Neuroplasticity in Substance Addiction and Recovery: From Genes to Culture and Back Again

(The following are confirmed participants, with additional participants to be added)

Nancy Campbell: Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA

Jason Clark: Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrueck, Germany

Jacques Dayan:
Inserm EPHE Université de Caen Basse Normandie, France

Liana Fattore: National Research Council, CNR, Neuroscience Institute – Cagliari at The Department of Biomedical Sciences, Division of Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology, Cittadella Universitaria di Monserrato, University of Cagliari, Italy

Craig Hanson: Philosophy Department, Palm Beach Atlantic University, USA

Dirk Hanson: Freelance Journalist

Carl Hart: Depts. of Psychology and Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA

Jens Kuhn: Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Uniklinik Köln, Kerpener Str. 62, 50924 Köln, Germany

Marc Lewis: Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Andreas Heinz: Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany

Daniel Lende: Anthropology Department, University of Southern Florida, USA

Neil Levy: Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Australia

Robert C. Malenka: Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences , Stanford University, USA

Saskia Nagel: Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrueck, Germany

Christian Perring: Department of Philosophy, Dowling College, USA

Heino Stoever: Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt, Germany

Garret D. Stuber:  Departments of Psychiatry & Cell Biology and Physiology, UNC Neuroscience Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Maia Szalavitz: Freelance Journalist

Reinout Wiers: Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Poster Presenters:

Dennis Sparta: Departments of Psychiatry & Cell Biology and Physiology, UNC Neuroscience Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Susan Uusitalo: Department of Behavioral Sciences and Philosophy, University of Turku, Finland.

Corinde Wiers: Postdoctoral researcher Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Germany

Poster Submissions

Poster submissions are welcome from researchers at all career stages, though we are especially interested in early career researchers.  Any topic that is relevant to the conference's theme, from any discipline, will be considered.

Presenters will also give short "lightning talks" to the entire conference, briefly summarizing their research.

To apply, please send a ~500 word description of your topic to jasonanthonyclark *a* gmail.

Venue and Organizational Information

The conference will be hosted at the ZiF Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld, Germany.  Information about the ZiF, including maps, travel information and contacts can be found by clicking the above link.

The detailed program has not yet been finalized, but you may find a schematic timetable for the conference here.



ZiF Center for Interdisciplinary Research

January 9-11, 2014

Bielefeld, Germany

Organized by Jason A. Clark and Saskia K. Nagel

Conference Summary and Goals

Research on neuroplasticity has exploded in the last decade, bringing enormous theoretical, practical, and social implications. Neuroplasticity can arise from forces at all levels, from genes to culture, which interact recursively. We examine the manifold types and causes of neuroplasticity and its implications in a specific domain: substance addiction. Advances in our ability to understand and manipulate plastic processes underlying addiction challenge previous notions of “permanence” and “changeability”, potentially impacting addicts’ conceptions of themselves, treatment, and legal strategies. We will bring together experts in the neural, psychological, sociocultural, ethical, and legal aspects of addiction to address: varieties of plasticity, diagnostic and therapeutic potentials, comorbid plastic processes, the interaction of developmental and drug-induced plasticity, and individual and group differences, among other issues. Different forms of plasticity interact, and so we advocate a multi-level, multi-component approach to understanding and treating addiction. Focusing on addiction allows researchers working on different causes or types of plasticity to devote attention to these interactions against a shared background knowledge of addiction.  This can illuminate more general issues concerning neuroplasticity that reach across psychological domains, and address broader issues in neuro-ethics.

We invite journalists and other interested media to attend! 

The ZiF Center for Interdisciplinary Research has funds available to cover the costs of journalists' travel and accommodations. Please direct inquiries to jasonanthonyclark *a* gmail.


Talk and Poster Topics (click here for abstracts)

Nancy Campbell:
"Reconditioning ‘Addiction’: Neuroplasticity as a Conceptual Apparatus"

Jason A. Clark (w/E. Muhlfeld and C. Spangehl): "Fighting fire wit
h fire: What the use of psychedelics to treat addiction tells us about addiction"

Jacques Dayan: “Adolescent brain development, risk-taking and vulnerability to addiction"

Liana Fattore: “Gender-dependent differences in the pharmacological effects of drug abuse: focus on cannabinoids“

Craig Hanson: “Multiple selves in addiction”

Carl Hart: TBA

Andreas Heinz: “The principle of reward – neurobiological, psychological, and social aspects“

Jens Kuhn: “Stimulating the addictive brain“

Neil Levy: “Addiction as a disorder of belief“

Marc Lewis: "Desire (not disease) in the Addictive Cycle: Neuroscientific and Buddhist Perspectives"

Robert C. Malenka:  “Elucidating the synaptic action of drugs of abuse“

Christian Perring: “Bridging the gap between philosophers of mind and neuroscientists—the  case of addiction”

Saskia K. Nagel (w/J. Clark): "Addiction as a whole-brain disorder"

Heino Stoever: "Dissecting the addiction discourse"

Garret D. Stuber Using optogenetics to dissect the neural circuits that mediate reward and  aversion“

Reinout Wiers: "Changing cognitive processes in addiction with clinical effects"

Poster Topics:

Dennis Sparta: TBA

Susuan Uusitalo: "The relevance and the nature of desire in explaining addiction"

Corinde Wiers: "Embodied cognition and addiction; implications for treatment"