Thursday, November 10th, 2022 at the Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego. CA. 

33rd Karger Workshop in Evolutionary Neuroscience 2022


2022 theme:
“Exaptation and the evolution of maladaptation” 

Karger Workshop is a one day meeting in Evolutionary Neuroscience, sponsored by S. Karger AG occurs every year prior to the Society for neurosciences meeting. The Proceedings of the Workshop are published as a special issue of Brain, Behavior and Evolution, which is the Club’s official journal, published by S. Karger AG.


The following day, members of the J. B. Johnston Club give presentations of their work. These presentations focus on ideas, rather than data, and provocative discussion is encouraged. The Abstracts of these presentations are published in an issue of Brain, Behavior, and Evolution before the annual meeting. 


Membership in the J. B. Johnston Club is open to any individual interested in comparative and evolutionary neurobiological research. Please see our Club Membership page for more information on the benefits of becoming a dues-paying member of the J. B. Johnston Club.



In this year's workshop we will have a diverse group of speakers. They will present their work within the theme of the workshop, some questions for the audience and a discussion will follow.


Dr. Helena Bilandzija

My research focuses on identifying molecular mechanisms underlying adaptive evolution in cave-dwelling animals. I have started my lab at Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia in 2019, where I plan to use comparative evo-devo approaches to study the process of colonization and adaptation to cave environments.


Dr. Bernard Crespi


Dr. Leonid Moroz


Dr. James Napoli

The purpose of my research program is to use integrated genetic, ecological and phylogenetic approaches to study social evolution across all levels in the hierarchy of life, from genes, to cells, to organisms, to social systems, and to the brain.

Our laboratory characterizes basic mechanisms underlying the origins and parallel evolution of neural systems, circuits, and brain signaling mechanisms. The major questions are: (1) why are individual neurons so different from each other, (2) how do they maintain such precise connections between each other, (3) how does this fixed wiring result in such enormous neuronal plasticity

Extant and extinct Cenozoic squamates; vertebrate macroevolution; morphology of habitat specialists; phylogenetic systematics and speciation; CT scanning and 3D visualization of morphology.


Dr. Edgar T. Walters

A major driver of several forms of chronic pain is persistent hyperexcitability and spontaneous electrical activity of nociceptors. These lasting alterations represent a cellular memory of bodily injury that is likely to involve mechanisms that are also used in the brain to store more conventional memories. Our goals are to define the mechanisms that cause nociceptors to become persistently hyperexcitable, to assess the functional consequences of this hyperexcitability, and to find new molecular targets within nociceptors offering promise for the treatment of chronic pain. 


Dr. Molly Womak

Using field- and lab-work, my research program compares trait morphology and function among species to better understand how diversity develops, how diversity evolves, and why it matters. My research spans neurophysiology, genomics, morphology, and phylogenetic comparative methods, making it complementary with a number of labs in the USU biology department and a bridge for departmental collaboration. Employing these interdisciplinary methods, I pair the wealth of available information in museum collections with novel data acquired from the field to answer foundation questions regarding drivers and limits of morphological evolution and sensory adaptation.


Dr. Katerina Semendeferi

Semendeferi’s scientific inquiry in “what makes us human” is grounded in the comparative study of the brain. Her long-standing commitment to noninvasive approaches to study the brain, helped her pioneer new ways to gain insights into the neuroanatomy of great apes, our closest living relatives, compared to humans. More recently she begun to explore links between the phylogenetically reorganized brain regions and their implication in vulnerabilities observed in atypical human neurodevelopment. 


Dr. Paul Frankland

What is the contribution of new neurons to hippocampal memory function. In particular we are interested in how new neurons regulate clearance of memories from the hippocampus (or forgetting). How are remote memories organized in the cortex, and what the molecular and cellular events that underlie their consolidation? How do neurons become allocated to a memory trace and how can we manipulate their activity to understand memory?


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