The 8th ICHBB in Liège (June 2014)


Jacques Balthazart reached the age of 65 on June 29, 2014 and according to the Belgian rules has to retire from all his official functions at the University of Liege, though he is not planning to end his scientific career at this point. On this occasion, we  organized another (last?)  International Conference on Hormones, Brain and Behavior (ICHBB) in the tradition that he had initiated in the mid-eighties. This conference met in Bielfeld Germany in 1982, in Liege Belgium in 1984 and 1989, in Tours France in 1993, in Torino Italy in 1996, in Madrid Spain in 2000 and again in Torino in 2009. We organized it once more in Liege as a 3-day conference on June 25-27, 2014.

The conference included 6 symposia  including each 4 invited talks and 3 plenary lectures (See program below). In addition, a few shorter contributed talks were                                                           included in the symposia and all participants were able to present posters describing their recent work. 

The conference  focused on the themes that Jacques studied in his career including sexual differentiation of brain and behavior, role of brain steroid metabolism in particular aromatase in the control of sexual behavior, sexual motivation, seasonal changes and steroid-induced brain plasticity. The invited and plenary talks werel thus essentially concerned with these themes but other topics in behavioral endocrinology were also covered in the posters.

The conference was oustanding scientifically and extremely enjoyable socially. A personal account written by one participant, Jill Schnedeir can be found in her web site

Charlotte A. Cornil       Gregory F. Ball      Jacques Balthazart

Scientific program

 The full program with abstracts and list of posters can be downloaded as a pdf file by clicking here.

Tuesday June 24 


Chair: Charlotte Cornil


17.45 -18.00. Inaugural ceremony with a few welcome words by Rector Bernard Rentier


18.00-19.00.  Plenary keynote lecture

Margareth M. McCarthy (Univ. Maryland, Baltimore MD, USA)

 50 years on, sexual differentiation of the brain still surprises



Wednesday June 25

 Symposium 1 : Sexual differentiation

 Chairs: Anne Etgen & Barney Schlinger


09.00-09.30. Geert De Vries (Georgia State Univ., Atlanta GA, USA)

Sexual differentiation of the brain; a whole body perspective

09.30-10.00.  Elizabeth Adkins-Regan (Cornell Univ., Ithaca NY, USA)

Avian sex differences: a Tinbergen-inspired approach

10.00-10.30. Chuck Roselli (OHSU, Portland OR, USA)

From barn to bench: using sheep to study sexual differentiation of the brain


10.30-11.00 . Coffee break


11.00-11.30. Julie Bakker (University of Liege, Belgium)

            Sexual differentiation of the human brain : fMRI studies


11.30-12.30. Contributed talks


11.30-11.45. Sakuma Y. (University of Tokyo Health Sciences, Japan): Development and

            function of the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area.

11.45-12.00. Raskin K., Marie-Luce C., Naulé L., Picot M., Mhaouty-Kodja S. (Sorbonne Universités, Paris, France): Revisting the role of androgen and estrogen receptors in the organization and activation of male behaviors by using conditional mutagenesis in mice

12.00-12.15. Taziaux M. , Staphorsius M., Swaab D.F., Bakker J. (University of Liège, Belgium): Sex difference in kisspeptin expression in the human infundibular nucleus: developmental and hormonal aspects.

12.15-12.30. Kelly A.M., Goodson J.L. (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN): Sexually differentiated functions of hypothalamic oxytocin and vasopessin neurons.



12.30-14.00. Lunch with poster discussion


Symposium 2 : Sexual and social motivation

 Chairs: Julie Bakker & Jeff Blaustein


14.00-14.30. Lauren Riters (Univ. Wisconsin, Madison WI, USA)

Pleasure seeking and birdsong: Neuroendocrine regulation of the motivation

to communicate

14.30-15.00. Jim Pfaus (Concordia Univ., Montreal CANADA)

            The pleasure principle revisited : How sexual pleasure links sexual arousal,

            desire, preference and performance

15.00-15 .30. Rae Silver (Columbia Univ, New York NY, USA)

Sex differences in hormonal remodeling of circadian plasticity  Coffee break


16.00-16h30. Bob Meisel (Univ Minnesota, Minneapolis MN, USA)

Why do animals have sex? A neurobiological perspective


16h30-18.00.  Contributed talks


16.30-16.45. Schneider J.E. (Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA): Our stolen figures: endocrine disruptors and obesity.

16.45-17.00. Mong J.A., Cusmano D.M., and Viechweg S. (University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD): The median preoptic nucleus (MnPN): a key site for estradiol mediated changes in sleep.

17.00-17.15. Borrow A.P., Cameron N.M. (Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY): A natural model of gonadal steroid effects on emotional lability and risky behavior in females.

17.15-17.30. Charlier T.D., Niessen N.A., Vesel C., Schmidt R, Wiemerslage L., Welch L.R., Balthazart J.  (Ohio University, Athens, OH): Distinct roles of androgenic and estrogenic testosterone metabolites in gene regulation underlying male sexual behavior.

17.30-17.45. Dalla C., Kokras N. (University of Athens, Greece): Antidepressant potential of subacute aromatase inhibition.

17.45-18.00. Keller M., Chemineau P., Delgadillo J.A. (INRA/CNRS/University of Tours, Nouzilly, France): Male sexual behavior drives the reactivation of female gonadotrope activity in goats.



Thursday June 26


Symposium 3 : Aromatase and estrogen action

 Chairs: Elizabeth Adkins-Regan & Chuck Roselli


09.00-09.30. Per Södersten (Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge SWEDEN)

Steinach versus Young: how the effects of estrogen in the male disappeared and

            how the male brain emerged

09.30-10.00. Jon Levine (Wisconsin Univ., Madison WI, USA)

 Non-classical estrogen receptor alpha signaling and regulation of body weight

10.00-10.30. Luke Remage-Healey (UMass, Amherst MA, USA)

Rapid changes in brain estrogens and sensorimotor integration


10.30-11.00. Coffee break


11.00-11.30. Jeff Blaustein (UMass, Amherst MA, USA)

Peripubertal stressors influence behavioral response to estradiol later in life


11.30-12.30. Plenary lecture


Chair: Gregory Ball

Barney Schlinger (UCLA, Los Angeles CA, USA)

Androgens, courtship, and athleticism: lessons from an exuberant tropical bird


12.30-14.00. Lunch with poster discussion



Symposium 4 : Neuroprotection and endocrine disruptors

 Chairs: Margareth M. McCarthy & Colin Saldanha


14.00-14.30. Anne Etgen (Albert Einstein, New York NY, USA)

Estradiol reduces death of hippocampal pyramidal neurons subjected to global

ischemia: cellular mediators

14.30-15.00. Luis Miguel Garcia Segura (Cajal Institute, Madrid, SPAIN)

Neuroprotective actions of brain aromatase

15.00-15.30. Michael Schumacher (INSERM, Kremlin Bicêtre-Paris FRANCE)

Myelin regeneration with androgens Coffee break


16.00-16.30. Gian Carlo Panzica (Torino Univ., Torino ITALY)

Sexually dimorphic effects of endocrine disruptors on brain and behavior


16.30-17.30. Contributed talks


16.30-16.45. Grattan D.R., Cashen S., Larsen C.M., Kokay I.C., Brown R.S.E., Wyatt A., Le Tissier P.R. (University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand): Impaired postpartum maternal behaviour following conditional deletion of the prolactin receptor from GABAergic neurons.

16.45-17.00. Wild J. M. (University of Auckland, New Zealand): Involvement of the avian song system in reproductive behaviour.

17.00-17.15. Groothuis T.G.G., RettenbacherS., Hsu B-Y., Rie Henriksen R. (University of Groningen, the Netherlands): Context-dependent effects of maternal

              testosterone: Solving a paradox.

17.15-17.30. von Engelhardt N., Langen E., Goerlich-Jansson,V. (University of Bielefeld,

Germany): Transgenerational effects of the social environment transmitted

through the avian egg.


17.30-20.00. Poster discussion and Belgian beers tasting



Friday June 27


Symposium 5 : Seasonality/Plasticity

 Chairs: Elaine Hull & Luis Miguel Garcia-Segura


09.00-09.30. Tyler Stevenson (Aberdeen Univ., Aberdeen UK)

 Reversible epigenetics and seasonal neuroendocrine plasticity

09.30-10.00. Kiran Soma (Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver CANADA)

Local steroid synthesis in the brain…and other organs

10.00-10.30. Annemie Van der Linden (Antwerp Univ., Antwerp BELGIUM)

Magnetic resonance imaging of brain plasticity in songbirds


10.30-11.00. Coffee break


11.00-11.30. John Wingfield (Univ. California, Davis CA, USA)

Changes in regulation of behavioral traits over the life course: diversity of






11.30-12.30. Contributed talks


11.30-11.45. Wade J. (Michigan State University, East Lansing MI): Do estradiol and specific z-chromosome genes work in concert to masculinize the zebra finch song system?

11.45-12.00. Steyaert S., Diddens J., Van der Linden A. , Vanden Berghe W., De Meyer T. (University of Ghent, Belgium): A genome-wide search for epigenetically regulated genes in zebra finch cell lines using methylcap-seq and RNA-seq.

12.00-12.15. Alward B.A., Chan T.T.,  Rownd K., Weidenbenner H., Balthazart J., Ball G.F. (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD): Anatomical specificity in the action of testosterone in the regulation of song and underlying neuroplasticity in canaries.

12.15-12.30. Caro S.P., Aldredge R.A., Schaper S.V., Dawson A., Sharp P.J., Visser M.E. (Netherlands Institute of Ecology , Wageningen, The Netherlands): Effect of an increase in ambient temperature on brain activity and endocrine concentrations in photostimulated female great tits.


12.30-14.00. Lunch with poster discussion


Symposium 6 : Brain plasticity

 Chairs: Rae Silver & Gian Carlo Panzica


14.00-14.30. Elaine Hull (Florida State Univ., Tallahassee FL, USA)

Steroids in the MPOA: pathways to sexual sensitization and stress reduction

14.30-15.00. Carolyn Pytte (Queen College, CUNY, Flushing NY, USA)

Effects of song feedback on lateralized neurogenesis in the zebra finch

15.00-15.30. Colin Saldanha (American Univ., Washington DC, USA)

Estrogens where and when they’re needed: compartment- and cell-specific

            aromatization in the songbird brain


15.30-16.00. Coffee break


16.00-16.30. David Clayton (Queen Mary Univ. London, London UK)

 The deceptive simplicity of sex, steroids and genome responses


16.30-17.30. Plenary lecture


Chair: Jacques Balthazart

Gregory F. Ball (Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore MD, USA)

Steroid-induced adult neuroplasticity: What I learned from Jacques and the Birds



17.30-18.00. Closing ceremony including historical presentation by

Kathie Olsen (ScienceWorks, Washington DC, USA)

Reflections on the International Conferences on Hormones, Brain and Behavior :

from Bielefeld to Liege


and  concluding remarks by Greg Ball  (Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore MD, USA)


18.00-19.00. Closing cocktail party


20.00-24.00. Final Banquet (Walking dinner in Colonster Castle)

© Jacques Balthazart 2019