8:30 am Virtual Coffee & Networking

9:00 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

Synopsis

A critical overview of the current status of knowledge in the field of neuroimmunology, setting the tone of openness, discussion and collaboration.

9:10 am Kick-Off Panel Discussion – Uncovering the Next Frontier of Neuroimmunology

  • M. Kerry O’Banion MD, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Neuroscience , University of Rochester, School of Medicine & Dentistry
  • Philip Kong Associate Director Immuno-Neurology, Alector
  • Philip Ashton-Rickardt Senior Vice President, Immunology, AZTherapies

Synopsis

  • What have been the major advances in understanding neuroinflammation across CNS indications?
  • Diving into specific challenges presented by various targets including microglia, astrocytes, TREM2 and STING. What would give us confidence that that target is translatable in a disease?
  • What are common responses that we could target across these different diseases as well as what might be very distinct to particular diseases?
  • What can we learn from the inflammatory response in the context of CNS injury?
  • How have genetics and multi-omics analyses changed the way we study and develop therapies for CNS indications

 

Deploying Immuno-Neurology in Clinical Case Studies for CNS Diseases

9:50 am Rescue of a Lysosomal Storage Disorder Caused by BMP Deficiency in Grn Loss-of-Function With a Brain Penetrant Progranulin Biologic

Synopsis

  • PGRN deficiency is linked to dysfunction of lysosomal lipid metabolism
  • PTV:PGRN enhances brain uptake and biodistribution via transferrin receptor binding
  • PTV:PGRN treatment rescues lysosomal, glial and neurodegeneration phenotypes in Grn KO mice.
  • Novel potential biomarkers have been identified to measure activity of PTV:PGRN

10:15 am Depression & Neuroinflammation: An Update from Ulysses Neuroscience

Synopsis

• Neuroinflammation in major depressive disorder
• The interferon-alpha model of neuroinflammation in mental disorders
• Effects of Ketamine and GSK3β inhibitors on neuroinflammation

10:40 am Live Speaker Q&A

11:00 am Morning Break & Speed Networking

Advances in Tools to Support the Mission of Harnessing Neuroimmune Pathways as Potential Drug Targets

12:00 pm Leveraging Genetics to Discover Immune-Modulating Targets for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • Philip Kong Associate Director Immuno-Neurology, Alector

Synopsis

• Overview of how we leverage genetics for drug discovery
• To what extent do we understand how genetics affects microglia biology? What have we recently uncovered in terms of microglial dynamics?
• Introduction of MS4 genetic locus, the MS4A protein family and more specifically, MSA4A
• Diving into our drug discovery process and what we know about this biology to date
• Deciphering the interactions between MSA4A and TREM 2
• Working towards MS4A4A as a therapeutic target

12:25 pm Generation of iPSC Reagents & Assays to Facilitate Disease Modelling & Drug Discovery for Neuroimmunology Diseases

  • Ashley Barnes Science Officer , Axol Biosciences/ Censo Biotechnologies Merged Entity

Synopsis

  • Axol Biosciences as a leading provider of iPSC reagents and services has a range of products which have an increasing utility in pharmacological and bio-pharmacological drug discovery for neuroimmunology.
  • Recently we have merged with Censo Biotechnologies, a CRO specializing in development of custom models and candidate screening in neuroimmunology.
  • Data will be presented on cell types such as iPSC derived microglia and astrocytes with regards to considerations and validation of those cell types and assays with relevance to the neuro-immunological disease modelling using iPSC-derived cells.

12:45 pm From Mapping TREM2 Signal Transduction to Downstream Pathway Biomarkers, Leveraging a Toolbox of Genetic & Pharmacological Perturbations

  • Choya Yoon Senior Scientist, Neuroimmunology, Merck

Synopsis

• TREM2 has been the focus of intense preclinical interest and an emerging area for early clinical development based on human lossof-function AD risk variants now connecting this microglial-enriched signaling hub with neurological disease
• Despite the surge of interest, functional insights have predominantly (though not exclusively) relied on genetic perturbations in cells and animals models of neurodegenerative diseases, putting the focal point of attention on the impact of loss-of-function.
• In this talk, I will share insights into (i) the validation of agonist tools to study TREM2 gain-of-function in various translationally relevant cellbased systems (ii) recent efforts to connect the intracellular cascade to extracellular responses in vitro and in vivo, as well as (iii) validate insights using TREM2 activating antibodies, with the collective goal of shedding further light on a preclinical functional hypothesis for the microglial TREM2 signaling axis

1:10 pm Live Speaker Q&A

  • Philip Kong Associate Director Immuno-Neurology, Alector
  • Choya Yoon Senior Scientist, Neuroimmunology, Merck
  • Ashley Barnes Science Officer , Axol Biosciences/ Censo Biotechnologies Merged Entity

1:30 pm Lunch Break

2:10 pm TREM2 Regulates Microglial Cholesterol Metabolism upon Chronic Phagocytic Challenge

Synopsis

  •  Upon demyelination, Trem2 –/– microglia fail to upregulate lipid metabolism genes
  •  Trem2 –/– microglia accumulate cholesteryl ester derived from myelin cholesterol
  •  Accumulation is rescued by ACAT1 inhibitor and LXR agonist
  •  Apoe –/– glia defective in cholesterol transport also accumulate cholesteryl ester

2:35 pm Microglia in Spacetime Continuum: Insights from Spatial Transcriptomics

  • Andrea Crotti Principal Scientist - Early Target Discovery, Takeda

Synopsis

• Advances in spatial transcriptomics to date and an overview of where we are now
• How can we best integrate RNA seq with data from proteomics and genomics to try to understand the new pathways that can be druggable and therefore beneficial for patients?
• How can we further drive our understanding of spatial transcriptomic and spatial proteomics?
• Implementing spatial transcriptomics in humans rather than mouse tissues

3:00 pm Metabolic Perturbations of Phagocytic Microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model

  • Pascal Sanchez Director, Translational Sciences, Denali Therapeutics

Synopsis

• Deep-phenotyping analysis of brain-sorted microglia reveals profound transcriptomic perturbations in line with the notion that microglia response is largely mediated by amyloid-β pathology in AD
• Accumulation of fibrillar Aβ in microglia is directly associated with a dramatic increase of various lipids,
• Implications for therapeutic avenues targeting microglia

3:25 pm Technology-Enabled Drug Discovery Platform Using Human Neuronal Models, Optogenetics & Machine Learning

Synopsis

• Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons enable scalable, patientspecific disease models that can be used to capture complex disease phenotypes
• We utilize Optopatch, an all-optical electrophysiology platform to measure neuronal activity with single-cell and single action potential precision but with >10,000-fold higher throughput than manual patch clamp electrophysiology
• Machine learning of Optopatch data sets across thousands of neurons and hundreds of electrophysiological parameters enables identification of disease phenotypes that can be used as the basis for screening candidate therapeutics
• We have utilized this approach for discovery in inflammatory models of pain and other disease indications with the goal of identifying differentiated therapeutics and novel drug targets

3:50 pm Live Speaker Q&A

4:15 pm Scientific Poster Session

Synopsis

The Poster Session is an informal part of the conference agenda, allowing you to connect with your peers in a relaxed atmosphere and continue to forge new and existing relationships. This is also your chance to showcase your work to leaders in the field!

4:45 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks & End of Day One