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Society for Neuroscience – News Roundup 8/3/2018

Taking Science to Capitol Hill

On April 18th, 60 teams from colleges and universities across the nation will participate in the 2018 Posters on the Hill event, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and the American Chemical Society (ACS). Researchers and faculty members from as far away as University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of California at Los Angeles, and University of Washington will join local peers from Bowie State University (MD) and James Madison University (VA) to share their research on topics ranging from early Jesuit scholars and 3D bioprinted muscle constructs to African American lead miners and the use of artificial neural networks to predict wildfire growth.

One of those researchers is Lindsey Chew, who is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona! She was the recipient of a Nu Rho Psi Undergraduate Research Grant in 2017 for her research on non-opioid-related pain treatments, and will be starting medical school this fall.

You can read the press release from the University of Arizona here.

Banner Image: Stacy Pigott/UA News

 

Brain Awareness Week at Miami University

Nu Rho Psi students at Miami University had a great time educating others about the nervous system during Brain Awareness Week.  Students and community members who visited the booth used vision impairment goggles to experience challenges faced by people with visual disorders.  They also learned about the electrical signals sent from their brain to muscles using a Muscle Spiker Box (Backyard Brains).

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Further, those brave enough let their friends take control of their arm.  Using a Human-Human Interface (Backyard Brains), movements of the “controller” person’s arm took over the “controlled” person’s arm.  This was a great way to learn about basic neuroscience and brain-machine interface technology, which is an active research and treatment area.

Visitors were also challenged by questions from a “Brain Trivia Wheel” made by graduate student Kathryn Chipchase.  Graduate student Valerine Rajathi enjoyed contributing to the week:  “Brain Awareness Week was great because I got to speak to a lot of people about my research and tell them how cool neuroscience really is! Also, I noticed an escalation in followers of our Facebook page because I posted about our Brain Awareness Week activities”.  Senior Jack Latimer also appreciated reaching out to others: “Working at tables in the Student Center was a great way for us to reach out to other students and members of the community with brain games and demonstrations. It was exciting to hear students from a variety of backgrounds express interest in learning about the healthy brain, diseases of the brain, and Nu Rho Psi.”

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Students also invited Dr. John Breneman (University of Cincinnati College of Medicine) to speak about his experiences in Neuro-oncology.  As Medical Director of Cincinnati Children’s/UC Proton Therapy Center, Dr. Breneman provided a very interesting and accessible seminar about the latest treatments for brain tumors.  Graduate student Savanna Fahoum said “I really enjoyed the talk from Dr. Breneman! It’s always exciting to learn about progress in neurological medicine and how new techniques can help more people every day!”  We were so grateful to Dr. Breneman for making time to talk to us about his work helping people survive the devastating diagnosis of a brain tumor.  We also appreciate funding and supplies provided by Miami Student Government and the Dana Foundation for our events.

Nu Rho Psi President Elizabeth Belling made Brain Awareness Week a priority this year: “This year was my last Brain Awareness Week for my undergraduate career at Miami and therefore I really wanted to see it succeed. Even if we only reached a local community, knowing that small steps were taken to promote brain research and how far it has come over the past few years has made all the difference. Hopefully, this event will be able to grow at Miami and across the country in order to achieve a greater public awareness of just how important the brain is in everyday life.” As a faculty advisor, I echo Elizabeth’s hope that we continue to educate the University and local community about the amazing nervous system!

Written by Dr. Dawn Blitz, Co-Faculty Advisor to Nu Rho Psi (Gamma in Ohio) at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).

Chapter Spotlight: Lake Forest College

This year, the National Theme for Nu Rho Psi Chapter Activities was “Stress & Anxiety”.

On March 1st, the Lake Forest College Chapter of Nu Rho Psi (Gamma in Illinois) hosted an educational campaign on the stigma associated with mental illness for their college community and the public titled “End the Silence”. The campaign culminated with the unveiling of a video titled “Ending the Silence at Lake Forest College”, followed by a panel discussion with members from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

With permission, the video can be watched here (warning: sensitive material): 

This work was supported by a Chapter Activity Grant (CAG), which was awarded to Lake Forest College for the 2017-2018 Academic Year. If you’re interested in applying for a CAG this year, please navigate to the Awards and Grants page. The National Council is finalizing this year’s theme, and we hope to announce it soon!

Artwork Credit: Kendra Fobert