr. Kenny also serves as the Director of the Drug Discovery Institute at Mount Sinai. He received a degree in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin and his Ph.D. in neuropharmacology from King’s College London. Research in Dr. Kenny’s laboratory is focused on the molecular and cellular neurobiology of drug addiction, obesity and schizophrenia.  Dr. Kenny is involved in many efforts to develop novel small molecule therapeutic agents for the treatment of brain disorders and is the co-founder of Eolas Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Kenny has served as a member of the Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA), a member of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and is a current member of the National Institutes of Health Council of Councils (CoC) that reports to the NIH Director. Dr. Kenny has won numerous awards for his research, including the Daniel H. Efron Research Award from ACNP, the Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award from the Society for Neuroscience, and the Tom Connor Distinguished Investigator Award, Neuroscience Ireland. He is also the recipient of a MERIT award from NIDA.

Yulong Li

School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Professor

Spying on neuromodulator dynamics in vivo by constructing multi-color, genetically-encoded sensors

Dr. Yulong Li lab’s research centers on the ‘synapse’, the fundamental unit for the communication between neurons. He carries two layers of research: first, he develops cutting-edge research tools, namely advanced imaging probes, to untangle the complexity of the nervous system in space and in time; second, capitalizing on the advancement of research toolkits, he studies the regulation of synaptic transmission, focusing on the modulation of presynaptic transmitter release in health and disease conditions. His research group has successfully developed a series of novel genetically encoded optical probes called GPCR Activation-Based (GRAB) sensors for imaging neuromodulators such as acetylcholine, monoamines, purines, lipids, and neuropeptides. These probes have allowed, probably for the first time, rapid, chemical- and cell-specific in vivo detection in multiple organisms ranging from flies, zebrafish, and mice to songbirds.