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Thursday, May 16 2024.

Day 1


08:00-08:50 Registration


08:50-09:00 Welcome


09:00 - 10:00 Keynote Speaker 1, Michael Halassa: "Thalamocortical interactions in cognitive control and flexibility


10:00 – 10:30 Coffee Break


10:30 – 12:30 Symposium 1: "Mutimodal function of the pulvinar in health and disease", Theme Speaker: Melanie Wilke


S1.1 Kristine Krug: Contribution of the primate pulvinar to blindsight

S1.2 Suliann Ben Hamed: Multisensory function of the pulvinar in primates

S1.3 Igor Kagan: Visuomotor functions of the pulvinar nuclei: perturbation and electrophysiological studies in primates

S1.4 Melanie Wilke: Pulvinar contributions to reach and grasp behavior


 12:30-14:00 Lunch Break (on your own)


14:00-16:00 Symposium 2: "Circuits for cognition: the higher-order nuclei of the primate thalamus", Theme Speakers: Carmen Cavada/Francisco Clascá


S2.1: Michela Gamberini: Thalamic inputs to the macaque superior parietal lobule: sensory-to-motor loop

S2.2: Francisco Clasca: Input-output motifs in the primate pulvinar complex

          S2.3: Carmen Cavada: Neuromodulatory axons in the primate thalamus. Relevance for neurological disease.


16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 - 18:30 Symposium 3: "Midline nuclei: a thalamic hub for sleep and affective behavior", Theme Speakers: László Acsády / Ferenc Mátyás


S3.1: Henning Fenselau: Paraventricular thalamic gating of hypothalamic feeding signals

S3.2: Jan Gründemann: Cholinergic Modulation of Auditory Thalamus Mediates Associative Learning

S3.3:László Acsády: The role of paraventricular thalamic nucleus in stress induced modification of behaviour

S3.4: Ferenc Mátyás: Thalamo-Cortical principles define the complexity of information flow in the mouse and human amygdala


18:30-19:30 Poster session

P. 1. A mouse lateral posterior nucleus parcellation based on thalamocortical projection motifs

P. 2. Development of EEG alpha rhythm is linked to thalamocortical white matter pathways and visual detection performance

P. 3. Exploring the impact of interthalamic adhesion on human cognition: insights from healthy subjects and thalamic stroke patients

P. 4. Exploring the Role of the Pulvinar in Multisensory Processing: Insights from Functional Connectivity in fMRI

P. 5. Functional and anatomical evidence suggesting the existence of an auditory subcortical route for fast threat detection in humans

P. 6. Involvement of human anterior and mediodorsal thalamus in episodic memory recollection and familiarity across the lifespan

P. 7. Microcircuit ultrastructure comparison of first and higher order thalamocortical projections into layer-specific somatosensory cortices

P. 8. Multisensory integration at single cell and local field potential levels in the medial pulvinar

P. 9. Nucleus-specific axonal architectures and thalamocortical arborization patterns of the mouse ventral motor nuclei

P. 10. Population and single-neuron mapping of anterior thalamic nuclei projections in the mouse.

P. 11. Structural dynamics of human thalamocortical projections across the lifespan

P. 12. TCF7L2 deficiency in the thalamus leads to alterations in social behavior profile

P. 13. Thalamic contributions to working memory manipulation

P. 14. Unique features of layer 5 frontal cortical axons in the thalamus.


20:00 - 22:00 Social Event 1

Friday, May 17 2024.

Day 2


09:00 - 10:00 Keynote Speaker 2, Pieter R. Roelfsema "Creating a visual prosthesis by interfacing with the visual thalamus"


10:00-10:30 Coffee Break


10:30 - 12:30 Symposium 4: "Thalamic bases of adaptive behaviors", Theme Speaker: Mathieu Wolff


S4.1: Gisella Vetere: Thalamic contribution to fear memory consolidation

          S4.2: Audrey Hay: Global/local control of sleep oscillations by thalamic nuclei in mice

          S4.3: Mathieu Wolff : The role of thalamocortical circuits in adaptive behaviors and executive functions

          S4.4: John Dalrymple-Alford: Can we harness the thalamus to promote recovery of cognitive function for brain impairment?


12:30-14:00 Lunch Break (on your own)


14:00 - 16:00  Symposium 5: "Thalamic contribution to conscious processing", Theme Speaker: Mototaka Suzuki


S5.1: Mototaka Suzuki: How deep is the brain? The shallow brain hypothesis

S5.2: Randy Bruno: Secondary Thalamus in Behavior

S5.3: Bechir Jarraya: Deep brain stimulation of the thalamus restores signatures of consciousness: how does it work?

S5.4: Mohamed Sherif: Cortical computer modeling of facets of the neurobiology underlying psychiatric disorders: depression as an example


16:00-16:30 Coffee Break 


16:30-18:30  Symposium 6: "Neuroimaging of the human thalamus and cognitive function", Theme Speaker: Pero M. (Kepa) Paz-Alonso


S6.1: Pedro M. (“Kepa”) Paz-Alonso: Neuroimaging protocols to study the involvement of the human thalamus in cognitive function

S6.2: Henry Tregidgo: Segmentation of in vivo thalamic nuclei from joint structural and diffusion MRI

S6.3: Alejandro Tabas: Perceptual inference involves corticothalamic computations

S6.4: Liu Mengxing: Frontal thalamocortical networks in cognitive flexibility


18:30-19:30 Keynote Speaker 3, Katharina von Kriegstein: “The tiny and the fast: The role of the sensory thalamus in speech recognition”.


20:00 - 22:00 Social Event 2

November 30 1999.

Pedro M. Paz-Alonso

November 30 1999.

Francisco Clascá

November 30 1999.

Liu Mengxing

November 30 1999.

Amaia Carrión-Castillo

November 30 1999.

Social Event 1 (included in the registration fee). May 16th from 20:00 to 22:30

Embark on an unforgettable evening at the renowned San Sebastian Aquarium during our congress! Recently revamped, this century-old marvel stands as one of Europe's most modern oceanographic museums.

Join us for an exclusive experience as the Aquarium closes its doors solely for our congress attendees. Marvel at the marine wonders within, from navigating the 360º acrylic tunnel surrounded by majestic sharks and manta rays to the tactile aquarium where you can interact with live fish.

As part of this unique evening, savor a delightful dinner featuring authentic Donostia pintxos, adding a local touch to your culinary experience. The event is scheduled from 20:00 to 22:30, promising an enchanting night filled with marine wonders and gastronomic delights. Don't miss this chance to create lasting memories in the captivating ambiance of the San Sebastian Aquarium!


November 30 1999.

Social Event 2 (needs registration). Cider House. May 17th from 20:30 to 23:00

For Social Event II, we're excited to take you to a charming cider house just 15 minutes from San Sebastian. Our provided transportation will ensure a seamless journey.

This cider house, rooted in Basque tradition, once used a wooden press for its family cider production, later supplying it to the local fishing fleet and cider taverns. Today, it stands as a unique venue where you can immerse yourself in Basque cider culture.

Experience the timeless txotx ritual in the cellar, where the cider maker selects barrels for guests to taste. This shared experience fosters spontaneous connections among attendees, making it a delightful evening filled with traditional flavors and Basque culinary delights. Join us for an unforgettable night celebrating heritage and camaraderie.

You can register for this event here

November 30 1999.

Information about conference venue

The conference will take place at the Palacio Miramar in Donostia - San Sebastián, the Basque Country, which is located adjacent to the sea and just a short 5-10 minute walk from the city center.

The Miramar compound, made up of the palace with its park, various buildings, gardens and outbuildings, covers a total area of 34,136 square metres. It is limited to the north by the Ondarreta gardens, the rocks and the sea; to the south by the Paseo de Pío Baroja, which used to be an integral part of the complex; to the east by the Paseo de Miraconcha and to the west by the Paseo de los Miqueletes.

Its location in the centre of the bay, has made it an aesthetic and urban landmark of extraordinary value, which must be added to the historical value of its location.

Designed in 1888 by the English architect Selden Wornum, its style corresponds to an English Queen Anne “Cottage”

How to get there

November 30 1999.




Please notice that San Sebastian is one of the most popular and touristic cities of Northern Spain, so we recommend to book the hotel as soon as possible in order to avoid availability issues.

For accommodation options you can check the Accommodation official website of San Sebastián (https://www.sansebastianturismoa.eus/en/sleep/where-to-sleep), where you can find the full list of hotels, hostels, student hostels and also last minute offers.

Please find below a list of accommodations near the Miramar Palace, the venue of the conference.

Hotel Barcelo Costa Vasca **** - 600 m - 9 minutes on foot from the venue.

Hotel Letoh San Sebastián**** - 500 m - 8 minutes on foot from the venue.

Hotel Ilunion San Sebastián**** -  650 m - 10 minutes on foot from the venue.

Hotel La Galeria**- 700m - 9 minutes on foot from the venue.

Hotel Codina*** - 700m - 10 minutes on foot from the venue.

Hotel Ezeiza** - 750m - 10 minutes on foot from the venue.

Hotel Niza*** - 900m - 14min of foot from the venue.

Hotel NH Aranzazu**** - 1 km - 14 min on foot from the venue. 


November 30 1999.

Ana Fernández

November 30 1999.

Michael Halassa

School of Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, US


Mike Halassa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine. He has been studying Thalamocortical interactions since his postdoctoral training. His early work focused on the thalamic reticular nucleus and its role in regulating sensory processing and attention. His current focus is on the Mediodorsal thalamus and its interactions with the Prefrontal cortex in the context of higher cognition. Work in the lab stretches across species and involves experiments, modeling and theory. An important goal for the lab is connecting the basic science on thalamocortical function to applications relevant to their perturbation in disorders such as schizophrenia.




Keynote Talk: Thalamocortical interactions in cognitive control and flexibility

Interactions between the thalamus and cortex are critical for cognition but the exact contribution of the thalamus has been unclear. Classical theories depict thalamic relay of signals to or between cortical areas, but recent studies have highlighted the existence of bona fide thalamic computation and a diversity of thalamic output patterns capable of non-relay functions. In this talk, I will discuss findings that highlight the role of the mediodorsal (MD) thalamus in generating unique task-relevant variables and regulating prefrontal excitatory/inhibitory balance and effective connectivity during decision making. These findings indicate a role for the MD thalamus in hierarchical reasoning by engaging computations relevant to credit assignment. In addition to being central to many higher level cognitive processes, these computations are perturbed in schizophrenia. If time allows, I will present work that directly shows this link and our collaborative efforts to identify biomarkers and treatment targets.

November 30 1999.

László Acsády

Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest, Hungary


His research has special focus on the role of thalamus in higher order cognitive functions.

November 30 1999.

Leire Arietaleanizbeascoa

Personal Assistant


November 30 1999.

Katharina von Kriegstein

Faculty of Psychology, School of Science, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany


The primary goal of Katharina's lab's research program is to understand the sensory processes that enable successful communication among individuals. She employs behavioral, neuroimaging, and neurostimulation techniques to create and test innovative communication models. These models are then utilized to elucidate communication challenges in populations with developmental communication impairments and patients with brain lesions.

Keynote Talk: The tiny and the fast: The role of the sensory thalamus in speech recognition.

Human communication signals are complex and operate at rapid time scales across multiple modalities. For instance speech must be processed in real-time, often in challenging conditions. Katharina’s research aims to uncover the sensory mechanisms that allow humans to perceive these complex signals and effectively communicate with one another. During the presentation, she will share studies demonstrating a role of modulated responses in the visual and auditory sensory thalami (lateral geniculate nucleus, LGN; medial geniculate body, MGB) in speech recognition. This modulation can be explained by a predictive coding framework, where predictions generated in the cerebral cortex optimize the processing of auditory and visual speech in MGB and LGN. Disruptions to these cortico-thalamic systems are linked to two neurodevelopmental disorders, namely developmental dyslexia and autism. Recent high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging indicates differences, particularly in the magnocellular subsections of the visual sensory thalamus, between individuals with dyslexia and autism compared to typically developed controls. Overall, these findings suggest that modulation of MGB and LGN is involved in processing rapidly changing communication signals, and MGB and LGN dysfunction may contribute to symptoms observed in neurodevelopmental disorders.


November 30 1999.

Carmen Cavada

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Carmen Cavada investigates the neuronal connections and chemical architecture of the mammalian brain, with a primary focus on cortical areas of association and the thalamus of non-human primates. She currently leads the group \"Central Nervous System of Primates: Architecture and Disease Models.\" Her main interest lies in the catecholaminergic innervation of the primate thalamus, with a special emphasis on dopamine. She actively participates in projects aimed at generating and evaluating neurological disease models in primates, including Parkinson\'s disease.

November 30 1999.

Oihana Vadillo

Lab Manager


November 30 1999.

Pieter Roelfsema

Netherlands institute for neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Pieter studies visual perception, learning and memory in the visual system in humans, laboratory animals and artificial neural networks. He studies how nerve cells in different brain areas cooperate in tasks that require us to think about what we see. He wants to know how cells in brain areas cooperate and how they form during the learning of a new task.

An important goal of his lab is to develop a visual prosthesis that would allow people who have become blind to regain a simple form of sight. Pieter coordinates NeuroTech-NL, and the INTENSE grant from NWO to develop new neurotechnology



Keynote Talk: Creating a visual prosthesis by interfacing with the visual thalamus

A long-standing dream of scientists is to be able to directly project images from the outside world onto the visual brain, bypassing the eyes. This method could provide a solution for blind and visually impaired patients. It is the only possible solution for patients in whom the connection between eye and brain is lost so that a prosthesis in the eye is not an option.

I will first give an overview of the functioning of the LGN and visual cortex, where lower level brain regions analyze simple visual features and higher areas more complex properties such as object category and faces. I will then discuss the mechanisms that determine whether a visual stimulus will reach consciousness or not. It is well established that the electrical stimulation of electrodes in the visual brain leads to artificial percepts called "phosphenes". This method also works in patients who have been blind for decades. The goal of our own research is to bring a prosthesis for the visual brain closer. We implanted 1000 electrodes in the visual cortex to generate complex visual patterns. We demonstrated that this stimulation leads to interpretable images, in the same way that pixels form recognizable patterns on a screen. We are now looking into possibilities to interface with the LGN, which would facilitate clinical translation. These new neurotechnological developments take important steps in the direction of prostheses that can restore a rudimentary form of vision.

November 30 1999.

Francisco Clascá

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.


Francisco Clasca investigates, at the population, cellular, and synaptic levels, the functional structure of multiregional networks that connect the cerebral cortex and the thalamus. These networks enable the integrated functioning of the brain in processes such as attention, consciousness, and intentional movement.

November 30 1999.

Ferenc Mátyás

Laboratory of Neuronal Network and Behavior, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest, Hungary


Ferenc\'s ongoing research is dedicated to understanding the involvement of thalamic neuronal networks in both normal and abnormal cognitive processes.

November 30 1999.

Jon Aldaz

November 30 1999.

Maialen García

November 30 1999.

Mototaka Suzuki

University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Mototaka Suzuki is currently researching: The Shallow Brain Hypothesis, Dendritic Integration Theory (DIT) and its experimental validation and developing novel neuroscientific tools.

November 30 1999.

Melanie Wilke

University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany.


The research led by Melanie Wilke aims to understand how neural activity contributes to spatial awareness and the integration of distributed information for movement goal selection. Their work includes translational research from monkey models to human patients, with a current focus on investigating the interaction between thalamic nuclei and cortical areas in visual perception and decision making.

November 30 1999.

Mathieu Wolff

CNRS / University of Bordeaux, France.


The main scope of his research is to understand the cognitive and neural bases of adaptive decision-making. Successful adaptation to complex and dynamic environments requires flexible use of our current knowledge about the world, including our ability to predict and control events under changing circumstances.

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