November 10

Neuroscience homecoming! SFN16 NeuWriter picks FTW!

This weekend we are lucky thousands of amazing brain scientists are coming to visit our hometown, the beautiful sunny San Diego. This annual autumn migration is the meeting of Society for Neuroscience with scientists coming from all over the world to share their research. Presentation topics cover almost anything and everything that could possibly relate to the brain, including some of the hottest topics like Zika virus, Alzheimer’s disease, and marijuana use. Our NeuWriters are here to highlight some of our favorite topics and share the latest emerging new findings in neuroscience.

Saturday, Nov 12

11am – 1pm “DIALOGUES BETWEEN NEUROSCIENCE AND SOCIETY – Global Mental Health and Neuroscience: Challenges and Opportunities

SDCC Ballroom 20

Speaker: Shekhar Saxena, The Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

In my lab we focus so much on how methamphetamine, alcohol, and other drugs of abuse change the brain, but we rarely talk about the role of substance abuse in society. I am really looking forward to learning how the latest neuroscience research can help shape policies surrounding substance abuse and other global mental health issues. I am currently exploring careers in public health and figuring out how my PhD in Neuroscience can be useful in the field of global mental health. -Melissa Galinato

1:00 – 3:00pm The Graduate School Fair

Sails Pavilion

This event will also take place from noon – 2 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. If you’re applying to graduate school, this is a great opportunity to meet representatives from over 80 programs!

3:00 – 4.30pm “Brain Awareness Campaign Event – Sharing the Magic of Brain Awareness


Speaker: Susana Martinez-Conde, Director of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience at State University of New York, Executive Producer of the Best Illusion of the Year Contest and co-author of the book “Sleights of Mind”.

The Brain Awareness Campaign is a worldwide celebration of the brain that brings together scientists and the community. It is a great opportunity to bring attention to brain science advances and to advocate for science funding. The Brain Awareness Week takes place during a week in March 13-17, 2017, but there are many ways in which you can contribute throughout the year. If you are passionate about the brain and/or have ideas on how to educate the public and promote brain science, come celebrate brain awareness and meet organizers from around the world! Also hear from Spanish neuroscientist Susana Martinez-Conde and recognize award winners from different brain science contests.  -Elena Vicario

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm “The RNA editing gene, Adar, suppresses sleep by regulating glutamatergic synaptic plasticity” Hall D, Poster Board PP4

Love sleep? Me too! Stop by if you want to chat with me about unraveling the genetics and circuitry of sleep using Drosophila as a model organism! -Nicole Hoffner

Sunday, Nov 13

8:30am – 9:40am “Bitten: Understanding and Modulating Mosquito Attraction to Humans

SDCC Ballroom 20

Speaker: Leslie Vosshall, Dept Neurogenetics & Behavior, Rockefeller Univ., New York, NY

Mosquitos are our deadliest foes, transmitting dangerous diseases when they feed on our blood causing many a global health crisis.  Perhaps by understanding the why and how of mosquitos’ attraction to humans, we can curtail our risk of being bitten.  This is the motivation behind Leslie Vosshall’s mosquito research program at the Rockefeller University.  I’m really excited to see the current stage of this research and where she is headed next. -Margot Wohl

8:30am – 11am “Neuroscience of Music



I was so excited to see this symposium on the schedule! It will be a welcome relief from the sea of research on Alzheimer’s Disease that I’ll inevitably be spending most of my time wading through at this conference. I was once part of an orchestra whose conductor used to tell us that music was a language, and that we should practice until we could play as though we were speaking fluent English. As far as the brain is concerned, however, the brain appears to process music in a unique way that we still have so much to learn about! This symposium will cover fascinating topics like music therapy, auditory learning, rhythmic processing, and the neurochemistry of musical perception and processing. -Caroline Sferrazza

11:00am – 12:00pm Role of the mouse premotor cortex in action generalization and goal-directed behavior. Hall B, Poster Board FFF12

This will be my first time at SFN, come stop by my poster and chat about habits and generalization with me! -Drew Schreiner

Monday, Nov 14

1:00 – 2:00pm  “Genetic targeting of APP in hippocampus demonstrates that synapses postsynaptic to neurons expressing APP are the earliest sites of injury” Poster, Halls B-H

Come talk to me about mice with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and how these could help better understand what’s going on in the brains of AD patients.  -Elena Vicario

9pm-??? I heard there’s a pretty cool party happening.

Tuesday, Nov 15

1:00 – 2:10pm “Cortical Circuits of Vision

Speaker: Massimo Scanziani, University of California San Francisco

Beloved ex-UCSD faculty Massimo Scanziani will discuss how different cell types and their interactions underlie vision in the mouse. He will highlight many recent discoveries as well as outstanding questions about the organization and function of sensory cortical circuits, forcing you to ask yourself, “but why?!?!” – Megan Kirchgessner

3pm – 5pm PUBLIC ADVOCACY FORUM Art, Music, and the Brain: How the Arts Influence Us from Youth to Maturity (p.30) Organizer: William Martin, PhD

I’m looking forward to this session, to having the chance to hear about the two most beautiful things coming together: arts and the brain. How creativity influences our lives and the importance of stimulating our brains with music and art across our life span. I can’t wait to hear what the experts have to tell us about. -Elena Blanco-Suárez

Wednesday, Nov 16

11:30am – 12:40pm “The Social Brain in Human Adolescence

SDCC Ballroom 20

Speaker: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Inst. of Cognitive Neurosci., Univ. Col. London, London, United Kingdom

Remember those awkward teenage years? Ever wonder why it was so weird or difficult or maybe easy to friends with other awkward teenagers? This lecture may explain why high school was the best of times and the worst of times for some teens.