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  1. Human Long-Term Memory: Encoding & Retrieval Based on my personal research interests, I was quite excited to attend this nanosymposium on encoding and retrieval in human memory. Although I tell people that I study sleep and memory, the Paller lab is really a memory lab that somehow wandered into the interesting land of memory consolidation during sleep. Most of my training has focused on the memory aspect which continues to fascinate me to this day, so I was excited to see what new insights I could glean from these talks. For better or worse though, I had a lunch that ran late and sadly missed the first two talks of the session. However, I was thrilled to hear the rest of the talks. After staying for the rest of the session, I decided that I have two favorites. The first is “Distinct cortical systems reinstate content and context information during memory search.” This presentation focused on a key element of episodic memory, contextual reinstatement. One of my major complaints with many memory tasks is that they often chose simplistic designs that are easy to test, but don’t match up to real world complexity. I thought the way James Kragel tested memory and then used intracranial recordings to understand the network dynamics of memory reinstatement was a clever way to disentangle semantic and episodic memory. My second favorite, which is perhaps no surprise considering my background, was titled “Sleep consolidates memory through diverging effects on automatic and cognitive emotional responses in children.” Common wisdom has long shown that naps are an important part of a child’s daily routine. But researcher Katharina Zinke wanted to put such traditions to the test. She & her collaborators tested whether sleep compared to wake helped kids (age 8-11 years) consolidate negative pictures over neutral ones. She tested the children after a 10-hour delay of either sleep or wake and found that sleep did indeed lead to better memory consolidation than wake. Moreover, REM sleep theta power correlated with the preference of negative emotional stimuli over neutral images. Although after sleep, the images were rated as less negative than before sleep or after a period of wake. It’s nice to see science upholding the common sense instructions of our parents. Sleep helps children process memories such that they remember the episode with out the intense emotional baggage from the event itself. Sadie Witkowski PhD Candidate
  2. Ever heard of a vomeronasal system? If you answered no, you’re not alone. The vomeronasal system is apparently present in many animal species and is involved in relaying external signals to the main olfactory system. It is described as an auxiliary olfactory sense organ and derives its name fittingly from its location, which is near the vomer and nasal bones. I had no idea it existed before attending Dr. Catherine Dulac’s eye opening, or should I say nose opening lecture (admit it, you laughed). Dr. Catherine Dulac is a Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. To say she is highly decorated is an understatement, and I was fortunate enough to hear her talk at the Presidential Lecture Series during the SfN 2018 meeting. Catherine Dulac, PhD I’ve never thought much about the neurobiology of social behaviors, such as sex, aggression, and parenting. As it were, I study substance use disorders. However, Dr. Dulac’s presentation was fabulously engaging. My eyes were glued to the screen that projected part of her life’s work, as I watched her navigate effortlessly through taboo subjects that would later put her at odds with her fellow colleagues; I marveled at how she boldly challenged accepted views on male and female behavioral circuits and forced the endocrinology field to think about the possibility that the systems that make us “male” or “female” are a lot more complicated and intertwined than once believed. I don’t want to sound too much like a groupie, but I do want to emphasize that her “science story”, as I like to call them, was marvelously captivating and refreshing. One of the main points that lingered in my mind was the idea of the fluidity between sexes. The classical idea of gender development dictates that between 8-24 weeks of in utero development, there is a spike of testosterone that is present in males, but not females. There is another, smaller spike shortly after birth (sometime between birth and the first year) that is again, present in males, but not females. And after that, hormonal life is fairly uneventful until the onset of puberty. These early hormonal spikes wire the brain as “female” or “male”, and that’s the end of it, or so we thought. But Dr. Dulac posited a different take on the story. She offered that males may possess female-typical behavior circuits, revealing the possibility that there are “silent” nodes in the brain that possess the capability to make males more “female-like”, or rather, engage in female-specific behaviors. Further, there may be processes that exist to modulate these circuits that are triggered by environmental stimuli as well as internal cues. The idea may have sounded farfetched at the time, but was it really? We know there exists many, many examples of gender fluidity in the animal kingdom. Males and females of certain species can undergo a behavior switch, usually triggered by sexual maturation and parenting, that rewires their sex-specific social behaviors. As it were, remember that vomeronasal system? I didn’t just mention it to get your attention, although that was a clever little trick wasn’t it? The vomeronasal system is involved in gating sex-specific behaviors of both males and females. First, impairments in the vomeronasal systems resulted in males mounting both males and females, suggesting that the vomeronasal system is involved in discrimination of sexes (Stowers et al, 2002, Science). Second, females with impaired vomeronasal systems also displayed mounting behaviors with both males and females, which indicates that the vomeronasal system is involved in repression of male-like behaviors in females (Kimchi et al, 2007, Nature). Further, virgin male mice are known to be infanticidal towards foreign pups, but when male mice have pups with a female, over time they are no longer infanticidal and take on a parental role. Interestingly, when the vomeronasal system was genetically hindered, virgin mice took on a parental role towards pups that didn’t even belong to them (Wu et al, 2014, Nature). I think taken together, this drives a strong case for thinking about the neural networks that separate “male” from “female”, or more precisely, the networks that inherently program us to perform sex-specific roles/tasks, as more malleable than previously thought. I’ll stop here. I can’t stress enough that this is all really outside of my field, and I don’t want to butcher explaining the amazing science that Dr. Dulac has produced throughout her career. I also can’t stress enough how inspired I was by her. She presented ideas that, at the time, went against the accepted views on social behaviors and the hard-wiring of the male and female brains. Her fellow colleagues later had no choice but to respect her science as it became clear that she was a solid and steady force of great ideas and sound science practices combined. I do encourage everyone to explore other aspects of her work, including the molecular and spatial single-cell profiling technique she uses to fully characterize cell types. Thanks for reading, my fellow mad scientists. Brionna Davis-Reyes, PhD Candidate Blog: www.scienceandsarcasm.org Twitter: @bdavisreyes Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scienceandsarcasm/
  3. #SfN18 Day 3 Grass Lecture: A Series of Thoughts On Monday, the annual Grass Lecture took place, highlighting the work of a high-profile researcher chosen by SfN from within its own ranks. This year, the speaker was David Tank, who has co-directed the Princeton Neuroscience Institute since 2006. Before going to Princeton, he did research at Bell Labs, helping to develop and advance fMRI techniques. While at Princeton, his work has generally focused on how the brain internally represents and encodes its own experiences. His first studies at Princeton focused primarily on how the brain represents location. In 2009, he and his student Chris Harvey invented the first virtual reality environment for mouse experiments, keeping the mouse in place on a rolling ball while IMAX-style screens surrounding the mouse display images giving the impression of motion along a linear track. Using this technique, they were able to not just observe sequences of place cells firing in the hippocampus, but they achieved enough stability to do the first intracellular identification of a place cell while spiking, which helped show that these were actually cells, and not just small regions with similar activity. A mouse in the virtual reality environment. He did more work for a while expanding this task from a 1-dimensional line in virtual reality to a 2-dimensional environment, but soon he asked an even more interesting question: are these sequences of cells firing specific to location, or is it just one aspect of a more general phenomenon? To find the answer, they allowed mice to experience sound as well as place, playing a series of tones while the mouse navigated an environment. To their surprise, they found that certain cells in the hippocampus fired in sequence to tone as well as location, but the two populations seemed to sample from each other. In other words, the brain used the same method to track multiple modes of information over time: the map was not just spatial, but possibly cognitive. Next, they took this idea one step further and fully decoupled the task from physical location, relying solely on sound. Again, a sequence of tones would play, but the mouse would remain stationary at a lever, and had to push it when the tones reached a certain frequency, all the while recording how their brain cells’ activity changed. They found the same thing here as well: their brain also represented the tone as a sequence of activity across brain cells, just like it would represent a physical sequence in space. Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 4.14.37 PM.jpg1872×690 155 KB The sound-exclusive sequence task. Interestingly, this general purpose mapping can allow for the reverse to work as well. Sequences in space can actually get reconstructed from neural activity alone in a process known as manifold inference, based on what we know about how these sequences represent the external world. These inferred positions can then be compared to the animal’s real position throughout, and most of the time the two seem pretty similar. However, at certain points the two drift apart. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it may result from our representations coming from both an external and an internal state: when the external state dominates, the two remain similar, but when the internal state predominates, the two could drift apart. In fact, this drift may specifically represent the difference between our internal representation and external reality. The drift seems especially pronounced when mice get predictions wrong, where our external reality does not match how we represent it internally. Further, across many series of many activities, paths gradually diverge from each other as time goes on, but they generally return to the same point in the end. When an error is made, however, the paths do not return to the same point in the end, but the difference becomes even more pronounced instead. Overall, the brain seems to represent experiences as sequences of individual cells firing, regardless of what this experience actually is. This paradigm could provide a key to decoding the numerous mysteries of the brain, like how we observe the world around us or how to tell whether our internal representations are accurate. Such possibilities are immensely promising, and hopefully David Tank will have much more to show us for a long time to come. James Howe @jamesrhowe6
  4. Day 3 Nanosymposium Highlight: Connect-Seq Just after lunch on Tuesday, I watched a nanosymposium talk given by Naresh Hanchate, a postdoc in Linda Buck’s lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. There, he presented a new method he developed, which he called Connect-Seq. Connect-Seq visual summary. This method uses a combination of single cell RNA-sequencing and viral tracing to figure out which cells in one part of the brain connect to which cells in another. He was very interested in neurons in the amygdalo-piriform transition area (APir) innervating CRH neurons in the hypothalamus, which control stress hormone release after smelling an innately fearful scent, like trimethylthiazoline, an odor given off by foxes. To figure out the properties of these APir neurons, he specifically infected hypothalamic CRH neurons with a pseudorabies virus, which can actually travel backwards and infect their upstream neurons. Using microfluidic sorting, he was then able to isolate these cells into their own individual wells, and then he could perform RNA sequencing on these isolated single cells. This then allowed him to find the overall gene expression in each cell, creating a complete molecular map of each cell they isolated. This map showed a number of new and interesting things about these upstream cells that were previously unknown. The most interesting, by far, are the range of signaling molecules they use. Each cell does not simply express one neurotransmitter gene, as expected, but instead a wide range of different signaling molecules. These signaling molecules are not just GABA, glutamate, or the traditional neuromodulators like serotonin and dopamine. Instead, they include compounds like CART, vasopressin, adrenomedullin, and other obscure, poorly studied proteins. The implications of these results could be further-reaching than they may appear. Release of stress hormones may be less controlled by traditional signals from upstream neurons, but instead could result from less familiar methods that could provide fertile ground for future research, and could allow for a far richer understanding of both the intrinsic dynamics of stress and how we respond. James Howe @jamesrhowe6
  5. Day 2 Keynote: The Underlying Basis of Parenting and Socialization Sunday's events finally finished with a keynote lecture from Catherine Dulac, a distinguished professor and former chair of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard. Before becoming a professor, she studied pheromones at Columbia under Richard Axel (who advised my mentor as well). At Harvard, she has spent most of her career studying two topics that naturally dovetail with pheromones: social interaction and sex-specific behavior. I can hardly recount all the topics she covered in their true depth and breadth, and summarizing them while doing them justice is near-impossible. However, I can give the most important takeaways from her most impactful work over the years, which I will try (and likely fail) to do below. First, the vomeronasal organ (VNO) controls sex-specific behavior in mice. The VNO is a specialized structure in mice that allows them to smell pheromones, which animals emit as reproductive and social signals: for example, a female in heat attracts males by giving off specific pheromones, making them aware of their reproductive availability. These perceptions are dependent on one gene, TRP2, and its absence causes both males and females to lose their sex-specific behavior. Males will try to court and mate with other males, and females will attempt to mount other females. dwlogan_php6pJii4.jpg1600×1200 The vomeronasal organ. However, females will also stop lactating and lose their ability to care for their children, instead opting to kill their children, something males tend to do instead. This leads to another important insight. While males can only perform male-specific behaviors, females can do both. The vomeronasal organ ensures they act like females, but without it, they fall back on male behaviors. Second, actual control is exerted in the brain using just a few hormones. A hormone called oxytocin is required for females to prefer male mates, even if the vomeronasal organ works: if oxytocin signaling is lost, females lose their preference for males, no matter what. Further, if oxytocin signaling is manipulated in males, their mate choices change as well. Sexual and mating behavior also depends on LHRH, a hormone controlling the reproductive system. When LHRH activity changes, so does mating behavior as well. Third and finally, these functions can be localized to a few regions of the brain. Later research clarified that oxytocin is required in the medial amygdala for these effects, not the entire brain. All of the required hormones were also released from the hypothalamus: an understanding of the hypothalamus could then allow understanding of these behaviors as well. Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 3.30.07 PM.jpg1850×1392 1.46 MB A map of the median preoptic hypothalamus using MERFISH. As a result, she has most recently been studying the molecular and spatial composition of the hypothalamus. Using single cell RNA-sequencing, her lab was able to identify all of the major cell types in the median preoptic hypothalamus, which controls the release of many different hormones. They then used MERFISH, a massively multiplexed RNA detection method, to look at these cells spatially. Through these methods, they were able to produce this complete map of this part of the hypothalamus. Over the course of Dulac’s career, she has contributed so much to neuroscience, in behavior, anatomy, and molecular biology. Her lecture serves to make this more salient than ever, while communicating these key findings in one of the most effective manners I have ever seen. James Howe @jamesrhowe6
  6. IMG_20180506_171508_891 1.jpg1080×1080 233 KB Hey there! I am a scientist (duh), and while I certainly don’t declare “Eureka!” after a new discovery, nor do I have crazy white hair (which actually sounds more like a wizard), I do do (tee hee) a little neuroscience. And even though wizardry sounds much more exciting, so much so that I would certainly be open to replacing lab coats with a snazzy wizard hat and long beard, I would argue that I do some pretty awesome work in the addiction sciences field that would put any practical wizard to shame. In fact, I am a graduate candidate at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX, and I currently work in the Center for Addiction Research (CAR). We have a great team at the CAR, which has initiatives rooted in outreach, research, and novel therapeutics. I am super excited about sharing my work at the 2018 SfN annual meeting, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on my blog themes this year which are (drum roll please), theme B (Neural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia) and theme H (Motivation and Emotion). And the crowd goes wild! I hope you all enjoy my posts, and if you see my at the meeting, don’t be shy! I’d love to hear your feedback. Brionna Davis-Reyes Graduate Candidate Neuronline: @bddavisr Twitter: @bdavisreyes LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brionna-davis-reyes-2804992b/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scienceandsarcasm/ Website: www.scienceandsarcasm.org Redbubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/brionnadavis?asc=u
  7. 18555968_10154641381361527_2346768722613592822_n.jpg960×960 170 KB Hello everyone! My name is Prabarna Ganguly and I am a Behavioral Neuroscience PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study the effects of early life stress on neuroinflammation and its associated effects on adolescent drug-addiction behavior. If you want to learn more about how stress can induce vulnerability to addiction, come see me and my poster (499.19) on Tuesday, Nov 6 between 10-12pm! This year I am excited to cover all the exciting work being done in the field of development and cognition. Specifically, I will be highlighting research on stem cells and reprogramming, autism, as well as human cognition and behavior. Cheers and looking forward to making great SFN connections in sunny San Diego! Prabarna Ganguly PhD Candidate Brenhouse Lab Northeastern University Neuronline: @ganguly_p Twitter: @prabarna Website: prabarnaganguly.com Email: prabarna@gmail.com
  8. Cognition & History/Education Blogger: Sadie Witkowski sadieheadshots2018-144.jpeg2455×3437 2.22 MB Hi Everyone! I’m a PhD candidate in the Brain, Behavior, & Cognition area of Psychology at Northwestern University. I study sleep & memory under Dr. Ken Paller. In particular, I’m interested in how memory is processed during sleep and how the neural mechanisms differ across memory types. If you want to know more about my research, you can find me at my poster! Of course, I’m also interested in a myriad of topics beyond memory & will be blogging about them over the course of the conference. In particular, I will be reporting on poster and symposia talks about cognition & education/history. I’m especially excited to highlight some of the research on science communication within neuroscience. Who knows, maybe I’ll manage some interesting cross-pollination of the cognition & education themes. I hope you follow along on my SfN adventures! Sadie (Sarah) Witkowski PhD Candidate Cognitive Neuroscience Lab Northwestern University Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/phdrinking Website: sadiewit.com Neuronline: @Sadie_Witkowski Twitter: @SadieWit or @PhDrinking
  9. Making good decisions requires memory. Take for example, the hangover (maybe that some of us are experiencing today after the reunion with some of our favorite science colleagues). We remember that the previous heavy night of drinking brought on this unpleasant state. Therefore, in the next several days, we may make the decision to have a few less cocktails – inevitably the better decision. How is it that we learn from such experiences to make good decisions? Dr. Daphna Shohamy and her colleagues at Columbia University in New York, NY are exploring just that. In her lecture today, Using Memory to Guide Decisions, Dr. Shohamy discussed how it is not a singular brain region, but rather regions of the brain interacting together that actually support learning and memory and guide our decision-making processes. The striatum is one such brain region that supports learning and memory, specifically procedural and habitual memory. For example, the ability to learn and remember how to ride our bicycle (an action that is easy to do even if we haven’t attempted it in a long time) is dependent on the striatum. Additionally, our habitual behaviors, like remembering the route we take home on a daily basis is dependent on the striatum. The striatum learns over time, in a gradual way, and it assesses the average value or outcome to determine the best decision to take. The problem, Dr. Shohamy pointed out, is that most decisions don’t work this way. In this ever-changing world, we are faced with experiences that we have never encountered before. We need to be adaptive. So, how is it, that we can make good decisions when faced with a new problem? Enter the hippocampus, a flexible brain region involved in many cognitive processes including episodic memory, spatial navigation, and prospection or the imagining of future events. The hippocampus accomplishes all of these tasks by binding elements of both time and space, an area of extensive research that people like Drs. György Buzsáki and Howard Eichenbaum have been studying for decades. Dr. Shohamy proposes that to understand how we make good decisions, we must look at the interaction between learning, memory, and decision-making. Traditionally, we’ve examined learning and memory systems in isolation, but Dr. Shohamy proposes that rather than looking at distinct systems, we should think about the interaction between these systems – in this case, the connection between the striatum and hippocampus. To investigate the interaction between these systems, Dr. Shohamy uses a variety of different methods. First, she utilizes sophistical behavioral tasks. Second, she uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to probe the regions of the brain that are activated during behavioral performance. Third, she studies these things in patients who have damage to the striatum and/or hippocampus. Using these strategies, Dr. Shohamy sought to determine whether you can link what people are learning to the way they make choices? It turns out that the answer is yes, and she showed this in several different paradigms including reinforcement and associative learning tasks! By using fMRI during the entire learning and decision-making process, you can see what areas in the brain are activated not only during the decision-making process but also during the learning that led to a particular decision. At a behavioral level, she found that memory for an event guides decision-making. At the level of the brain, she found that the hippocampus and striatum work together to support learning and decision-making. In addition, the activation of these brain regions can actually be used to predict the behavioral outcome or decision. The Shohamy lab is also exploring how these decision making process are modulated in different populations and during different stages of development. For example, new work in the lab is showing that activation of the hippocampus during these decision-making tasks may be even more highly engaged during adolescents, a time period when reward processing is evolving. In additions, individuals who have compromised dopaminergic systems, such as those with Parkinson’s disease, show impairments in these decision-making tasks, with improvements coming on board when dopamine agonists are administered. Finally, in decisions that are more difficult to make (such as making a decision between two items that have a similar value (e.g., do I want a candy bar or an ice cream cone?)), the decision takes a longer time because the brain regions involved experience greater levels of activation. This work excitingly shows that we use our past experiences to inform the decisions that we make in new situations. It also importantly highlights the idea that when thinking about learning, memory, and decision-making, we should study how the memory systems of the brain interact with one another rather than examining them in isolation. Julia C. Basso, PhD www.juliabasso.com @ExercisingBrain
  10. How could sleep, aging and myelin be related? Sometimes its good to get out of your wheelhouse. Neurone012-361x680.png361×680 Image source Two posters presented today explored myelin modifications at different life stages. In the first, the effect of chronic sleep loss during adolescence was found to decrease the thickness of myelin in the Corpus Callosum and the Lateral Olfactory Tract. Adolescence is a key time for myelin development which continues in the human brain until our late 20’s. This poster made me wonder what I did to my brain during those late nights I spent playing video games during my own adolescence? What is interesting about this finding on myelin in chronic sleep loss is that previous work showed sleep loss suppressed myelin-related genes. Suggesting at a molecular level an importance for sleep in myelin maintenance. Next steps should better characterize this relationship and how it may relate to adolescent development. 159835-full.jpg800×539 The second poster moved from me the young brain to the aged brain. This poster examined ERK1/2 activation in oligodendrocytes, which had previously been shown to enhance myelination. The role of ERK1/2 has been studied before at a molecular signaling level, so connecting this to cellular and behavioral function can help integrate our understanding of brain function. Further, as we age brain function decreases including affecting memory. Would sustained activation of ERK1/2 in oligodendrocytes affect cognitive decline? From a young age, mice had oligodendrocytes trigger sustained ERK1/2 signalling which persisted as long as the oligodendrocyte lived. Behaviorally this led to an increase in contextual fear memory in aged mice only. However, it remains unclear how to interpret this finding. Perhaps over time some oligodendrocytes die with aging, and it could be that those with sustained ERK1/2 activation survive longer. Therefore in old mice with their persisting ERK1/2 activation oligodendrocytes, these cells could help facilitate this behavior. This work is preliminary and needs additional experiments to explore this interpretation. Both these posters introduced me to new concepts on the shared topic of white matter in the brain. I can’t wait to see what new info tomorrow brings! Patrick E. Steadman, MSc PhD Candidate, Frankland Lab, The Hospital for Sick Children MD-PhD Student, University of Toronto Neuronline: @patrick.steadman Twitter: @pesteadman Blog: patricksteadman.ca/blog
  11. Hippocampal subregions growing old together To understand and remember our experiences, we need to think both big and small. We need to keep track of our spatial location at broad levels ("what town am I in?") all the way down to precise levels ("what part of the room am I in?"). We need to keep track of time on scales from years to fractions of a second. We need to access our memories at both a coarse grain ("what do I usually bring to the beach?") and a fine grain ("remember that time I forgot the sunscreen?"). Data from both rodents and humans has suggested that different parts of the hippocampus keep track of different levels of granularity, with posterior hippocampus focusing on the fine details and anterior hippocampus seeing the bigger picture. Iva Brunec and her co-authors recently posted a preprint showing that temporal and spatial correlations change along the long axis of the hippocampus - in anterior hippocampus all the voxels are similar to each other and change slowly over time, while in posterior hippocampus the voxels are more distinct from each other and change more quickly over time. In their latest work, they look at how these functional properties of the hippocampus change over the course of our lives. Surprisingly, this anterior-posterior distinction actually increases with age, becoming the most dramatic in the oldest subjects in their sample. Iva1.png2316×474 86.8 KB The interaction between the two halves of the hippocampus also changes - while in young adults activity timecourses in the posterior and anterior hippocampus are uncorrelated, they start to become anti-correlated in older adults, perhaps suggesting that the complementary relationship between the two regions has started to break down. Also, their functional connectivity with the rest of the brain shifts over time, with posterior hippocampus decoupling from posterior medial regions and anterior hippocampus increasing its coupling to medial prefrontal regions. Iva2.png1768×340 234 KB These results raise a number of intriguing questions about the cause of these shifts, and their impacts on cognition and memory throughout the lifespan. Is this shift toward greater coupling with regions that represent coarse-grained schematic information compensating for degeneration in regions that represent details? What is the “best” balance between coarse- and fine-timescale information for processing complex stimuli like movies and narratives, and at what age is it achieved? How do these regions mature before age 18, and how do their developmental trajectories vary across people? By following the analysis approach of Iva and her colleagues on new datasets, we should hopefully be able to answer many of these questions in future studies.
  12. Health and wellness at SfN Discover any new and exciting ways to help improve the health of the brain? Message me to have your work highlighted! Julia C. Basso, PhD www.juliabasso.com @exercisingbrain
  13. Dance Image.jpg960×543 49.3 KB My name is Julia Basso, and I am a post-doctoral associate in the Suzuki Laboratory in the Center for Neural Science at New York University. As a neuroscientist and dancer, I am interested in the body-brain connection and specifically how we can use our bodies to enhance our cognitive capacities. During the conference, I will be focusing on motivation, emotion, and cognition (Themes G and H). I look forward to reporting on all of the new and exciting research being conducted on ways to improve our brain function and physiology! Julia C. Basso, PhD, CYT Post-doctoral Research Associate New York University Neuronline: @juliabasso Twitter: @ExercisingBrain Website: www.juliabasso.com Blog: www.fasttwitchgrandma.com
  14. patrick.steadman

    SfN 2017 blogger: Patrick Steadman

    Hi! I am one of the 2017 Society for Neuroscience Bloggers. I will be posting at Neuronline under the official bloggers tags and at my website. I will be writing about these two themes: G - Motivation and Emotion H - Cognition My background is in learning and memory, neuroimaging and computer analysis. I am interested in writing about engrams, neuronal circuits in neuropsychiatric disorders and how we are uncovering them using new techniques, and lastly the relationship between neuroscience and artificial intelligence. I’m in particular hoping to chat with graduate students and post-docs, getting their perspective and profiling their contributions. See you in November! Patrick E. Steadman, MSc PhD Candidate, Frankland Lab, The Hospital for Sick Children MD-PhD Student, University of Toronto Neuronline: @patrick.steadman Twitter: @pesteadman Blog: patricksteadman.ca/blog
  15. Motivation & Cognition Blogger: Geith Maal-Bared Hello, Neuronline contributors (and lurkers)! I’m a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto doing research on the neurobiology of motivation. In more specific terms, I study the neural mechanisms by which a formerly rewarding drug can become merely negatively reinforcing. I could go on and on about the specifics but if you’re curious, check out my talk on the last day of this year’s meeting! Over the course of the conference, I’m going to be blogging about some of the neat talks and posters in the areas of motivation and cognition. I usually gravitate toward research on the mechanisms of drug dependence, disordered eating, motivational circuitry, consolidation and reconsolidation. However, my blogs will not be limited to these topics and will cover any highlights within themes G and H. Geith Maal-Bared PhD Candidate van der Kooy Lab University of Toronto Neuronline: @GeithMB Twitter: @GeithMB Website: geithisms.com
  16. headshot4.JPG1218×1218 419 KB I am currently a postdoc at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, working with Uri Hasson and Ken Norman, and I will be starting my own research group next summer at Columbia. I study perception and memory for complex, everyday experiences, which I investigate by using naturalistic experiments (such as watching and recalling movies) combined with analysis tools using machine learning. I will be presenting a poster on how our prior knowledge about events shapes neural activity patterns during retrieval on Sunday morning. My SfN blogging will focus on Themes H: Cognition and I: Techniques, especially for human perception and memory. I hope to talk with presenters about both their specific work and what they predict about the future trends in their subfields. My personal blog Follow me @ChrisBaldassano
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