Neuroscience Day

Held every spring at one of OMV-SfN’s participating institutions, Neuroscience Day is the chapter’s showcase scientific meeting. The program includes a keynote presentation by a leading neuroscientist, student and post-doc presentations, and a poster competition and reception. Neuroscience Day is free of charge for current chapter members, so join or renew your membership now!


Neuroscience Day 2014 will take place on the Wright State University Campus on May 16th, 2014. The program is available here and maps to the meeting location are here.

We are thrilled that Dr. Harald Sontheimer will be the keynote speaker at Neuroscience Day 2014. Dr. Sontheimer is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Director of the Center for Glial Biology in Medicine, the Civitan International Research Center, and the Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate program at UAB.Dr. Harald Sontheimer

The goal of Dr. Sontheimer’s research is to understand how glial cells contribute to neuronal function in the healthy and diseased brain. His lab has investigated glial cell migration during development, after injury, and in malignancy with a focus on the intrinsic adaptations that facilitate cell shape changes during migration. His laboratory hopes to determine whether malignant transformation induces novel mechanisms allowing brain tumor cells to migrate and invade other portions of the brain. His laboratory recently discovered the important role that chloride secretion through anion channels plays as glia move through the extracellular spaces of brain tissue.

Dr. Sontheimer’s laboratory uses molecular biology, confocal and fluorescent cell imaging techniques, patch clamp electrophysiology, and quantitative measures of migration and cell invasion to examine glial cell function and pathophysiology. His studies employ cell culture models and tissues derived from biopsies of patients who present with glial tumors and other nervous system diseases.

Additional information and links to Dr. Sontheimer’s research and publications can be found here.

In addition to Dr. Sontheimer’s presentation, Neuroscience Day 2014 will include Professional Development Sessions aimed at graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The graduate student session will describe strategies for getting the most out of a post-doctoral experience. For post-doctoral fellows, the session will provide a glimpse into the workings of professional search committees in academia, industry, and government/policy positions.

As in the past, Neuroscience Day 2014 will include invited oral presentations from each OMV-SfN member institution and posters presented by graduate and undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty. Awards will be given to the best student poster from each OMV-SfN institution plus an award for the best presentation from a post-doctoral fellow at any institution.

Please take the time now to register for Neuroscience Day 2014. There is no fee for registration. The deadline for abstract submissions is May 1, 2014.

Finally, if you are not an OMV-SfN member or have not renewed your membership for 2014, please join/renew now!




Dr. SalterMichael Salter, M.D., Ph.D. (left), a Professor of Physiology and the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Molecular Medicine at the University of Toronto, will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 OMV-SfN Neuroscience Day on Friday, June 7th at the University of Cincinnati.  Dr. Salter heads the Program in Neurosciences and Mental Health at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto and also holds the Canada Research Chair in Neuroplasticity and Pain at SickKids.

As Dr. Salter writes, “Work in my laboratory is primarily directed to elucidating fundamental principles of cell-cell signaling in the central nervous system and to understanding how aberrations in signaling underlie nervous system disorders. We are using the understanding we have developed to devise new approaches to restoring physiological signaling, often through manipulating protein-protein interactions within cells.

One main area of focus is on glutamatergic signaling where we are studying biochemical processes that regulate the function and localization of the NMDA receptor subtype of glutamate receptor. We have identified several physiological regulatory mechanisms and are examining the potential role of alterations in these regulatory processes in disorders ranging from chronic pain, to epilepsy and to schizophrenia.  A second main area of focus is on microglia-neuron signaling, which stems from our discoveries on the role of this signaling in persistent pain hypersensitivity. We are identifying the mechanisms by which microglia cause neuronal hyperexcitability with the goal of counteracting these mechanisms in order to devise strategies for new types of pain relieving medications.“


Graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and faculty are invited to present posters related to recent findings in neuroscience and its related fields at Neuroscience Day. Please make sure to include the poster title in your online registration.

Download the 2013 Neuroscience Day Program (PDF) | 2013 Neuroscience Day Directions and Parking (PDF).

Registration for Neuroscience Day is free for 2013 OMV-SfN members. Please register before the deadline of May 28.  If you are not an OMV-SfN member for 2013, please join now!


Leslie Tolbert, Ph.D.Leslie Tolbert, Ph.D. (left), of the University of Arizona will be the keynote speaker at OMV-SfN’s 2012 Neuroscience Day on Friday, May 18, at Miami University. Dr. Tolbert is Regents Professor and Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology & Anatomy at Arizona, where she also is vice president for research, graduate studies, and economic development.

Dr. Tolbert writes: “Research in my laboratory focuses on the development and functional organization of the olfactory system, studied in convenient model organisms, the moth Manduca sexta and, very recently, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Several different lines of investigation have led us to focus much of our attention on roles for glial cells in development and in mature function.” Read more.


Mary Dallman, Ph.D.Mary Dallman, Ph.D. (right), professor of neuroscience at the University of California-San Francisco,was the keynote speaker at OMV-SfN’s 2011 Neuroscience Day on Friday, May 20, at Wright State University. Dr. Dallman’s research studies the effects of chronic stress on brain-pituitary-adrenal interrelationships.

“Chronic stress has a variety of effects on the organism, including changes in energy balance, behavior and responsivity to new stimuli,” she says. “These effects of chronic stress are probably mediated in large part by the central corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) neuronal system and glucocorticoids secreted from the adrenal gland in response to drive from hypothalamic CRF. Moreover, all of these are affected strongly by circadian rhythms.” Read more.


Rajita Sinha, Ph.D. (left),  was the keynote speaker at OMV-SfN’s 2010 Neuroscience Day on Monday, May 10, at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Sinha is professor of psychiatry and director of the Yale Stress Center at Yale University. Her research interests include “clinical neurobiology of stress and relaxation, emotion dysregulation, and their effects on desire and drug craving and addictive behaviors, such as, drinking, eating and drug use.” Read more.


Carol A. Barnes, Ph.D.OMV-SfN’s 2009 Neuroscience Day was held at Miami University on Friday, June 5. Carol A. Barnes, Ph.D., Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Neurology at the University of Arizona, was the keynote speaker. The topic of her lecture was “Cognitive Changes in Aging: Neural Correlates in Rats and Monkeys.”

The central goal of Dr. Barnes’ research and teaching program is the question of how the brain changes during the aging process and the functional consequences of these changes on information processing and memory in the elderly. The main research program involves studies of behavior and neurophysiology in young and old laboratory animals. This work provides a basis for understanding the basic mechanisms of normal aging in the brain and sets a background against which it is possible to assess the effects of pathological changes such as Alzheimer’s disease. Some of her current work also includes an assessment of therapeutic agents that may be promising in the alleviation or delay of neural and cognitive changes that occur with age. She teaches afull semester course in the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of aging with joint appointments in the Department of Neurology and the Neuroscience Program.

See the 2009 Neuroscience Day program (PDF).


Barry Connors Ph.D.OMV-SfN’s 2008 Neuroscience Day was held at Wright State University on Friday, May 16. Barry Connors Ph.D., professor and chair of neuroscience at Brown University, was the keynote speaker. The title of his talk was “Eclectic Electric Synapses in the Brain.”

Dr. Connors says of his research, “I study the largest part of the brain, the neocortex, which thinks, remembers and processes sensory information for us. The neocortex is made up of a vast network of interconnected neurons. The challenge is to understand why there are so many neurons, what’s the function of each, how they’re interconnected, and why they’re interconnected in the way they are. In the lab, we search for this information by measuring electrical impulses from the neurons of rodent brains, which are striking in their similarity to ours. I’m very interested in the possibility that our research may have relevance to human problems, including epilepsy and psychiatric diseases such as depression and schizophrenia. What drives me is a desire to understand how the brain works – and in some cases why it doesn’t work.”

See the 2008 Neuroscience Day program (MS Word).


Tomas Hökfelt, M.D., Ph.D.OMV-SfN’s 2007 Neuroscience Day was held Monday, April 30, at the Vontz Center and adjacent Kingsgate Marriot Conference Center at the University of Cincinnati. Tomas Hökfelt, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, delivered the 2007 Grass Lecture, “Three Decades with Three Swedish Neuropeptides: Focus on Pain and Depression.” Professor Hökfelt is an internationally renowned neuroscientist and among the most highly cited scientists in the world. He pioneered the fields of both catecholamine and neuropeptide research in the nervous system. During the past few years, his work has focused on two “Swedish” neuropeptides, galanin and NPY, and their role in pain and depression and relevance for possible therapeutic strategies.

See the 2007 Neuroscience Day program (PDF).


Chiara Cirelli, M.D., Ph.D.OMV-SfN’s 2006 Neuroscience Day was held at Miami University Monday, May 8. Neuroscience Day featured a Grass Lecture by Chiara Cirelli, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. The topic of her lecture was “A Molecular Window on Sleep.”


OMV-SfN’s 2005 Neuroscience Day was held Tuesday, May 10, at Wright State University in Dayton. Neuroscience Day featured OMV-SfN’s second consecutive Grass Lecture presented by Pat R. Levitt, Ph.D., then a professor and director of the Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The topic of his lecture is “Cortical Interneurons and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.”

See the 2005 Neuroscience Day program (MS Word).


Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D.OMV-SfN’s first Neuroscience Day was held Tuesday, May 25, at the University of Cincinnati’s Genome Research Institute (GRI). The chapter received a Grass Lectureship from the Society for Neuroscience to bring Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., to Cincinnati for the event. He is Alfred E. Mirsky Professor at The Rockefeller University in New York. The title of his Grass Lecture is “Gonadal Hormone Effects on the Brain: It Ain’t Just Sex Anymore.”

See the 2004 Neuroscience Day poster list (MS Word).