Immunotherapies of Brain Disorders: A Symposium

IPSC derived neurons from a patient with Alzheimer's disease


Genetics and gene expression studies have taught us that cells of the immune system play a major role in brain development and plasticity, as well as neurodegeneration.

The growing therapeutic value of cancer immunology inspires the belief that immunotherapies might help in the treatment of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and FTD.


Our immediate goal with this meeting is to promote successful innovation and entrepreneurship in brain disorder immunotherapy by assembling a local ecosystem that supports it.

The meeting will be a success if more immunologists and neurobiologists are attracted to neuroimmunology, if partnerships form, and if companies attract the funding and the talent needed to bring us the new diagnostics and therapies.


We are bringing together industry and academic scientists; potential funders; and companies, from startups to big pharma, committed to the field.


All sessions will be held in the auditorium at Bakar Labs, located at 2625 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94720.


With generous support from the Bakar Labs Affiliates.


8:00-8:30 AM Check-in and breakfast

8:30-8:45 AM Welcome address (Regis Kelly, QB3/Bakar Labs)

8:45-8:50 AM Session Overview

8:50-9:20 AM Anna Molofsky, UCSF (Keynote): Immunity Shapes the Developing Brain

9:25-9:40 AM Xianhua Piao, UCSF: Maternal Immune Activation: A Silent Culprit in Children’s Brain Health

9:45-10:00 AM Kaoru Saijo, UC Berkeley: Infections and Brain Disorders During Pregnancy

10:05-10:25 AM Panel Discussion 1

10:25-10:45 AM Coffee Break

10:45-10:50 AM Session Overview

10:50-11:05 AM Jesse Hanson, Genentech: Complement-Based Therapies

11:10-11:25 AM Kathryn Monroe, Denali Therapeutics: Blood-Brain Barrier Transport of Antibodies to Improve Microglial Function

11:30-11:45 AM Andrew Yang, UCSF: Brain barriers: Basics & Implications for CNS Immunotherapies

11:50-12:10 PM Panel Discussion 2

12:10-12:50 PM Lunch

12:50-12:55 PM Session Overview

12:55-1:10 PM Katerina Akassoglou, Gladstone Institutes, UCSF: Blood Drivers of Neurodegeneration: Fibrin Therapeutics

1:15-1:30 PM Michael Wilson, UCSF: Autoantibody Discovery in Neuroinflammatory Disorders

1:35-1:50 PM Anil Bhushan, UCSF: Cancer, Rewriting Stromal-Immune Circuits

1:55-2:15 PM Panel Discussion 3

2:15-2:35 PM Break

2:35-2:40 PM Session Overview

2:40-2:50 PM Gajus Worthington, Superfluid Dx: Cell-Free mRNA Diagnostics for AD

2:55-3:05 PM Russ Lebovitz, Amprion: Prion-Like Misfolded Protein Biomarkers in Neurodegenerative Disease

3:10-3:20 PM Meriel Owen, ADDF: Targeting the Immune System for Dementia

3:25-3:35 PM Joy Zuchero, Denali Therapeutics: Transport Vehicle Enabled Delivery of Antibodies to the Central Nervous System

3:40-3:50 PM David Schaffer, UC Berkeley, QB3, BBH: Directed Evolution of Enhanced AAV Vectors for Clinical Gene Therapy

3:55-4:15 PM Panel Discussion 4

4:15-4:30 PM Break

4:30-5:00 PM Corey Goodman, VenBio

                            Jon-Eric Van Leeuwen, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

                            Rebecca Brachman, Convergent Research

                            Rosa Canet-Avilés, CIRM

                            Rebecca Roof, NIH

5:00-6:00 PM Networking Reception


This symposium is directed by Regis Kelly, formerly QB3 Executive Director and currently Director of Public Outreach at Bakar Labs, working with Katarina Klett, QB3 Innovation Discovery Program Manager, and the QB3 events and programs team.

If you have any questions about this event, please email Katarina.