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Environmental Factor, December 2013

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NIEHS scientists present research at neuroscience meeting

By Jacqueline de Marchena

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Research from NIEHS was showcased at the 43rd annual meeting (http://www.sfn.org/annual-meeting/neuroscience-2013)  of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Nov 9-13 in San Diego.

Researchers from the Institute joined more than 30,000 international scientists participating in a fast-paced schedule that included poster presentations, symposia, and special lectures. This large, yearly meeting fosters interdisciplinary discussion and encourages the development of treatments for neurological disorders.

Discovering the anatomical connectivity of cells within the nervous system was the focus of three SfN Presidential Special Lectures highlighting the importance of this area of research. The lectures described the use of computer-assisted image acquisition methods to create a connectome, or wiring diagram, of the brain.

“By uncovering the connectome of the nervous system, we can better understand neurological disorders that result from aberrant brain connections,” said Jeff Lichtman, M.D., Ph.D., Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, during his SfN Presidential Special Lecture.

Fostering discourse between neuroscientists

NIEHS Laboratory of Neurobiology lead researchers Jerry Yakel Ph.D., Serena Dudek Ph.D., David Armstrong Ph.D., and Patricia Jensen Ph.D., all had postdoctoral fellows presenting ongoing research projects.

“I gained insight from other researchers, while presenting my poster, and I was also able to attend a lot of talks and special lectures that gave a great overview,” said Fengxia Mizuno, Ph.D., research fellow in the Membrane Signaling Group, headed by Armstrong.

“The [SfN] meeting provided wonderful opportunities for me to discuss my work with renowned scientists,” said Maile Henson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Synaptic and Developmental Plasticity Group, headed by Dudek. “I also learned about cutting-edge research in neuroscience, and networked with my peers and future colleagues,” added Henson.

An opportunity for professional development

The SfN annual meeting sponsors a myriad of career development lectures, workshops, and socials, to assist scientists at all career stages.

Scientists interested in pursuing a career in academic research can benefit from attending seminars on grant witting and publishing, while others can explore a variety of career options, including science writing, program management, and academic administration.

SfN also supports its members, between annual meetings, by offering a wealth of information about neuroscience-related jobs, conferences, and outreach opportunities on their website.

(Jacqueline de Marchena, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award fellow in the NIEHS Developmental Neurobiology Group.)




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