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The Neurotransmitter, Issue3


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Newsletter of the Western North Carolina Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience

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The Neurotransmitter, Issue3

  1. 1. The Neurotransmitter     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 ( 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 ( 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 President: 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…. Secretary/Treasurer: Christos Constantinidis, 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 Postdoctoral Councilor: 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.’ Student Councilor: Carson is a fourth year Neuroscience graduate Colleen is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Linda John Graef student in Dr. David Roberts’ lab in the Physiology Porrino’s lab in the Physiology and Pharmacology Administrative Assistant: and Pharmacology Department. She is also an Department. She is also currently serving as the Jody Dedo 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  
  2. 2. 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 strategic planning. 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 translational process. 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  
  3. 3. September, 2009 – Issue #3 Breaking News in    Neuroscience!  by Bethany Brookshire,     Physiology & Pharmacology Graduate Student 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 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 Page | 3 The Neurotransmitter  
  4. 4. 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 Application deadline: 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 Funding) 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 Erwin Neher (left) and John Graef  Page | 4 The Neurotransmitter  
  5. 5. 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 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 Management Chair: 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) th 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. 2009.  cream) 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 rd 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! th 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 rd 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 th 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 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 members  chapter will be represented. Dr. visits. AND Jody Dedo graciously Scott Dobrin  (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 presented a  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  
  6. 6. 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 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  
  7. 7. 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 “Unscientific America:  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 ( 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” ( 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 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, for more information. Contact: 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 should be made responsible? Page | 7 The Neurotransmitter  
  8. 8. 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 Twain, normal 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 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 (source: 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  
  9. 9. 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! 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! "Modulation of Synaptic Transmission in the Extended Amygdala: Implications for Anxiety and Alcoholism" 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…). University 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. WFUBMC Mammals" Page | 9 The Neurotransmitter  
  10. 10. 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:   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 ( or Katy Lack ( Neuroscience Program Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D. Itinerary: 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 Neuroscience Program 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 to Neuroscience Program 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 meeting. • Check out what Chicago has in store for you! Godwin ‘09 Page | 10 The Neurotransmitter