This second kick-off symposium was held to build a bridge between the first funding period with its to date achieved milestones and the the new projects that integrate into the already established framework. Therefore the meeting highlighted how the newly developed tools (light-sensitive proteins for neuronal inhibition, light-sensitive proteins for activation of specific neuronal populations, technologies for transcranial stimulation) will be used not only for the interrogation of neuronal circuits of diverse complexitity but also for elucidation of specific behaviors.
The short presentation of the 11 projects of the second funding period were complemented by intense discussions aiming to establish / consolidate the inter-troika collaborations. The meeting highlighted also one novel focus of the Program during the second funding period, the collaboration with recently launched national and international initiatives on similar topics. On the national side, interactions with two newly established Priority Programs, SPP 1926 "Next Generation Optogenetics" (launched in 2016) and SPP 2024 "Computational Connectonics" (launched in 2017) are envisaged. Therefore the two scientific coordinators of these two SPPs, Alexander Gottschalk (Frankfurt) and Jochen Triesch (Frankfurt), were invited to introduce the programs and give talks on their scientific background. Moreover the International Program for the Advancement of Neurotechnology (IPAN), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as the FENS KAVLI Network of Excellence have been brought up for international exchanges.
The meeting was furthermore enriched with talks from four renowned speakers from Norway (Menno Witter), England (Kenneth Harris), Spain (Guillermina Lopez-Bendito) and the United States (Wim Vanduffel), referring to research highlights closely related to the Priority Program's subject.