Biological Clocks, Fertility, Stress among Topics at Center for Neuroendocrine Studies Symposium

October 2, 1998

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AMHERST, Mass. - Topics ranging from stress to sex will be discussed at the inaugural symposium celebrating the creation of the Center for Neuroendocrine Studies (CNS) at the University of Massachusetts. The event is scheduled for Oct. 9 in the Campus Center. More than 140 scientists from throughout the Northeast are expected to attend. Neuroendocrinology focuses on how the body chemicals called hormones work together with the brain to govern various body systems and functions. The symposium will include a series of discussions by high-profile experts in neuroendocrinology. The talks are as follows:

Martha K. McClintock, of the University of Chicago, was the first scientist to prove the existence of human pheromones, body-produced chemicals undetectable as odors but which have a major impact on the timing of ovulation. It was she who discovered that women who live together often have synchronized menstrual cycles. Campus Center, Room 163C, at 1:20 p.m.

Steven M. Reppert, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, is an expert in biological clocks, the internal timepieces that govern experiences ranging from sleepiness to hunger. He was part of the team to identify a gene involved in the mammalian biological clock. Reppert has also studied the hormone melatonin, a popular over-the-counter sleep remedy, and discounted initial claims that the substance could potentially extend the lifespans of laboratory animals. Campus Center, Room 163C, at 2:20 p.m.

William W. Chin, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, is a molecular endocrinologist. He was among the first to clone genes for some of the pituitary hormones controlling reproduction, and then began to investigate how thyroid hormones function. He currently works on the molecular processes by which thyroid hormones act in the brain. Campus Center, Room 163C, at 3:20 p.m

Bruce McEwen, of Rockefeller University in New York City, will discuss how an individual’s gender, and the level of stress an individual experiences, can influence learning and memory. McEwen’s work focuses on the processes by which stress can actually change the wiring in the brain. Campus Center, Room 1009, 7:35 p.m.

NOTE: There is a $30 registration fee for conference participants; members of the press are welcome to attend scientific talks without charge. For more information, contact conference organizer Jeffrey Blaustein at 413/545-1524 or blaustein@psych.umass.edu, or check the CNS Web site at www.umass.edu/cns.

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