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Pune, India
August 5-7, 2013

Call For Presentations:




  Sand 2013 Pune

A multi-disciplinary meeting exploring free dynamics in networks and the relation of neurodynamics to neurological conditions and autonomous activity.

The 10th annual meeting of the Society for Autonomous Neurodynamics (SAND) will take place on August 5th, 6th and 7th in Pune, India at the Indian Institute for Science Education and Research. We are now soliciting participants from a range of fields interested in autonomous neurodynamics. If you would like to present work relating to these topics at SAND please send in a 250-word abstract by Tuesday, July 16th, 2013.

Register online at:

Abstracts can also be emailed to:

Presentations should be 15 minutes in length. We encourage entries from a diversity of backgrounds and welcome both exploratory and advanced research. Sessions are meant to be fun, dynamic and will include open discussions.

SAND Conference Scope
Conference Topics
Pune and Western Ghats Eco Activities
Accessibility, Fees and Child Care
Organizing and Scientific Committee
Meeting Sponsors
Why Autonomous Neural Systems?
Why Autonomous Neurodynamics and Neurological Conditions?
Meeting Background


Autonomous Neurodynamics describes interactive systems that can change activity both in response to and independently of the environment. Presentations will focus on the theoretical underpinnings and implications of autonomous dynamics in relation to neural activity, cognition, social systems and general network dynamics. Sessions may encompass a broad array of approaches including presentations from mathematics, physics, philosophy, psychology, social studies, legal theory, computational and theoretical neurosciences.


Presentations and roundtable: Monday, August 5 - Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Post-presentation activities: Wednesday, August 7 - Saturday August 10, 2013

Recommended latest arrival: Sunday, August 4, 2013
Recommended earliest departure, presentations portion only: Thursday, August 8, 2013
Recommended earliest departure, SAND Western Ghats activities participants: Sunday August 11, 2013


SAND conference presentations typically encompass a wide range of themes that have included:

  • Physiology, Sensorimotor Systems & Behavior
  • Neurogenetics & Neuroanatomy
  • Biochemistry, Pharmacology & Nutrition
  • Hormones & Reproduction
  • Neurology and Clinical Perspectives
  • Attention, Sleep, Addiction & Creativity
  • Social Sciences & Social Work
  • Neuropsychoanalysis
  • Environmental Factors, Green Neuroscience
  • Embodied Modeling / Autonomous Agents
  • Dynamical Systems / Nonlinear Analysis
  • Cognitive Science & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Personal & Community Narratives
  • Gender & Cultural Studies
  • Network Theory
  • Computation & Information Theory
  • Philosophy of Mind / Epistemology / Metaphysics
  • The Role of Noise / Stochasticity / Randomness
  • In addition to these topics we welcome novel approaches and interdisciplinary research that can synthesize findings from various fields. Presentations may also consider the implications of research findings on ethical theory, autonomy and health. In celebration of our 10th assembly, this year will include a special focus on the "Art of Being Free." We particularly encourage discussion of how free brain dynamics generate art and, conversely, the role of the arts in enabling sustainable autonomy, happiness and health. We also encourage presentations that examine changes in neurodynamics in neurological conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's that can have a tremendous impact on an individual's autonomy and quality of life. Investigations may also include more common conditions in which changes in neural dynamics impact volitional activity such as sleep. Presentations may be considered for inclusion in a special post-conference publication.


    Accommodations will be available at the on-site academic guest house. Limited spots. First-come first-served policy. Click here for additional information on accommodations.


    The conference will be held at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune, India. IISER is a state-of-the-art education and research institute dedicated to nurturing curiosity and creativity in a holistic and integrated science environment. Pune is a main center of higher learning in the state of Maharashtra and its cultural capital. This city is a vibrant combination of historical sites, green spaces, and a thriving music scene. In a continuation of the SAND tradition, the conference presentations will be followed by a multi-day outdoor excursion in which ideas are exchanged and collaborations planned in a more informal, free and dynamic environment. The excursion is also meant to help place the discussions of the meeting within the context of the world. Our hosts this year will guide the group to an eco center in the Western Ghats, a beautiful mountain range and biodiversity hot spot with opportunities for hiking, yoga and meditation. Limited spots.

    Additional excursion information will be made available on this page.


    Accessibility and diverse participation are important SAND principles. All presentations will take place in accessible venues and there are no registration, attendance or presentation fees.

    Limited free accommodations will also be available at the hosting institute for SAND presenters. Travel, accommodation and food costs for post-event activities are kept to a minimum.

    Grants to assist with child care arrangements may be available. Please indicate any requirements during online registration.


    SAND is a category 3 (international) NVKF (Dutch Society for Medical Physics) recognized congress.


    • Suhita Nadkarni, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), India (CHAIR)
    • Collins Assisi, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), India (CO-CHAIR)
    • Ann Lam, The Green Neuroscience Laboratory, Neurolinx Research Institute, USA (CO-CHAIR)
    • Elan Liss Ohayon, Salk Institute & The Green Neuroscience Laboratory, USA (CO-CHAIR)
    • Jay Coggan, Salk Institute & Neurolinx Research Institute, USA
    • Peter Carlen, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Research Institute, Canada
    • Hailey Chu, The Green Neuroscience Laboratory & University of California, San Diego (UCSD), USA
    • Laura Frutos, The Green Neuroscience Laboratory & San Diego State University, USA
    • Stiliyan Kalitzin, Dutch Epilepsy Clinics Foundation (SEIN), The Netherlands
    • Alisa Munoz, Green Neuroscience Laboratory & University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
    • Piotr Suffczynski, Warsaw University, Poland



    Clearly neural systems can perform incredibly complex computations but what are the features that underlie their autonomy? How do healthy embodied brains remain independent from the dynamics of the world while also being responsive? How do neural networks find balance yet avoid infinite repetition or silence?

    Emerging techniques in complexity sciences and neural modeling provide the tools to explore dynamics in such systems but have yet to explain how daily computational tasks are accomplished in a continuous and autonomous fashion. These questions regarding system autonomy are often independently explored in physics, mathematics, philosophy and other fields. The issue of increasing freedom in systems is at the foundations of cognitive and social sciences.


    The most devastating aspect of a neurological condition is often the impact on independent activity. For example, in epilepsy the changes in neurodynamics result in an acute and often devastating loss of freedom, in which an individual's autonomy is lost and regained in very sudden and dramatic ways. The generally unpredictable nature of this transition to a state of partial or total functional neuronal impairment makes epilepsy more a dynamical system condition than a product of any single factor. Why and how does the transition occur and why and how does the epileptic state terminate? Are these transitional states a by-product of a complex neuronal system meant for autonomous operation in changing environments? Do these transitions hint at fundamental neuronal mechanisms? At the other extreme, aging is an example of a process in which changes to neurodynamics come about very gradually but can be no less devastating.

    Neuroscience researchers are often focused on controlling phenomena, forgetting that an important goal is to increase individual autonomy. There are many routes to changing neural dynamics, the difficulty is ensuring that as a consequence the individual becomes more autonomous rather than less so. What can theories of autonomous systems tell us about treating these conditions? What can these conditions tell us about how complex systems maintain freedom in the environment?


    The first meeting of the Society for Autonomous Neurodynamics was held at the University of Toronto, in August 2004. Subsequent meetings took place at the Institute of Experimental Physics, Warsaw University (2005), the Marine Biology Station, Eilat (2006), Laval University, Quebec (2007), SEIN in the Netherlands (2008), the University of California San Diego (UCSD) & the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California (2009) and the University of Toronto (2010). In 2011 SAND held its first meeting in Asia at the Bangkok General Hospital and Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand. In 2012 the meeting was held at the Green Neuroscience Laboratory, San Diego, California and at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Ensenada, Baja California.

    The meetings have included empirical scientists, theoreticians and personal reports. They have proven to be cognitively intense, high-energy, autonomous events in a fun and informal atmosphere. The gatherings also mark the continuation of an international collaboration on the subject between researchers in the Netherlands, USA and Canada including the Dutch Epilepsy Clinics Foundation (SEIN), the University of Amsterdam, the Salk and the University of Toronto Epilepsy Program.

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    Last modified: Thursday June 6, 2013
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