Another SfN in the Books.

I just returned from the Society for Neuroscience 2018 meeting in San Diego. Attendance was down – I heard that only 23,000 attended (rather than the usual 29 – 30,000), but I have not confirmed this. Good talks, good science, but not all is perfect.

Foreign attendance was down, at least in part due to Trump’s travel restrictions. Not only does he fail to accept science, he stands in the way of scientific progress.

Eight current Albion students attended with me. We met with Nick Singletary, a grad student at Columbia University, to get his perspective on life in grad school, and with Debbie Bangasser (Temple U.) to get the perspective of a professor who oversees grad students. Both meetings were useful. 

I hosted a get-together for Albion’s neuroscience alums; a good time was had by all, but sadly only five could attend. At least two others were at the meeting; in the past we’ve had more than 10 alums at the event.

And a highlight for me is getting to see Alice Powers (Stonybrook U.), my first psychology prof ever. She continues to examine learning in turtles, this year demonstrating that neurogenesis in what passes for a turtle’s hippocampus plays a role in learning. By the time I graduated from college in 1977 she was my friend, and I am glad I can call her a friend this many years later. 

Albion Neuro Alums and current students. From left: Amanda Blaker, me, Amanda (Tilot) Komoru, Emily Stephens, Megan Anderson Brooks, Irene Corona, Nicole (Ferrara) Clark, Haley McQuown, Brandon Gary.

Other highlights for me:

  • Seeing many other friends whom I’ve known for decades in some cases, a few years in others. 
  • Meeting a few new friends with shared interests (Alexxai), or just through odd happenstance (Heike).
  • Having the Med Associates representative remember me and my work with earthworms, and want to pick my brain about it.
  • Reeling as always at the growth of FUN (Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience), which rose from its humble beginnings in 1991 to become a powerful force in undergraduate education, hosting a poster session with 172 posters presented by undergrads, and giving away thousands of dollars in travel awards.
  • Checking in with my friends Tim and Greg at Backyard Brains to see what new and innovative projects they’ve developed.

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