May 31, 2024

Translational Neuroscience Symposium and Research Day celebrates research of program faculty and trainees

The sixth annual Translational Neuroscience Program Symposium and Research Day was held May 17 at the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Scott Hall and Margherio Family Conference Center.

Elise Thomas, a research assistant, presents her project.

A total of 31 poster and oral presentations were showcased at the event. Opening remarks were given by Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences Chair David Rosenberg, M.D.

“The Translational Neuroscience Symposium and Research Day is important because it brings together neuroscientists from all over campus for collaborative discussions, highlighting the research of TNP labs and trainees,” said Associate Professor of Neurosurgery Alana Conti, Ph.D., who directs the Translational Neuroscience Program. “Some may not realize, but the TNP is made up of more than 50 faculty members across 18 departments and four colleges at WSU. With respect to training, the TNP is represented by trainees at all levels, from high school to post-doctoral, which were showcased at the event.”

A.J. Robison, Ph.D., an associate professor of Physiology in the Neuroscience Program at Michigan State University, delivered the keynote address, “Circuit-Specific Gene Expression in the Brain Underlying Resilience to Mood Disorders and Addiction.”

Redi Gishto, who was recently accepted in the School of Medicine program, shares his research.

Trainees had the opportunity to present research projects in oral or poster format; network with peers, collaborators and faculty members; and interact with invited speakers to broaden their professional circles.

“This year’s research was outstanding! I was most impressed with the breadth of research topics, ranging from exploring the effects of pollutants on human cognition to investigating the impact of opioid exposure on the gut-brain axis in preclinical models,” Dr. Conti said.

Submitted abstracts were judged and the top eight chosen for oral presentations. The presenting students included:

Maryam Abbawi (undergraduate student, advisor Nora Fritz, Ph.D.)

John France (graduate student, advisors Tanja Jovanovic, Ph.D., and Jeff Stanley, Ph.D.)

Sonia Khalid (graduate student, advisors Kelly Bosse, Ph.D., and Susie Brummelte, Ph.D.)

Christine Lee (graduate student, advisor Ana Daugherty, Ph.D.)

Annie Nguyen (graduate student, advisors Gil Mor, M.D., Ph.D., and Alana Conti, Ph.D.)

Lexi Soltesz (undergraduate student, advisor Gino Panza, Ph.D.)

Dylan Ukasik (graduate student, advisor Alan Dombkowski, Ph.D.)

Clara Zundel, Ph.D., (postdoctoral fellow, lab of Hilary Marusak, Ph.D.)

In addition, Manessa Riser, Translational Neuroscience graduate student, was elected student keynote speaker. Riser, advised by Tanja Jovanovic, Ph.D., presented “Brain Activity During Childhood May Predict Future PTSD Symptoms in Early Adolescent Females, but not Males: Insights from a Longitudinal Study.”

All presentations (oral and poster) were judged, and the top clinical and pre-clinical research were each awarded a $500 travel award.

Clinical Research Presentation:

First Place – Taylor Takla (Translational Neuroscience graduate student, advisor Nora Fritz, Ph.D.)

Pre-Clinical Research Presentation:

First Place – Jonathan Greenberg, Ph.D. (postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Donald Kuhn, Ph.D., and Mariana Angoa-Perez, Ph.D.)

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