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Vanderbilt’s Dugan, Patel, Wallace set for Discovery Lecture

Oct. 27, 2016, 9:05 AM

Three Vanderbilt University neuroscientists on the forefront of research in autism, addiction and Alzheimer’s disease will discuss their cutting-edge investigations during the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Laura Dugan, M.D.
Laura Dugan, M.D.

Their discussion, entitled “Translational Neuroscience Research at Vanderbilt: Mechanisms and Targets for Brain Disorders,” will begin at 4 p.m. in room 208 Light Hall. It is sponsored by the Office of the President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The speakers are:

  • Laura Dugan, M.D., the Abram C. Shmerling M.D. Professor of Alzheimer’s and Geriatric Medicine and director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine;
  • Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., the James G. Blakemore Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry; and
  • Mark Wallace, Ph.D., the Louise B. McGavock Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and dean of the Graduate School.

    Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D.
    Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D.

Dugan, who joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2014, studies the cellular mechanisms of nerves and neuronal injury in the brain, and the role of inflammation in the aging brain and in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Patel, a 2016 recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, studies the response of endocannabinoid signaling to stress, with the goal of better understanding the pathophysiology of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mark Wallace, Ph.D.
Mark Wallace, Ph.D.

Wallace, former director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, studies how the brain synthesizes information from the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, and how deficits in those sensory “building blocks” can hamper social and communication skills in children with autism.

For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

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