OBSSR Upcoming Events

The OBSSR hosts virtual and in-person meetings that highlight behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). In coordination with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, other government agencies, and the wider BSSR community, OBSSR facilitates opportunities to network, collaborate, explore, and advance BSSR.

OBSSR hosts a Director’s Webinar Series on a variety of BSSR topics to help communicate BSSR findings and other relevant BSSR information. OBSSR’s annual in-person meetings include the NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival. Subscribe to receive updates on the latest OBSSR and BSSR-related event information.

View the list of past OBSSR events.

August 6, 2021, 9:00 am | Virtual
The Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC) open meetings include representatives from NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices and interested members of the public to meet to discuss behavioral and social sciences-relevant topics.
September 14, 2021, 2:00 pm | Virtual
Presenter: Erich D. Jarvis, Ph.D.
Vocal learning is the most critical behavior for spoken language. It has evolved multiple independent times among mammals and birds. Remarkably, although all vocal learning species are distantly related and have closer relatives that are non-vocal learners, humans and the vocal learning birds have evolved convergent forebrain pathways that control vocal learning. We used comparative genomics and transcriptomics to discover convergent changes in multiple genes in song learning pathways in birds and speech pathways in humans. The vocal learning brain pathways have convergent specialized changes in genes that control connectivity, neuroprotection, and synaptic plasticity. We have found that specialized regulation is associated with convergent accelerated regions in the genomes of these species, which in turn have differential epigenetic availability in enhancer regions of some of the genes, inside the neurons of the vocal learning brain regions. To explain these findings, we propose a motor theory of vocal learning origin, in which brain pathways for vocal learning evolved by brain pathway duplication of an ancestral motor learning pathway, using mostly the same genes, but with some divergences in gene regulation via sequence and epigenetic changes, that control divergent connectivity and other functions.
September 16, 2021, 12:00 am | Virtual
Presentation and presenter information forthcoming.
October 1, 2021, 9:00 am | Virtual
The Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC) open meetings include representatives from NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices and interested members of the public to meet to discuss behavioral and social sciences-relevant topics.
November 19, 2021, 9:00 am | Virtual
The 2021 NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival will be held on Friday, November 19, 2021, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. Registration and agenda information will be posted soon. Overview: The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), in collaboration with the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC), holds the annual NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival on the NIH campus. This new annual meeting is organized to inform the wider BSSR community, stakeholders, and NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) about the latest BSSR funded by the NIH and its overall impact and importance across the entire field of biomedical research. Additional goals are to assist the ICs with the establishment of research priorities and the coordination of their programmatic efforts, thus minimizing redundancy and maximizing returns on NIH investments in BSSR.