Newsletter of the Western North Carolina Chapter
of the Society for Neuroscience
September, 2009 – Issue #3
Inside this issue Together We Can
WNCSfN President’s Note ..... 1 by Brian McCool, Ph.D., WNCSfN President
SfN Chapter Awards............... 1
Meet our New Officers............ 2 The dawning of a new school year brings great activities throughout the Spring. If you have a
SfN 2009 ................................ 3 promise for the future of our chapter. This promise particular talent and the time to share it, the
Breaking News ....................... 3 reflects the dedication of our past president, Dr. Executive Committee has also formed three
Funding Opportunities ............ 4 Dwayne Godwin, and the chapter’s previous ‘standing committees’ – Professional Develop-
Nobel Laureate Meeting ......... 4 executive committee. If you haven’t already, please ment, Education/Outreach, and Communication/
Brain Awareness Council ....... 5 make an effort to thank them personally. The Membership – that can help direct your efforts.
WNCSfN Hotlist ...................... 6 impressive list of chapter activities over the past two Contact us (email@example.com) and we’ll get you
Better Know a Lab .................. 6 years is also due to the hard work of our faculty and connected with the appropriate chair-person. Our
Animal Research Advocacy ... 7 trainees. These accomplishments are a credit to the chapter will only progress if we all GET
Historical Perspective ............. 8
remarkably rich and diverse Neuroscience INVOLVED.
Neuroscience around NC ....... 9
community here at Wake Forest and Western North I’d like to encourage everyone to STAY
Worth Visiting ......................... 9
Carolina. CONNECTED. Thanks to the efforts of Mike Todd
You Won’t Want to Miss ......... 9
I now want to take the opportunity to encourage (Phys/Pharm & Academic Computing), we now
all our members and supporters to volunteer your have excellent access to the Chapter’s website
time, talent, and/or treasure to the chapter over the (http://www1.wfubmc.edu/SfN/) and you’ll find
next year. There are so many volunteer updated news (including present and past issues
opportunities that you are bound to find one to fit of ‘The Neurotransmitter’), membership forms,
your schedule. The easiest of course is to JOIN THE and upcoming events. For those of you on
CHAPTER. September kicks off our official Facebook, John Graef has helped us set up a
membership drive. Your dues provide monetary WNCSfN fan-page (search Western North
support for ALL chapter activities throughout the Carolina Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience)
coming year. These include the winter Student/Post- that we’ll use along with email to update members
Doc poster session with its pizza lunch and Mary A. on recent happenings.
Bell Award for outstanding student and post-doc My challenge to you all over the next two
WNCSFN Officers: posters, various Neuroscience seminars that the years is this – If you see something that needs to
Chapter helps sponsor through the school year, the be fixed, fix it. If you have an idea, make it so. If
Brian McCool, Ph.D.
Spring WNCSfN Symposia, and Brain Awareness you need help, ask us for it. Together, we can….
Ph.D. SfN 2009 Chapters Travel Awards: WNCSfN Winners
Councilors: by Katie Martucci, Neurobiology & Anatomy Graduate Student
Allyson Bennett, Ph.D.
Congratulations to Carson Dobrin and Colleen produce tolerance to the effects of cocaine,
Michelle Nicolle, Ph.D.
Hanlon, Ph.D., this year’s winners of the SfN travel whereas binge/abstinence cycles appear to
Wayne Silver, Ph.D.
awards for graduate students and post-doctoral increase the motivation to self-administer cocaine
fellows. They were each awarded $750.00 and and model an important transition point in the
Colleen Hanlon, Ph.D.
complimentary registration to attend SfN 2009. addiction process.’
Carson is a fourth year Neuroscience graduate Colleen is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Linda
student in Dr. David Roberts’ lab in the Physiology Porrino’s lab in the Physiology and Pharmacology
and Pharmacology Department. She is also an Department. She is also currently serving as the
active member of the Brain Awareness Council. current postdoctoral representative for WNCSfN.
Carson’s abstract is entitled “Binge-abstinence Her study entitled “Frontal-striatal connectivity in
Become a member cycles increase the motivation to self-administer cocaine users and its association with behavior:
of the WNCSfN! See cocaine”. The study involves self-administration of an fMRI and DTI study” uses functional MRI and
page six for details. cocaine by rats, and from her results Carson is able Diffusion Tensor Imaging to determine whether
to conclude that ‘Every day 24hr access seems to differences in frontal-striatal connectivity in
continued on page six
Page | 1 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
Meet our New WNCSfN Officers!
by John Graef, Neuroscience Graduate Student
President: Dr. Brian McCool
Dr. McCool is an associate professor in the department of Physiology and Pharmacology. His research
interests include investigating the neurobiology of alcohol abuse and anxiety. As president over the next two years, his
goals are to encourage and foster the involvement of postdoctoral fellows within the chapter, and to continue the
chapter’s role in education and outreach activities by actively engage members across all WNCSN campuses. He plans
on doing this through the use of computer-based activities like an interactive website for membership/expertise
searches and SharePoint websites that allow for facilitation of cross-campus message boards, document sharing, and
Secretary/Treasurer: Dr. Christos Constantinidis
Dr. Constantinidis is an associate professor in the department of Neurobiology and Anatomy. His research is
focused on understanding how neuronal activity in the primate cerebral cortex gives rise to higher cognitive functions.
His goals for the office will be to foster an environment of excellence, increase the visibility of the WNCSN Chapter,
and promote outreach particularly dealing with the increasing activity of groups opposed to animal use in research.
Councilor: Dr. Allyson Bennett
Dr. Bennett is an associate professor in the department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Her research
centers on genetic and environmental factors that contribute to individual differences in health across the lifespan. She
is a strong advocate and participant in outreach and education activities and hopes to continue to build and bridge
programs that actively engage a diverse audience in learning about neuroscience research, careers in the biomedical
sciences, and, particularly, both the value and the ethical issues surrounding animal research. She plans on doing this
by assisting in scientific, fundraising, and membership recruitment activities that will enhance opportunities for
interaction with the local community.
Councilor: Dr. Michelle Nicolle
Dr. Nicolle has a joint appointment as an assistant professor of Internal Medicine/Section on Gerontology and
Geriatric Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. The major aim of her research is to
understand the neurobiological basis of age-related cognitive decline. Her vision for the chapter is to cultivate
interdisciplinary neuroscience research by facilitating productive working relationships between basic and clinical
science faculty in order to develop and apply new scientific knowledge to understand and improve brain function. She
hopes to achieve this by giving all neuroscience trainees, whether graduate students, postdoctoral or medical fellows,
the opportunity to have the broadest educational opportunities feasible for them to develop an understanding of the
Councilor: Dr. Wayner Silver
Dr. Silver is a professor in the Department of Biology on the Reynolda Campus and the coordinator of the
undergraduate Neuroscience minor. His research is focused on the neurophysiology of the chemical senses. He sees
his main role as councilor as bringing information about the Chapter’s activities to undergraduate neuroscience
students. Wake Forest will be hosting SYNAPSE (Symposium for Young Neuroscientists And Professors of the
SouthEast) in March of 2010 and he’d like to see the WNCSFN play a role in running it.
Postdoctoral Councilor: Dr. Colleen Hanlon
Dr. Hanlon is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Linda Porrino’s lab in the Department of Physiology and
Pharmacology. Her research interests include investigation of functional changes in neural systems involved in the
progression of and recovery from neurobiological disease. As postdoctoral councilor she will seek to facilitate
communication not only between the Executive Council and the postdoctoral members, but also focus on increasing
participation from our members and the neuroscience community as a whole – especially as it applies to grants,
awards, and leadership positions at a national level with the Society for Neuroscience.
Student Councilor: John Graef
John is a fifth year Neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Dwayne Godwin’s lab in the department of
Neurobiology and Anatomy. His research involves investigating changes in neuronal excitability that give rise to
seizures. As the student representative, he plans on continuing the previous officer’s outstanding work by maintaining
the local WNCSN website, continuing the monthly newsletter, and working with the Brain Awareness Council to facilitate
public education and community outreach programs.
Page | 2 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
Breaking News in
by Bethany Brookshire,
Physiology & Pharmacology
The 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience will be held in Chicago, IL, October 17- Behavioral tagging is a
21, 2009. This exciting meeting is less than one month away! Neuroscience 2009 will offer general mechanism of long-
attendees access to unequalled international science and valuable networking venues. Chicago term memory formation
was ranked by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the third "best city in America." Be sure to check
Ballarini F, Moncada D, Martinez
out the numerous unique cuisines and attractions this city has to offer! MC, Alen N, Viola H. Proc Natl Acad
• Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of early registration savings! Save up to $40 by Sci U S A. 2009 Aug
registering by September 24. 25;106(34):14599-604.
There are many known differences
• Student members receive discount opportunities on registration fees, air fare, lodging, and between long-term memory (LTM)
more. Visit the student attendees web page for information. and short-term memory (STM), not
• The Final Program for Neuroscience 2009 is now available online. Check out the following the least of which is that LTM is
thought to involve sustained
useful features that will help you plan your trip:
synaptic changes requiring protein
Featured Lectures; Special Lectures Travel Information synthesis, while STM is thought to
Symposia; Minisymposia Hotel Map and List consist of short-term changes in cell-
Workshops, Meetings & Events Shuttle Schedule and Route firing rates. However, Bellarini et al.,
SfN-Sponsored Socials Professional Development out of Argentina, have recently
Satellite Events and Non-SfN Socials Resources found that a training task for STM
Attendee Resources can be made to induce LTM simply
List of Sessions by Theme & Day
by placing the animals in a novel
Awards in Neuroscience Exhibitor List
environment shortly before or after
• Need a roommate? Find someone and save money the STM learning task. This novelty
using SfN’s online Roommate Matching Forum. was thought to be a “behavioral tag”,
inducing protein synthesis and
• Be sure to utilize the Neuroscience Meeting Planner to increasing the possibility of synaptic
plan your meeting. This resource allows you to search alterations and the formation of
posters, presentations, and sessions by author name, LTM. In the current study, the group
keyword, date, etc, and then save and print your itenerary. used several hippocampus-
dependant tasks for STM, performed
• The next issue of The Neurotransmitter will be released just prior to Neuroscience
with novelty to induce LTM. They
2009 in early October. This special issue will be devoted entirely to the meeting! Don’t then showed that by blocking
have time to plan ahead? We will highlight lectures, symposia, workshops, socials, translation during the novelty
and other SfN 2009 events, including those in which your colleagues in the WNCSfN exposure, they also blocked the
will be participating. Do you want to post or communicate something (roommate or formation of LTM, demonstrating
travel needs, socials, etc.) to your WNCSfN colleagues in the October SfN 2009 issue that the novel exposure prior to the
of The Neurotransmitter? Send your postings to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 5. STM task serves as a behavioral
“tag” promoting the synthesis of
proteins for the beginnings of LTM
formation. This study provides an
Travel Award Winner! interesting view on the link between
International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Conference STM and LTM, and how LTM could
Congratulations to Jonathan Morgan, winner of the NIH/Sackler Insitute travel award for be induced or facilitated by novel
the 2009 International Society for Developmental Psychobiology (ISDP) Conference. The ISDP exposures surrounding STM
Conference, a satellite meeting for SfN, will take place October 14-17, 2009 in Chicago, IL. The learning.
travel award provides Jonathan with $525 toward travel expenditures. Jonathan is a third year
Share the latest and greatest
Neuroscience graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. April Ronca in the Department of breaking news in Neuroscience with
Obstetrics and Gynecology. Jonathan’s abstract is entitled “Acute postnatal behavioral The Neurotransmitter! We will cover
observations following perinatal asphyxia in the rat.” This study assesses hypoxia-induced one paper per edition. Help keep
decreases in species-typic behaviors of prenatal rats immediately after birth, and how these your colleagues up to date on the
latest news in your field and others.
decreases affect the onset of suckling. Submit to email@example.com.
Page | 3 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
Funding Opportunities A Week with Nobel Laureates:
by Erik Oleson, Neuroscience
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Graduate Student by John Graef, Neuroscience Graduate Student
Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Every year, around 500 graduate students gather on the idyllic island of Lindau in
Paris at the Institut Pasteur southern Germany for the opportunity to interact with Nobel Prize winners. This year was no
This postdoctoral fellowship program is exception, as I happened to be among the fortunate few from the U.S. who were selected to
designed specifically for United States attend. The 2009 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting that took place this past July was dedicated
citizens to work at any laboratory at the to chemistry, and as a neuroscientist, I felt very lucky to have been chosen to go. Twenty-three
Institut Pasteur in Paris France for a Nobel Laureates, mostly comprised of past winners in the field of chemistry, spent a week
three year period. Successful applicants interacting with young researchers from around the world through special lectures, lively panel
will receive $70,000 dollars annually discussions and active group sessions. Topics ranged from the very specific to the very broad
($55,000 salary; $15,000 lab supplies). and included surface chemistry, climate change, the importance of basic research, the future of
Five major Neuroscience Units exist at drug discovery, alternative energy sources, and yes, there was even a lecture on synaptic
the Institut Pasteur, including: Genetics transmission.
and Physiology of Hearing, Human The lone neuroscience talk was given by Erwin Neher, who received the Nobel Prize in
Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Physiology or Medicine in 1991 along with Bert Sakmann. These two pioneering scientists
Integrative Neurobiology of Cholinergic developed the patch-clamp technique as a way to prove the single ion channel concept.
Systems, Perception and Memory and Basically, at that time it was thought that single ion channels functioned in the cell membrane,
Retrovirus and Genetic Transfer. but no one had been able to record their individual currents because there was just too much
background noise. So Neher and Sakmann started using these really small glass pipette tips to
patch on to a part of the membrane and form an extremely tight seal. This reduced the noise
February 12, 2010.
enough to let them see current being passed through single ion channels.
Now naturally, since I am a neuroscientist, and since I spent the first year in the lab
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow-ships
beating my head against the wall trying to perfect this technique that he helped develop, I was
for New Americans (Graduate Student
particularly excited to meet Dr. Neher. I got this chance early in the week when I sat next to him
at the opening reception dinner. He was extremely polite and personable as he told me stories
Two years of funding is available to “new
of his early days in the lab as a graduate student, and the types of obstacles I might find on the
American graduate students,” meaning
road to establishing my own research career. When I asked him about the Nobel Prize, he
resident aliens (i.e., holds a Green
seemed rather nonchalant about the actual experience of winning it, but instead emphasized
Card), naturalized citizens or children of
that the best part was getting opportunities to come to events like the Lindau meeting and
naturalized citizens. A fellow at Wake
interacting with young scientists. At first I thought that he was just trying to make me feel good
Forest University would receive a
(and it worked), but the more we talked, I realized that he genuinely meant it. We also talked
$36,000 award each year ($20,000 to
about my research and the struggles of recording from neurons on days when the patch-clamp
fellow; $16,000 toward tuition).
gods seem to be angry.
Applicants must not be over 30 years of
Overall, this was truly an amazing experience. Not every young researcher gets a
age as of November 1, 2009.
chance to meet a Nobel Laureate, and there I was in the presence of over twenty. It was
Application deadline: humbling at first to meet such revered scientists, but the more I got to interact with them, the
November 1, 2009. more human they became, and the more I realized that they are a lot like me - except of course
that they are a lot smarter, richer and more famous than me (minor details). The main thing that
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation we all seemed to have in common, however, was a true passion for science, and this was just
Outstanding Postdoctoral Entrepreneur the type of meeting that reignites both your enthusiasm for research and your curiosity about
(OPE) Award the natural world. Even though the meeting was held
Nominate, or self-nominate, any scientist over two months ago, I still fell that extra excitement I
who successfully developed and carried home with me on the flight back from Germany –
commercialized their intellectual which is substantially longer than the few days of
property as a postdoctoral fellow increased motivation experienced after the annual SFN
working in the United States. The award meetings. The Laureates reminded me that we become
winner will receive a $10,000 scientists because it’s our nature to be inquisitive, and
honorarium at the National Postdoctoral that when it comes down to it, science simply is about
Association's 8th Annual Meeting on enjoying the pursuit of knowledge. Now, I’ll just have to
March 12-14, 2010, in Philadelphia. keep that in mind the next time the patch-clamp gods
No application deadline. decide to mess with me. For more information about
the meeting, go to www.lindau-nobel.de. Erwin Neher (left) and John Graef
Page | 4 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
WFU Brain Awareness Council
What is the WFU Brain Awareness Council (BAC)? We are a group of graduate
student and faculty volunteers from different science-related disciplines with a love for
neuroscience and education. We visit local schools and other venues to teach K-12 students
about their brains. During a typical visit, students are divided into groups and rotate through a
variety of age-appropriate stations where they have the opportunity to participate in exciting,
hands-on activities to learn about neuroscience. Volunteering is fun and easy! Our most
popular stations include: Human Brains, Comparative Brains, Drugs of Abuse, Build a
Neuron, Hearing, Visual Adaptation, Visual Illusions, Careers in Science, Memory, BAC Wish List
Multisensory Integration. Check out our website for more information: Don’t have the time to volunteer? We
http://graduate.wfu.edu/bac. can accept goods and services, and
have a tax ID number so your
donations are tax deductible! Interested
Minds, Movies, and More: Brain Awareness and You! in purchasing/donating these items?
by Scott Dobrin, Neuroscience Graduate Student Contact Katie Martucci, BAC Materials
As the summer heat begins to dwindle and
students return to classes, the BAC is gearing up for
another great year. We were excited to kick things off Slides for light microscopes (ie.
with a new feature event, a brain-themed movie night brain tissue, neurons, disease)
followed by a panel discussion. This Brain Awareness Things to print our logo on (ie. brain
Week favorite is becoming a recurring event through the shaped stress balls, t-shirts, pencils,
year in an effort to reach an adult audience more stickers, backpacks)
regularly. On Monday September 14 we viewed Latex/Non-latex Gloves (small size
“Awakenings” starring Robert Dinero and Robin only)
Williams. The film follows catatonic patients as they Research and clinical panelists answered Prize donations for brain art contest,
questions from the audience about the K - 5th grade:
undergo a novel drug treatment which awakens them
movie “Awakenings” on September 14, gift certificates (bookstore, ice
for the first time in decades. After the movie, Drs.
Ihtsham Haq, Terry Stanford, Francis Walker, and
brain games like Cranium,
Ashok Hegde answered questions audience regarding
answered questions posed by the posed by the audience regarding the current basic science Scattegories
research and modern clinical treatments modern clinical disease. We had a great turnout and are
the current basic science research and of Parkinson’s stickers, puzzles, etc.
looking forward Parkinson’smovie night We had aplanned for this November.
treatments of to another disease. tentatively great Any additional suggestions
turnout and are looking forward to another movie night 3 graders at Brunson Elementary School
Our first school visit of the year will be to a group of welcome!
tentatively planned for this November. be the youngest students we visit until next year’s Brain
on Friday, September 25 . This will
Awareness Week. Itvisitaof the year will be to a group of
Our first school is great opportunity for first timers – trust me, you know more about the A big thanks to Jody Dedo for
3rd graders 3 grader! We are expecting on Friday,
brain than aat Brunson Elementary Schoolnearly 100 students and the school is less than five donating funds to the BAC for a Deluxe
September 25 . This will Center. youngest studentsnotification has been sent via our listserve, so
minutes from the Medical be the An official signup we Brain Model that shows pathologies on
visit until not year’s on the email list Week. It is a
if you are next already Brain Awareness contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added. Help make the first one half of the brain that can be
schoolopportunity yearfirst timers – trust me, you know compared to the opposite normal half
great visit of the for a great success by volunteering (and bring a friend along too).
brain – it is VERY cool and will be a
more about as you all know, the3rd grader! We for Neuroscience annual meeting will be in
Finally, the brain than a annual Society are
great addition to our stations.
expecting nearly in Chicago. This year, SfN President Tom Carew is challenging neuroscientists
October 17 – 21 100 students and the school is less
th We’ve also now received two much
around the world tof promote M di l education. Onffi i l
th fi i t th science C t A Saturday, October 17 at 3 pm he will host the
needed laptops!! Our local WNCSfN
the Brain Awareness Week poster chapter donated funds so we could
BAC council session and reception, in which our purchase a laptop to be used at BAC
chapter will be represented. Dr. visits. AND Jody Dedo graciously
(right) and Carew requested that both Brain donated a laptop and padded case to
Bethany Awareness veterans and novices help with our stations!! The laptops will
Brookshire attend the meeting to discuss how to be mainly used to show a drug
(middle) best serve our local communities. It Powerpoint presentation at school visits
will be a great place to meet other and also to display images from our
poster during new USB microscope! (These will be a
the Brain scientists interested in outreach, in
GREAT help so now volunteers will not
Awareness addition to sampling some of the
need to bring their own laptops to
session at SfN. great, and free, food. I hope to see
school visits!) Thanks so much to both
you there! of you!!
Page | 5 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
The WNCSfN Hotlist Better Know a Lab: Become a member of
Share the latest and greatest pub‐ Dr. David Riddle, WFUSM WNCSfN!
by Jonathan Morgan, by Christos Constantinidis,
lications from your lab! This is a great
opportunity for feedback, discussion, Neuroscience Graduate Student WNCSfN Secretary/Treasurer
and future collaboration. Considering the potential impact on The Western North Carolina Chapter
every living person, a fuller mechanistic of the Society for Neuroscience (WNCSfN),
Temporal Filtering of Nociceptive understanding of cognitive decline is crucial a division of SfN, is dedicated to promoting
Information by Dynamic Activation of
to the development of therapies for high education in the Neurosciences, and
Endogenous Pain Modulatory Systems
quality-of-life maintenance. Dr. David Riddle, encouraging interaction among Neuro-
Marc D Yelle, Yoshitetsu Oshiro, Associate Professor in the Department of science professionals within our research
Robert A Kraft, and Robert C Coghill, Neurobiology and Anatomy, is doing his part community. The WNCSfN sponsors
The Journal of Neuroscience, 2009 to study the neurobiological basis of numerous events including a fall poster
Work by former Neurobiology & Anatomy cognitive decline via two avenues: session, an annual research symposium,
graduate student, Marc Yelle, Ph.D. was investigating brain changes following normal and multiple Brain Awareness activities in
recently published in the Journal of cognitive aging and brain irradiation. These the community. Student and postdoctoral
Neuroscience. Yelle’s research focused on changes are assessed using quantitative members are eligible for the Mary A. Bell
the phenomenon of offset analgesia - anatomical techniques (from which better Awards for outstanding posters presented
disproportionately large decreases in pain means to quantitate neuron, macroglia, and in the fall forum. You can view all our
ratings evoked by small decreases in
microglia turnover in adult brain have been current and past activities on the web at
stimulus intensity. His previous pub-
pioneered), as well as by analysis of mRNA http://www1.wfubmc.edu/SfN/.
lications proposed that offset analgesia is a
and protein changes in the brain. We are currently inviting all faculty,
temporal contrast mechanism that
functions to sharpen the perception of the Dr. Riddle’s most recent work addresses staff, graduate students, postdoctoral
end of a painful stimulus. In order to better radiation injury in the aging brain. fellows, and residents with interest in the
understand endogenous pain control Therapeutic irradiation is often used in Neurosciences to join the Chapter. If you
mechanisms which may support offset treatment of brain tumors and metastases. would like to become a member or renew
analgesia, Yelle examined supraspinal Although radiation is very effective at killing your membership, please send us your
activity in human volunteers using fMRI. tumor cells, many patients will, consequently, name, title, department, and email address,
Yelle et al. showed that several regions of show a marked cognitive decline profoundly along with your dues (cash or check made
the midbrain and brainstem are affecting their daily living. With an eye payable to WNCSfN) to Jody Dedo,
differentially activated during offset towards development of treatments to stave Neuroscience Program Office, Wake
analgesia, compared to periods of pain
off these effects, an attempt is underway to Forest University School of Medicine,
alone and periods of rest (no pain).
understand the radiation-induced brain Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC
Regions of activation during offset
changes coincident with the observed 27157.
analgesia notably correspond to the
location of the periaqueductal gray (PAG) cognitive decline. Though a lot of reseach Membership Dues:
which is a region that has a substantial role has been conducted, the vast majority of One Year Three Years
in descending inhibition of pain (Figure animal observations are of neonates and Regular $30 Regular $75
2A). The paper provides convincing young adults. Yet, most patients undergoing Postdoc $20 Postdoc $50
evidence of the involvement of supraspinal therapeutic irradiation are middle aged or Student $15 Student $35
regions in mechanisms that support offset older—meaning we are irradiating most a
analgesia. Thus, supraspinal endogenous population we understand the effects on
pain modulatory mechanisms appear to least. Provided that the brain’s responses
subserve and dynamically shape the were similar across the adult life span, this SfN 2009 Chapter Travel
temporal processing of painful stimuli that
would be a non-issue. Dr. Riddle and his Award Winners
ideally function in real-world situations of (continued from page one)
colleagues, however, expect there to be very
escape behaviors from painful stimuli.
different age-related responses, and have cocaine users during a basic motor task
recently demonstrated an important example. are associated with impaired motor
Studies in younger animals show radiation- performance, and whether functional
induced decreases in adult hippocampal coupling on this task was correlated with
neurogenesis, which some propose underly cognitive dysfunction. Colleen concludes
the observed cognitive decline. The Riddle in her abstract that there are significant
lab has shown no such effect in aged decreases in typical frontal-striatal coupling
Figure 2A. Brainstem PAG activation animals, while observing greater neuro- in chronic cocaine users which may
correlated to offset analgesia (Yelle et al., inflammation, suggesting disparate, age- contribute to poor performance on cognitive
2009). continued on page nine and motor tasks.
Page | 6 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
RAISING VOICES: Book Review
Animal Research Advocacy & Community Engagement by Bethany Brookshire, Physiology &
Pharmacology Graduate Student
by Allyson Bennett, Ph.D., WNCSfN Councilor
Animal rights activists (ARA) groups and extremists have raised a very loud chorus
against animal research. Well-funded, media-savvy campaigns and over-the-top publicity
stunts ensure that the public receives a biased and negative message about the role and
How Scientific Illiteracy
value of animal studies. As a result of decades of investment in extensive campaigning, these
Threatens our Future”
groups have contributed to decreasing public understanding of, and support for, animal By Chris Mooney and Sheril
research. At the same time, escalating harassment and violence against scientists by Kirshenbaum
extremists has led many scientists to shy away from being public, visible, and vocal in
speaking about their own work, advocating for animal research, and countering ARA Despite all the advances we scientists
campaigns. seem to see around us every day in the
The voices of scientists engaged in animal research are essential to challenge the loud scientific world, the public at large seems
chorus of misinformation rising from ARA and dominating the discussion. The success of well…a little scientifically illiterate. Of
many ARA campaigns depend heavily upon poor public understanding of animal research, course, explaining to your grandmother how
uncountered misrepresentations of scientists and their work, and exploitation of the your thesis is going to change the world is
misconceptions and negative perceptions that many people have of the use of animals in the always going to be a challenge, but it
biomedical and behavioral sciences. Unfortunately, for the most part, ARAs have also been seems that, more and more, the public in
able to count on launching misinformation campaigns with very little threat of organized, public general is largely unfamiliar with the
response from the scientific community. benefits and challenges of current scientific
Speaking of Research (www.speakingofresearch.com) provides a venue for scientists to progress. Climate change denialists and
speak out in favor of lifesaving research developed with animals. Speaking of Research (SR) anti-vaccinationists abound, not to mention
was founded by Tom Holder and inspired by the successful British student movement “Pro- the direct threats to research posed by
test” (www.pro-test.org.uk). In the UK, Pro-Test’s experiences have shown that an informed those who violently disagree with animal
public will rally together against animal rights extremism and come out to support scientists in research without knowledge of its benefits.
their use of animals in lifesaving biomedical research. SR aims to challenge animal rights But what can anyone do about it?
dominance of the issue by participating in talks and debates on campuses across the country These issues are what authors Chris
and by utilizing web-based communications tools to organize a network that can provide Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum focus on
encouragement, information and support to all who care about medical progress. SR also in their book “Unscientific America”. They
challenges ARA campaigns directly. SR is run by a committee of people who believe that devote time to several major institutions and
animal research remains crucial to the future of medicine. Among SR’s successes is the first issues which they feel have caused science
mass pro-research demonstration in the US in April of 2009 at UCLA, site of a spate of many of the problems it now faces today:
attacks against researchers. Following a car fire attack by animal rights extremists, Professor the media, politics, Hollywood, and the
David Jentsch, founded UCLA Pro-Test and held a rally that drew 700 supporters and science vs religion debate. They then put
demonstrated the strength of active and visible animal research advocacy. forward the idea that scientists need to work
There are many ways to serve as an advocate for animal research. Some are as easy as with some of these institutions, particularly
signing an online petition (Americans for Medical Progress, together with SR, UCLA Pro-Test: politics and the media, in order to get their
www.raisingvoices.net). Coordinated efforts and vocal, concerted support is important to all of point across and show the benefits of their
us and to the future of biomedical research that is essential to improvements in human health. work, and that requires communication and
As a member of the SR Committee, I have recently founded the North Carolina Chapter of work on the part of scientists, as well as on
Speaking of Research (NC SR). NC SR seeks to support scientists in active and visible the part of journalists and politicians, to
outreach efforts. NC SR also serves as a local exchange for news about issues related to meet halfway.
advocacy and about local animal rights extremism. Please join our facebook group or email The book has been contentious at best,
NCSpeakingofResearch@gmail.com for more information. Contact: email@example.com. with many scientists in the blogosphere
reacting strongly to the science vs religion
debate in particular. Many scientists and
Wake Forest University Primate Center (WFUPC) Outreach: science communicators have also taken
WFUPC has created a program of outreach and education that provides K-12 children issue with the idea that scientists must work
and teachers the opportunity to learn about biomedical research by visiting the WFUPC. The even harder than they already do, simply to
WFUPC tours educate the visitors about nonhuman primates and the important role that they get the public to receive them well. Read
play in translational research, as well as inform children about careers in science. Visitors also the book and figure out where you stand.
learn about the wide range of human health disorders studied at the WFUPC. For more Something must be done about the
information, contact Dr. Allyson Bennett, Assistant Director for Community Outreach and scientific illiteracy in America, but who
Education, at (336) 716-1529 or firstname.lastname@example.org. should be made responsible?
Page | 7 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
The Notorious Brain of Edward H. Rulloff
by Dwayne W. Godwin, Ph.D.
If there's one thing I've learned as a
languages and who even supposedly Figure 3. Mark
neuroscientist it's that size does not matter authored a scholarly work on the subject
sized brain, big
(Okay, sometimes it matters - but not here).
called the Method in the Formation of hair (source:
As a neurophysiologist, I've come to appreciate Language. Scholars came from far and wide Wikimedia.org).
that much of our mind lives in our synapses. to be in his presence. Richard Henry Mather,
I've read too much about recovery from brain professor of Greek and German at Amherst
injury, and recovery from surgical interventions College, noted after visiting Rulloff that in
that remove enormous portions of the brain to addition to a prodigious memory of ancient Enter Mark Twain (Figure 3), who
give too much weight to observations about literary works in the original language, his wrote an editorial in the New York Tribune
brain size. For example, the sperm whale has "...subtlety of analysis and reasoning were in May of 1871 arguing that Rulloff should
the largest mammalian brain (Figure 1), but it's the marked characteristic of his mind". At be spared the death penalty because,
no Einstein, who has a much smaller brain that one point, without any formal training he set "...half the mystery of his strange powers is
was not generally remarkable for its size at the himself up as a physician, and another time yet a secret". As with most things Twain
time of autopsy (Figure 1 inset - but see this). as a lawyer, because apparently back then this was a satirical piece, and he goes on to
In the brain collection in the Department of one could get away with doing that. promise, "...that I will instantly bring forth a
Psychology at Cornell University, there lies in man, who in the interest of learning and
deathly repose one brain among 70 others science, will take Rulloff's crime upon
whose story speaks not only to the issue of himself and submit to be hanged in Rulloff's
intelligence, but also to the mysterious place." (In an accompanying note to the
relationship between intelligence and morality. editor he states that the real objective of the
The brain belongs to a man named Edward H. article was to get people to talk about the
Rulloff. If you believe the newspapers of the death penalty). Now, a celebrity like Mark
time, Rulloff had a very big brain. In fact, at 59 Twain weighing in on a murder case would
ounces, or nearly one half gallon (1740 cc), it have gotten the same sort of attention back
was one of the largest human brains ever then that Kate Goslin would if she weighed
measured. Compared with the average brain in today. Except, there was a good reason
size of 1400cc, the difference (about 340cc), is that Mark Twain was a celebrity. Still, things
roughly the volume of a can of soda. That may didn't go well for Rulloff, and his notoriety
not seem like very much - until you consider began to work against him - it seems the
stuffing a soda can into your cranium. more people found out about him, the less
Edward Rulloff fulfilled some of the they liked. (Did I mention he was a
stereotypical expectations that were in vogue βα$†@πδ?)
in the mid 1800's about big headed people. Rulloff was not a contrite death row
Figure 2. Advanced Neuroimaging, circa
Rulloff's huge melon was impressive in the 1848. Apparently back then, you could inmate. Toward the end he was given to
heyday of phrenology, when great significance literally see what someone was thinking. streams of profanity, all the while lamenting
was assigned to various brain areas simply on What happened to this technology? that if only he had more time, he would
the basis of bumps and grooves on the skull finish his great intellectual work for
(Figure 2 - currently, we only get this excited humanity (turning the phrase, “publish or
about neuroimaging signals - but I digress). Edward Rulloff had another side - perish” on its head!). On May 18th, 1871,
Rulloff was reported to be a genius with no murderer. He was a serial criminal who had Rulloff's time ran out when he was hanged
formal education. He was a self taught linguist done hard time at Sing-Sing and various for his crimes. Though his life ended, his
who is reported to have mastered several other prisons and jails for crimes both major story continued. The newspaper account of
and minor. Among his more vile offenses the "autopsy" of Edward Rulloff reads a bit
was his alleged murder of his own wife and like a cut scene from Young Frankenstein. It
small child. He was eventually convicted of seems Rulloff was not only big-headed, but
the murder of Frederick A. Mirick, a he was also exceedingly thick-skulled. The
shopkeeper who Rulloff shot during the play by play of the gruesome toil of sawing
commission of a robbery that he had through the skull was provided by Burt
masterminded. Rulloff was arrested and Green Wilder, a physician who had retained
charged, and his trial became a media the head but buried the body. Grave
event. In fact, Rulloff achieved the sort of robbers had exhumed the headless body
notoriety and evoked a sense of wasted twice - they must have been a bit unsettled
talent among the public that is reminiscent of at finding the headless corpse. (What grave
the O.J. Simpson case (well, the first case), robbers might have wanted with Rulloff's
Figure 1. Can you spot the genius? (shown
roughly to scale: sperm whale image in part because of newspaper coverage and brain is uncertain - maybe they were
provided by Camilla Butti; inset from Falk certain readers who began to follow the medical students).
D, Front Evol Neurosci. 1:3, 2009). story. Rulloff's brain now sits in a display
Page | 8 The Neurotransmitter continued on page nine
September, 2009 – Issue #3
Worth Visiting! Better Know a Lab NEW! Neuroscience around NC
(continued from page six)
University of North Carolina at
dependent mechanisms of injury. Chapel Hill (UNC)
Recently, the National Cancer Click here for complete online listing with time and
Institute awarded Dr. Riddle a five year location.
grant to investigate mechanisms of and • October 1: Ryohei Yasuda, Ph.D.
Check out this collection of video therapies for radiation-induced cognitive Neurobiology, Duke University
resources that will help you dysfunction in animal models of the
"Imaging Signal Transduction in Single
understand the mysteries of the primary clinical populations. Current lab
brain! http://brainiac.magnify.net/ Dendritic Spines"
members include lab manager Liz • October 8: Manzoor Bhat, Ph.D.
Forbes, postdoc Kun Hua, and technician Cell & Molecular Physiology, UNC
Monica Paitsel. With two former members
"Organization and Disorganization of
completing thesis work in the past 18 Molecular Domains in Myelinated Axons"
months, the new grant provides support
Don’t miss the “Glut-Tang Clan” • November 5: Tom Kash, Ph.D.
for an additional graduate student.
and their “Synaptic Cleft” on Pharmacology, UNC
YouTube.com! "Modulation of Synaptic Transmission in the
Extended Amygdala: Implications for Anxiety
Edward Rulloff • November 12: Ed Boyden, Ph.D.
(continued from page eight)
MIT Media Lab
case in the Wilder brain collection in the "Enabling Systematic Neuroscience with Novel
Become a fan of the WNCSfN on Department of Psychology at Cornell Optical Neural Control Strategies"
facebook! Our new WNCSN facebook University in Ithaca, New York. A
site will keep you up-to-date on chapter- restaurant in Ithaca bears his name. I Duke Institute for Brain Science
related events. could not find a copy of Rulloff's book Click here for complete online listing with time and
anywhere (you know, the one that he location.
touted as proof of his genius), or even a • September 24: Brenda Milner, Sc.D., Ph.D.
You Won’t Want to reference to it ever having been McGill University
Miss! published. My search was more than "Memory and Memories: A Tribute to HM"
casual - I contacted the Library of • October 6: Kenton Swartz, Ph.D.
Congress, the editor of the Transactions
PENS‐SfN School National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
Brain Evolution and its of the American Philology Society, and Stroke
Consequences for Brain Pathology Richard W. Bailey, who researched and "Structural Basis of Voltage Sensor Function
wrote a book on Rulloff. There appears and Pharmacology in Ion Channels"
March 21-26, 2010
to be no remaining artifact of Rulloff's • October 8: Alvaro Pascual-Leone, M.D., Ph.D.
The Federation of European Neuro-
science Societies (FENS), the Inter- reported genius. In fact, Edward Crapsey, Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel
national Brain Research Organization a reporter for the New York Times at the Deaconess Medical Center
(IBRO), the Programme of European time, thought Rulloff to be a bit of a fraud "Assessing Cortical Plasticity in Human
Neuroscience Schools (PENS), and and a pretender. It appears that his Neuropsychiatric Disorders"
SfN will hold the first joint PENS-SfN notoriety may be his only enduring
School in Naples, Italy. Application contribution. In an email communication North Carolina State University
deadline: September 30, 2009. to me, Richard Bailey summed it up very Click here for complete online listing with time and
succinctly, "Rulloff was a crackpot location.
philologist and a bad man." (If I had just
• October 19: Avshalom Caspi, Ph.D.
emailed him earlier, this article would
Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke
have been much shorter…).
Mather mused after his visit with
“Gene X Environment Interactions in
Rulloff, "...we must educate the heart as
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Psychiatry”
fast as we educate the head, or our
“All you wanted to know about stem • November 9: Joseph S. Takahashi, Ph.D.
knowledge may only increase our sin." Of
cells but never dared ask.” Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern
course, this advice would not have helped
Dr. Colin Bishop, Ph.D. Medical Center
Edward Rulloff, who if nothing else in the
Institute for Regenerative Medicine, "Genetic Analysis of Circadian Clocks in
end was a self-made man.
Page | 9 The Neurotransmitter
September, 2009 – Issue #3
Symposium: Drug Abuse and WinstonSalem Neural Eye Candy
Mark your calendars for a symposium about drug use, treatment and rehabilitation in
Share your cool neuroscience images with
Winston-Salem. Learn about drug abuse from the Winston-Salem Police Department,
The Neurotransmitter! Send images to
doctors from Wake Forest’s Emergency Department, and Partnership for a Drug Free Stephanie Willard: email@example.com.
NC. The symposium will take place Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, from
1:00pm-4:30pm, in the Hanes Building (Room E 24) at WFUBMC. Sponsors for the
symposium include the Center for the Neurobiological Investigation of Drug Abuse, The Neurotransmitter Staff:
the WFU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and the Translational Center Co-editors:
for the Neurobehavioral Study of Alcohol. For more information contact Michael Stephanie Willard, Graduate Student
Wesley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Katy Lack (email@example.com). Neuroscience Program
Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D.
Neurobiology & Anatomy
1:00—2:00 Winston Salem Police Department
“Drug Use and Abuse in Winston Salem” Contributors:
2:00—3:15 WFUBMC Emergency Department Bethany Brookshire, Graduate Student
Mary Claire O’Brien, M.D. Physiology & Pharmacology
Mary J. Wittler, M.D Jonathan Morgan, Graduate Student
“Drug Use and the ED” Neuroscience Program
3:15—3:30 Break Scott Dobrin, Graduate Student
3:30—4:30 Partnership for a Drug Free NC Neuroscience Program
“Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment” Katie Martucci, Graduate Student
Neurobiology & Anatomy
Erik Oleson, Graduate Student
Do you have something you would like to share with your fellow WNCSfN
Erin Caulder, Graduate Student
chapter members? Cool new research, projects, awards, funding
Neurobiology & Anatomy
opportunities, etc? Are you hiring? Advertise openings for rotating students,
John Graef, Graduate Student
post‐docs, or other job positions here. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to
share with your community through The Neurotransmitter.
Allyson Bennett, Ph.D.
Physiology & Pharmacology
Interested in becoming a
contributing staff member of
The Neurotransmitter? Please
contact Stephanie Willard at:
Don’t miss the next issue
of The Neurotransmitter!
• Special issue devoted entirely
to SfN 2009!
• Find out what your colleagues
are participating in at the
• Check out what Chicago has
in store for you!
Page | 10 The Neurotransmitter