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Special Guest Lecture April 21, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, Room S120


Immune Mechanisms of Synapse Loss in Development:
Implications for Neuropsychiatry

 Beth Stevens, PhD
 Assistant Professor of Neurology 
 F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center
 Harvard Medical School






Dr. Stevens is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in the FM Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an institute member of the Broad Institute. Her research seeks to understand the mechanisms that regulate the development and elimination of synapses by focusing on how microglia and immune-related molecules mediate this process.

Dr. Stevens received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2003 at the University of Maryland, College Park. She performed her dissertation research at the National Institutes of Health (NICHD) in the area of neuron-glia interactions. In her postdoctoral work with Ben Barres at Stanford University, she discovered that the classical complement cascade, part of the innate immune system, helps to mediate developmental CNS synapse elimination. Their findings have raised many questions about how the complement cascade normally works to eliminate synapses and especially whether it becomes abnormally reactivated in brain diseases such as AD that impair synaptic connectivity.  In 2008, she established her independent laboratory in the FM Kirby Neurobiology Center at Children’s Hospital where she is currently using a combination of molecular, physiological and high resolution imaging techniques to dissect the mechanisms by which microglial cells and immune –related molecules  (ie.complement, cytokines) regulate synapse function during health and disease. She is investigating the mechanisms that drive synapse loss and dysfunction in AD, Huntington’s disease, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia.  Beth is a recipient of several young investigator awards, including: Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging, John Merck Scholar (2011), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and a MacArthur Award.

Continuing Education Credit:  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours.  In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. 

For more information regarding this lecture, please contact Frances Patrick at