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2017 Neuroscience Retreat a success

On Sunday, July 23 – Monday, July 24, 2017, the WVU Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute held its annual Neuroscience Retreat, at Canaan Valley Resort in Davis, WV. This year’s retreat attracted almost 150 attendees from multiple departments across campus: 42 faculty members (non-clinical); 42 graduate students; 12 postdoctoral fellows and research associates; 31 undergraduate students; 12 clinical faculty and residents; 3 senior leaders; and 4 staff and administration members.

The retreat kicked off on Sunday morning with a symposium for new faculty members (either new to the University or to the BRNI). Speakers in this session included James Mahoney, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist and Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry; Charlie Anderson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology, Pharmacology, & Neuroscience; Sadie Bergeron, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology; Vince Setola, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology, Pharmacology, & Neuroscience; Erin Winstanley, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Systems & Policy; and Cole Vonder Haar, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Over lunch on Sunday, attendees had the opportunity to learn about the IDEAs program, in a special session entitled, “The role of amyloid brain imaging in evaluating dementia: the WVU experience in the IDEAs study.” This session was presented by Mark Miller, MD, Professor and Dana Farnsworth Chair of Education in Psychiatry.

Trainee Poster Session

This session was followed by the first poster session, during which faculty members formally judged the posters of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows that were nominated to present, for a prize. After the poster session, and new this year, the mixer featured a Creative Showcase, during which students, postdocs, and faculty members of the BRNI showed off their talents to the audience. The evening wrapped up with a cookout dinner in the outdoor pavilion, overlooking the beautiful landscape of Canaan Valley.

Chestnut Ridge Band

Monday began with an early morning trainee symposium, during which six graduate students presented their research to the group. Presenters during this session were Adam Schroer, a cellular and integrative physiology graduate student in Dr. Siderovski’s lab; Kristyn Lizbinski, a biology graduate student in Dr. Dacks’ lab; Anton Sobinov, a neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Yakovenko’s NERL lab; Kristen Trexler, a behavioral neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Kinsey’s lab; Dominic Quintana, a neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Simpkins’ lab; and Phil Chapman, a biology graduate student in Dr. Daly’s lab.

Monday morning concluded with the second poster session, during which graduate students had the opportunity to judge the posters of undergraduate students – a good experience for both groups! The top undergraduate posters, while unranked, received a prize for their excellent presentations.

Lunch was served alongside a Human Neuroscience Symposium, during which the group heard talks from Shuo Wang, PhD, a new Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering; Joonhee Lee, a new Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy; and Nick Brandmeir, MD, a new Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery. This session culminated with a keynote lecture from John Bickle, PhD, our invited guest speaker. Dr. Bickle is Professor and Head of Philosophy at Mississippi State University, and an affiliate faculty member of Neurobiology & Anatomical Sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Bickle discussed the ethical side of intervention experiments in the human brain, along with their importance.

The Retreat wrapped up on Monday afternoon with breakout sessions for faculty and trainees. While the faculty members heard updates from around campus and learned about the new structure of the Neuroscience Graduate Program, trainees were given information on funding their research career through fellowship awards.

All in all, the retreat was a success, thanks in large part to all those who attended. The Neuroscience Retreat is intended to boost awareness, facilitate multidisciplinary scientific exchange, and create cross-collaborations in the hopes of increasing translational research among members of the BRNI, including scientists, researchers, clinicians, faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

For more information, please visit http://neuroscience.wvu.edu/ or contact the BRNI main office. 

Keep scrolling for more photos during the 2017 Neuroscience Retreat!

Innovation Corner

Dr. Spirou's lab demos their software at the Innovation Corner, as part of the poster sessions.


Dr. Wan's poem

Dr. Wan presented a meaningful poem in his native language, during the Creative Showcase.


Dr. Spirou MC  Deidre O'Dell

Left: Dr. Spirou MC's the Creative Showcase. Right: Deidre O'Dell performs "Cups" during the Creative Showcase.


Undergraduate Poster Session

Undergraduate student posters were judged during the second poster session on Monday.