Posted by: Neurobites | October 25, 2015

RECAP : #SFN Day 2 & 3



What the what eh? It’s been too long. I will eventually delve into my absence, but today is not the day.

I’m back.

I won’t make any grand promises and commitments, but I will say that I’ve missed this and that I will be shuffling things around to make  “this” work.

It was never you, it’s always been me.

Alrighty, with all the uncomfortable emotions out of the way, let’s just jump right in eh?

SFN!!! I LOOOOOVE SFN. I love the controlled chaos, the unbridled nerdy excitement of seeing your “journal baes” (my term for all the labs that I draw hearts on their papers.. I have issues, lets just move on), the giddiness of hearing a talk by one of your idols (Mary Dallman, ya’all, Mary.Dallman.) the predictably spotty Wifi, the frustration with lines and slow moving people, the illogical anger towards the SFN committee for having all your favourite topics at the same time.. Or worse, when they leave your poster session till the LAST DAY in the AFTERNOON while ALSO having your subject related talks on the same time… SERIOUSLY… THANKS for that SFN.. Thanks. I ain’t even mad (more on this pain later)

Anyway, Day 2.

There were 3 different lecture clusters that I NEEDED to go too.. Naturally.

They were:

Nanosymposium: Stress & Anxiety

Nanosymposium: Food Intake and Energy Regulation

Minisymposium: Sex-specific Mechanisms of Stress Susceptibility

I did a mental rock-paper-scissors and decided to head to the Food Intake and Energy Regulation.

There were a couple of cool talks, but the one that I want to talk about is the “Temporal dynamics of the arcuate feeding circuit”  By Yiming Chen from the University of California .

The talk covered the dynamics of AgRP and POMC neurons in vivo using fiber photometry.. Which just happens to be the coolest thing I’d seen that day.

COOL TECHNIQUE SIDE NOTE : Fiber photometry uses optical fibers and genetically encoded florescent calcium sensors to record the firing dynamics of neural projections… I know.So awesome. The animal is injected with a virus that expresses a calcium indicator after which it’s surgically implanted with a fibre optic stub that is connected a detection apparatus which in turn is connected to a computer.

The presentation itself was great. The authors were able to detect the rapid changes in neuronal activation that were dependent on the type of food presented (homeostatic or palatable). In addition, they also noted that sensory feedback occurs before the food is even consumed. The entire article can be found here.

(I’ll be writing a post on the neurobiology of food intake in the coming weeks and I will break down the interplay between different brain regions, neuronal populations, arousal states and food-related hormones.)

I had lunch with Katy Sukel, cause that’s my life now. Just having casual lunches with badass neurowriters.

I attended the Presidential Special Lecture- The Molecular Logic of Neural Circuits: Implications for Autism and Schizophernia with Dr. Thomas Christian Sudhof (who happens to be the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.. #nbd). His lecture walked us through the complicated foundations of the neural circuitry, specifically at a synaptic level that may be involved in, to a certain extent, neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophernia. I’ll admit, his talk was way out of my comfort zone, but it’s subject matter has been added for future posts. Cause, now I need to know everything about neurexins ;).

Day 3

Started off a little shaky. I forgot about the Blogging panel that was happening cause I was ironically blogging that morning. Showed up late to hear pearls of wisdom from Dr. Anne Churchland, Dr. Douglas Fields, Dr.Bethany Brookshire (<3) & Dr.Bradley Voytek

It was a great reminder to why I got into blogging in the first place.

Science is meant to be put in some impenetrable fortress where only a select few are able/allowed to access it. It’s meant to be shared, discussed, criticized, reevaluated but ultimately it’s meant to keep us insatiably curious about the wonders of the world *keyboard drop*

I spent the afternoon meandering around the poster sessions and exhibit hall.

#SFNBanter happened that evening. Dr.Becca and team, really outdid themselves this year, the location, the food, the drinks, the bartenders 😉 were all phenomenal. It’s amazing how much the community has grown over the years, I feel privileged to be amongst them. There were disposal cameras on every table,  I should’ve asked where those pictures are going to end up.. Cause I think I went around every table (interrupting random people’s convos, I apologize I don’t adult well) and took pictures… Oops.

That pretty much wraps up my #SFN15 Days 2 & 3. Days 4 & 5 coming right up.

I’ve missed you guys.



Posted by: Neurobites | April 28, 2013

Food Addicts Anonymous? Neuroloves,

I’ve decided to cover a topic that is near and dear to my heart. FOOD. Or rather food addiction. Anyone who has met me (or follows me on twitter or instagram) knows that I have a thing for food. By thing, I mean I am completely and unabashedly in love with food. Aside from certain dietary restrictions I pretty much face plant into any type of food.

Food addiction is a fascinating topic, in that it spans (in one form or another), neuroscience, biology, chemistry, sociology, psychology and anthropology.

The media has been all over  food addiction, from discussing chemicals “inserted” in the food to promote addiction, to questioning the “hardwiring” behind food addiction , to the social response to the term “food addict”

The common questions asked are: is there really such a thing as a food addict? Are food addicts a construct of the western society? Are the chemicals involved in food addictions mirror chemicals of other addictive substances? Would we expect a classification in a forthcoming version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (known as the DSM-some roman numeral)?

Naturally the question that I’m  interested in is does our neurobiology of food addiction mirror that of drug addiction?

Food consumption involves fascinating, at times convoluted, relationships between the peripheral nervous system (hormones secreted from your gut/fat cells, such as ghrelin and leptin) and the brain (each brain area has its own individualistic response). Therefore once you ingest a food, say a cookie, the sugar in the cookie illicit a spike in glucose within the periphery which then causes the release of opioids and dopamine (this is a grossly simplistic explanation). Literature has shown that chronic or unpredictable ingestion of sugar can lead to behaviours and neurochemical changes that are paralleled to those seen in drug addictions.

Basic behavioural neuroscience research (ie. the kind that uses animal models) has been used to further understand the similarities in the biological mechanisms between drug addiction and food addiction. Much like it is impossible to look at drug addiction from just a neurological point of view; food addiction must take into account dependent behavior and withdrawal symptoms. From the get go we know that different drugs illicit different biological changes and withdrawal symptoms.In parallel, we know that we all crave and respond and are motivated to seek out foods differently.

I will fight a bear for a chocolate bar, you may do so for a donut. As you can imagine, this can and does get messy.

Before we delve into the specificity of food addiction, we need to talk about the mechanisms that underlie drug addiction. An “addict” is someone who has become physically and mentally dependent on a substance of abuse. This substance can fall anywhere between prescribed narcotics to smoking to crack cocaine. Thanks to T.V. shows (reality TV anyone?), movies & Dr.Phil we are all familiar with the physiological, psychological and social consequences of the drug addiction. It has the potential to hijack ones life and run it to the ground.

Drugs of abuse actually do the same within the brain, they hijack your biological pathways that are responsible for the regulation of reward, motivation, decision-making, learning & memory. There are a number of different neural networks that are involved in different aspects of drug addiction they include the dopaminergic, serotonergic, opoid, and gabergic systems. The two systems that are at the forefront of food addiction are the dopaminergic system and the opioid system.

The one I will be talking about today is the dopaminergic system, simply cause I love dopamine (who doesn’t really?!?), there’s a lot of research already done (read: less work for me) AND more importantly its probably the world’s most famous neurotransmitter ;).

Seriously though, dopaminergic pathways project throughout the brain and interact with the other systems mentioned about. So it’s kinda central to everything addiction related.

The dopaminergic pathways (DA) in the midbrain (also known as the ‘reward’ pathways) are responsible motivating food consumption, reinforcement AND for the feelings of pleasure that are associated with eating (SIDE: those who derive no pleasure from eating…WHO ARE YOU?!?!?! You hurt my heart). The DA pathways can respond to food stimuli even when the body has been signaling that is satiated, causing food intake to morph from necessity for metabolic homeostasis to hedonic.

SIDE: It is important to note that the dopaminergic system is mediated by 5 distinct receptor types, all of which have independent functions. Therefore when I mention agonists or antagonist of DA they are usually administered to be specific to one or two of these receptors, dependent on what the researcher is looking at.

Researchers have found that the manipulation of food intake via the dopamine system was dependent on where dopamine agoinist (a drug which activates DA receptors)/antagonist (blocks DA receptors) were injected & there respective dose. They’ve also found that obese individuals have lower levels of DA receptors,that is they are less responsive to pleasure stimuli. This loss of pleasure may in turn cause those individuals to compensate, by excessive palatable food intake.  Therefore the argument being made by some researchers is that obese or overweight individuals may suffer from food addictions and that  “normal” “healthy weight” individuals do not (or at least should not).

So can food be addictive, or as the DSM frames it , can an individual develop food dependancy?

Based on the research,the answer would be yes, when looking at certain criteria pertaining to certain individuals responding to certain foods/stimuli.

It’s a thoroughly fascinating topic. I will be combing thorough the research surrounding food engineering and our response to it. Hopefully I can get something up for you guys in the coming weeks!

Till then stay neurofabulous!


P.S. I’ll be blogging at Scientopia on Tuesday’s in the next couple of weeks!

Good Reads


Marcia Levin Pelchat – Food Addiction in Humans

Nicole M . Avena — The study of addiction using animal models of binge eating
Wang, G., Volkow, N., Thanos, P., & Fowler, J. (2009). Imaging of Brain Dopamine Pathways Journal of Addiction Medicine, 3 (1), 8-18 DOI: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e31819a86f7

Posted by: Neurobites | April 26, 2013



We keep doing this to you..We are here, then we’re not. We promise and we break those promises..We are terrible human beings, but then again we are grad students..Therefore WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY OF OUR ACTIONS!

I should probably mention we blogged at Scientopia a few weeks back about heartbreak (we are romantics)  and I ranted about Women in Stem ..Sci hooked us up cause she’s a queen 😉  It was all very exciting! We might be doing it again in a couple of weeks, but this time I will give you guys a heads up.

Another piece of news we need to share with you is with regards to us. Harry is breaking up with us….It’s not us, I assure you, its him… Harry has decided to take a “sabbatical” from blogging for an indeterminate amount of time. His words not mine. Now, you may be concerned that perhaps I did something to Harry or that he has met his untimely demise… Rest assured. I have provided photographic evidence that he is alive well, albeit slightly disheveled. 


I know you are all heartbroken and will miss his long winded, pompous, scientifically dense posts..But I promise I will bring him back, not necessarily willingly, but he will be back. I am just giving him the illusion of choice;) So for the time being it’s just me and you guys. 

Next post up on Sunday! Neurobiology of Food Addiction!!

Stay awesome!


Posted by: Neurobites | December 2, 2012

#SFN12 Wrap up

This wrap up should have been posted up weeks and weeks ago. Apparently there is this nifty little feature on wordpress that the blogger puts in the date of the post, if they want to post it at a later date. … I had set it on Oct.23 2013. That’s right folks. 2013.  Hot mess. I guess this feature is for bloggers who actually have posts done weeks in advance….

Ahahahahahahahhahah Too cute.
Right. Well. Moving right along, please enjoy the final post of SFN and New Orleans.

AH. The talks & nanosymposiums that I wish I had a clone to go to at #sfn12 (agian, bioengineers. Get on it please)
If you guys have run across a blogger who had covered any of these talks or an article please let me know puh-lease 🙂

1) The Impact of Neuroscience on Society: The Neuroethics of ‘Smart Drugs’
B. J. SAHAKIAN; Dept Of Psychiatry, Univ. of Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge, United Kingdom 
2) My Life as a Rolling Neurological ClinicC. CLOSE; Chuck Close Studio, New York, NY —-> Talk on the SFN youtube channel:)
3) Fred Kavli Public Symposium – The Societal Impact and Biology of the Overt and Hidden Dysfunctions Resulting From Traumatic Traumatic Brain Injuries.
ALL the talks in this symposium, concussions and I used to be pretty close in high school. Thanks alot rugby.
4) The Neural Basis of Consciousness: Recent Advances and Breakthroughs.Minisymposium
5) Integrative Approaches Utilizing Oxytocin To Enhance Prosocial Behavior: From Animal and Human Social Behavior to Autistic Social Dysfunction.Minisymposium
6) Measuring the Dynamics of Neural Circuits in Awake, Behaving Humans: Functional Connectivity Analyses of fMRI Data.Minisymposium
7)Dissection of CNS Circuitry Regulating Sleep and Arousal: Conditional Transgenics and Genetically Engineered Receptor-Channel Systems.Minisymposium
8)Neural Mechanisms of Reward, Motivation and Impulsivity.Nanosymposium
9) Early Life Stress and Behavioral Development.Nanosymposium
10) Nanotechnology.Nanosymposium
11) Stress Systems in Addiction and Affective Disorders.Nanosymposium
12) Emotion: Neural Mechanisms of Regulation.Nanosymposium
13) Brain Trauma: Animal Models and Human Studies I.Nanosymposium

Obviously SFN should just make the conference longer and the times more reasonable for me. They should take into account my eating habits & my roaming aimlessly patterns.

I’ve already told you guys how much I LOVED New Orleans people. I am now convinced that there is something in the water, while the locals kept warning me that I eventually will get someone who was rude,or surly or snobby…  I am gleeful to report that for 8 days and talking to tens and tens of people daily, AWESOME.

Therefore it is concluded that New Orleans is doing something right with not only raising gentalmen (opening my own doors when I got home was SO annoying) but also keeping such a “cool as a cucumber” phenotype 🙂 I’m a fan.

The majority of the people that I spoke to, we were never formally introduced. But there were a couple that I just have to mention

Clare from Merchant –> Merchant is a cafe located on 800 Common St. In the business district. A cute European style cafe serving coffee, wine, gourmet sandwichs & crepes. If you’re an architchture lover like me you will love the layout of this place.This is where I did all my Policy class readings, majority of the blog posts and had coffee. And it was some damn good coffee. I got custom made crepes (see previous NOLA post for proof, it was more delicious then it looks) I got the gossip of the area and I felt like I was at home. I think I pretty much met everyone who works there,  and I can guarantee that every single one them is lovely. I actually did an interview with Clare before I left, all about how the cafe came to be and how she came to work but my tablet naturally decided to reformat itself. Next time I’m writing things on paper. Anyway, I simply adored Clare, she was so sweet when dealing with crazy sleep deprived Rim 😉

Trevor Maron street artist — > I met Trevor during one of my walks back from beingets (yes we have already established I had/have a problem) he had his art just casually leaning agianst the fence of Jackson Square. If you want to see Southern Charm at its best, Please Please go to talk him. He is not only beautiful and charming but his passion about art and life is absolutely addictive. He has an extremely distinctive style, and the way he talks about his characters within his work is as if he has spoken to them himself.

He painted the above seemlessly while chatting with me. Unreal.

I think it’s safe to assume that New Orleans left quite an impression on me. I’m already thinking of going back 🙂

Next post coming right up, The Adolescent Brain!!

As always stay nerdfabulous,

Posted by: Neurobites | October 23, 2012

#SFN12 Day 4 & Day 5

Lovers, Day 4 of SFN started bright and early, one last run through the streets of the French Quarter, a quick stop in, at what became as my favorite coffee spot (more on that in the final post of of NOLA). Then off to the conference centre.

The day’s Nanosymposium was called

Mood Disorders: Stress and Animal Models of Depression

Another session full of presentations from labs that I ogle/stalk and love:)! Some of the talks that I really enjoyed, I won’t go into details of each of the talks, since alot of them run within the same field that I am therefore, I don’t want to unleash the GEEK Rim on you. Trust me, shes a terrifying creature. So just the titles and the presenter, if you like one topic more then the other and want to talk about it with background, let me know! You have been warned;)

β2-subunit containing nicotinic receptors in the amygdala-prefrontal cortex axis mediate stress-resilience and depression-like behaviors in mice Presented by Y. S. Mineur

Vulnerability to chronic social stress and its association with cocaine-related behaviors in female rats Presented by A. SHIMAMOTO

Animals exhibiting strong dominant and submissive phenotypes as models of personality and mood disorders  Presented by A. PINHASOV

Dietary supplementation with DHA improves depression-like behaviors that emerge during puberty.Presented by M. J. WEISER

Role of deltaFosB in the prefrontal cortex in CCK responses and vulnerability to stress Presented by V. F. VIALOU

After harrassing people on the poster floor, I spent the afternoon doing homework (sad state of affairs I tell ya).

SooooOooOooO about #SFN12 day 5... There were talks that I wanted to go too, posters I wanted to see..However, I made the decision to join my lab on a swamp tour. During #sfn11 I attended the majority of the talks, and posters on my itenerary..So I didn’t get to experiance Washington much at all,although I did get a chance to spend a couple of hours at the National Geographic headquarters (HIRE ME HIRE ME!!!).  I decided to follow the advice of many veterans of SfN and actually enjoy the city I’m in and do social things with you know..people.. So I did.  We saw alligators! Alligators who love marshmellows!!

This is Drew, he was getting acquainted with Harry while I was tweeting;)

After the tour I made a mad dash through the French Quarter for last minute gifts, then off to the airport!

The conference was fantastic the city unreal and the people on both fronts were incredible. There were some talks that I didn’t get to go to due to schedualling or the fact that I was making friends with gators. I’ll be making a separate post talking about the talks I wish I’d seen and another one just summing up the experience in NOLA:)

As always

Stay neurofabulous


Posted by: Neurobites | October 22, 2012


Ah #sfnBanter.

Where online blogging/tweeting personalities are thrown together with free drinks and food. The brain child of @Doc_Becca, hosted this year by the social queen herself and @Neuropolarbear (who I didn’t get the chance to meet) was a success, if you equate a large number of individuals in a designated space as a measure of success for a party.

We blogged about #sfnBanter last year in Washington, you remember, how Harry convinced me that the best way to meet people at a party was to simply be a wall flower (why do I even listen to him is besides me). Lucky for him Doc_Becca took pity on the likes of us and introduced us to people..

This year went a little differently.

First of all. I was abandoned by Harry. Really there is no other way to put it. You may have noticed a post he put up last week brushing off this incident by saying he was supporting our lab member who won a travel award (we are all very proud of him, the kid is going places). Never mind that there were at least 9 other people who were there supporting him… I did tell him he can go, but he should have insisted on coming with me, that’s what teammates are for..The jerk.

Moving right along..

I ended up sauntering over to the #sfnBanter meeting place by my onesies, no biggie I’m an adult (let me just have this one k?) I can mingle and be social with other adults. And I did. Thank the lord that Neuroscientists are a social group, or at least become more social as drinks are being ingested.

I reconnected with some awesome people (@Doc_Becca, @Scicurious, @Katysukel) I also had the pleasure of meeting some new neuroloves the following are their twitter names & blogs if they blog:)




@bam294     –> website is unavailable, besides I think it’s just a manual for torturing people:P


@scitrigrrl    –> who may be too cool for blogging..

@mikaelmitchell –> Who works for the dudes who were footing the tab Frontiers




I hope I didn’t forget anyone, please let me know! I am typing this while trying to finish my Policy Presentation on Nanomaterials..Don’t ask..Really just don’t.

Oh and like last year I spotted  ( @mocost , @noahWG, & @bradleyvoytek) but rather then be a normal person and go introduce myself I simply creeped them then just chickened out. I used to be so brave, I think grad school has made me into a coward or worse yet turned me shy..ugh..

I think that next year we should have nametags, everyone knows who we are, we are not exactly using mysterious pseudo’s and our pics are up..But for those who do go incognito online, I think you should have nametags that can just have a sticker picture of your avatar..I am going to purpose this to Doc-Becca..

All in all, it was great fun meeting the people who you love/creep online in person!

Can’t wait for next year:)!

Stay neurofabulous lovers,


Posted by: Neurobites | October 22, 2012

#SFN12 Day 3

Day three of SFN.
Nanosymposium in Hedonic/Reward Circuits and Feeding Mechanisms 1.
How could you not go to a series of talks named that?!?! I loved the entire series.
But man it was fast!
I say either give them more time or tell the speakers to limit their knowledge bombs down to a reasonable number…
A highlight of the talks that I really enjoyed;

Divergent circuitry underlying food reward and intake effects of ghrelin: dopaminergic VTA-accumbens projection mediates ghrelin’s effect on food reward but not food intake. Presented by K.P. Skibicka  –> Yes I know the title has ghrelin in it and yes it was one of the main reasons I wanted to go see it..I am biased.
The series of studies presented attempted at investigating the role of ghrelin in a motivational aspect, as in how hard would the animals would be willing to work for sugar water. They looked at the VTA and the NaC, desrcribing the responses that these areas exhibited in relation to the experimental design.

Obesity alters dopamine reward system: Importance of critical developmental periods and sex differences. Presented by J.Carlin
This talk was focused on the exposure of High fat, low carb diet to the experimental subjects at different timepoints of their life span.What was cool and relevent about these studies that both genders were looked at. They found that dopamine gene recovery is depedent on sex, brain region and time of high fat diet exposure.

There was one other talk that completely took me by surprise as to how much I enjoyed it, it was  Sensing satiety in the fruit fly brain . Presented by A.-H. POOL. Usually I’m not an insect person, and by usually I mean I never read any research done on insects or that field. However, after this presentation I might start doing so. I’m thinking a special blog post about this topic once I hunt (i.e. email) down this dude and grill him about his research. It’s pretty cool stuff! He basically was looking for what neurons within the fruit fly was required for sensing satiety. More on this topic in another post.

Finally, that afternoon I had every intention of covering the Larry Abbott special talk, however, enviorment situations prevented that.
The guys sitting behind me wouldn’t stop talking, I tried smiling at them, glaring, telling them to please use their presentation voices ie. NOT TALK.
Nothing worked. I had previously made a concious decision not to drop kick anyone during the meeting, no matter how annoying they were. So I did the polite thing and changed seats.. But alias,  there was a child. What are the chance that a stroller will be placed right beside me at a Neuroscience conference? I thought that chances were pretty slim. The child ,of course, starts crying.  I get up move agian, set up my tablet take out my phone to illuminate the keyboard as it turns on (that hall was super dark) only to have an attendent to scold me for using photography. I blame Apple for making people think PHOTOS when they see an iPhone…
I took all this in philisophically and decided that the universe did not want me to see the lecture, so I just left… I’m sure the Sfn Youtube channel will upload the talk in the coming weeks. I will make sure to link it here. I am such a sucker for computational neuroscience, anything with numbers and bubble diagrams with a million lines with seemingly unnessecarily complex formulas make me happy..

Anyway, I made up the afternoon by harassing more poster presenters:)
As always, stay neurofabulous,

Posted by: Neurobites | October 16, 2012

Pep Talk

You know that feeling where you need to be in more then one place at once? That has happened to me repeatedly at #sfn12, talks that are schedualed at the same time, superstar lectures at the same time as their lab’s superstar posters..It’s rough just trying to make decisions. I’m pretty decisive when it comes to my coffee (black, anything else and you’re just being a princess) and food (I think I’ve mentioned before that my ghrelin levels are out of whack eh?)
Anyway. This weekend I experianced the aforementioned feeling in a big way.

If you follow me on my personal twitter you would already know that I am involved with the Women in Science and Engineering at my University, where this weekend they ran Go Eng Girl, this event consists of workshops for girls & their parents in Engineering. I LOVE these workshops! LOVE LOVE LOVE. If I wasn’t so infatuated with Neuroscience I would be in Engineering in a heartbeat:) So I missed that, cause as ya’ll know I’m in New Orleans..

I’ve also been involved with the coordination of another very different type of event, Ottawa Fashion Week (OFW). I know I know I know. I get alot of weird looks about this one, and to be honest I don’t overtly advertise my involvement with them. Simply because I hate explaining that people don’t need to be interested in just one thing. Anywhooo OFW weekend ran last weekened as well.

Just looking at the photo updates on their respective twitterfeeds/facebook/websites/gloating emails (you know who you are) it made me realize how incredibly lucky I am to be doing what I love with some of the most inspiring people anyone would have the pleasure to meet.

I get alot of flack for doing too much, for being everywhere. People who matter to me may think I lack commitment, that I need to hone my skills in one area since I am a PhD student. They do have legitmate point, I mean at some point your body just say “Baby, I ain’t running another mile no matter how many cupcakes you promise me” (the body sucks that way, engineers where are my super robotic cells that keep going and going?!?!)  I’m trying to work on finding my healthy medium. Eventually;)

I guess what I want to say, without getting unnecessarily emotional (awkwaaaard) , just do you. If you love what you do, the hours that you put in won’t matter, the sacrafices won’t be dwelled on, the criticisms can be brushed aside (after much practice), and the experiances you get will be unmeasurable. Just remeber at the end of the day you live once, it’s your legacy your’re leaving behind. Make it count.

I promise Neuroscience will be in the next post!
Stay ridiculously amazing!

Posted by: Neurobites | October 16, 2012

An evening with the SfN Travel Award Winners

Good morning friends,

Last night my partner Rim and I utilized the power of teamwork to cover more ground.  The path I chose was the small reception held for winners of the Travel Award, among whom there was one of our own.  The free food and drinks were also biasing me, but I can hardly be faulted for that, can I?

While I had my own selfish reasons for being there, I can’t deny that it’s been rather humbling to be in the presence of so many young folks with so much potential.  I recently attended a small reception for local SfN chapters, and our own Ottawa chapter was again represented.  So many chapters around the world are doing great work, spreading the word of neuroscience across their respective domains.  If you have the opportunity, volunteer for an SfN related event such as brain awareness week, the brain bee, or something of that sort!  You certainly won’t regret it.


Posted by: Neurobites | October 16, 2012

SFN day 2

My neuroloves,

SFN day 2 started off right! Perfect coffee, semi-perfect run and just the right amount of healing of the blisters.

My morning was spent in a Nanosymposium : Matter of life and death: Establishing and Maintaining in Brain & Behavior throughout the life span. All the talks within this block were simply awesome.

Sam Weiss presented  Hormonal regulation of adult neurogenesis in mate preference and paternity, where he spoke about social interaction behaviour, paternal behaviour and neurogensis
His talk inspired me to write a future post about phermones.

Following him was Nancy Forger whose talk  Creating the sexually differentiated nervous system: hormonal mechanisms of cell death articulated the role of testosterone in both the development and the pruning of the sexually dimorphic brain. She also introduces the Brain Atlas of Cell Death that her post-doc did (his name is Todd Ahren, if you are interested in using his atlas shoot him an email!)

Within this block I developed a serious lady neuroscientist crush on Liisa Galea who spoke about Steroid hormones and hippocampal neurogenesis during pregnancy and motherhood.If you ever get an oppertunity to hear this woman speak, do it. Not only is she charming and articulate, she is hilarous and her science, while terrifying to some (me me me), is actually quite fascinating.

Following lunch I spent the afternoon just chilling in the poster hall. By chilling I mean going around harrassing people and chirping them about their poster colour choices. Our lab dominated the UU section under Nutrient, Hormonal and Metabolic Signals…They looked pretty darn good and I am totally not biased 😉

I also got the oppertunity to be smuggled into the Media Social by the gorgeous Katy Sukel (author of Dirty Minds, shit disturber and generally just an amazeballs person). I had the pleasure of meeting one of our long time follower Di and a lovely reporter named Lauren.

SFN day 2 wrapped up for me with some Public Policy readings then some more Jazz music awesomness on Frenchmen St.  NOLA is becoming a distruption of my circadian rhythms 😛
As always, stay neurofabulous!

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