After a 3-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the University of Michigan Neuroscience Conference returned to campus with an air of excitement. Hosted by the U-M Neuroscience Innovators, the Michigan Neuroscience Institute (MNI), and the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP), this two-day event brought faculty, students, and NGP alumni together to discuss various career opportunities outside of academia along with the opportunity to view presentations, a poster session, and numerous chances to mingle and network with like-minded scientists.
Posters, keynote, and dinner with the president
Day 1 began with an opening reception and poster session on Thursday, May 5. Forty posters were set up at the NCRC where researchers presented their scientific findings to conference attendees. The poster presentation was a big hit with the crowd, with Tracy Fetterly (Postdoc, Ferrario Lab) earning best poster and Katie Bonefas (NGP Student, Iwase Lab) grabbing runner-up honors.
Shelly Flagel, Ph.D., MNI Interim Co-Director and NGP Associate Co-Director for Admissions, provided the conference’s opening remarks and welcomed attendees from across Michigan and beyond. U-M President Mary Sue Coleman as well as former and current U-M faculty, NGP alumni, current students, and guest speakers from notable neuroscience institutions such as John’s Hopkins, Michigan State University, and the University of Washington were in attendance to celebrate the NGP's 50th Anniversary and its many successes.
Carol Elias, Ph.D., NGP Director, introduced a video celebrating the Neuroscience Graduate Program’s 50th Anniversary, which featured many of the program’s former directors reflecting on their time with the program. Dr. Elias also shared her vision for the future of NGP, saying "We hope to stimulate the involvement of a higher number of faculty in mentoring, curriculum debate, recruitment, and leadership. NGP also will seek to invigorate its relationship with MNI and the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience, increasing diversity of experiences, ideas, backgrounds, and spreading collaboration."
Guests listened intently as President Coleman took to the podium to discuss the importance of neuroscience at Michigan before Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., introduced the night’s keynote speaker, Gary Landreth, Ph.D., Martin Professor of Alzheimer’s Research at Indiana University. The title of Dr. Landreth's speech was “Dorothy, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore... and Other Things Learned Along the Way in Life and Science.” Drs. Feldman and Landreth were both members of the very first NGP student cohort.
The evening concluded with music performed by the music group Pidgen – an NGP community group that is part of a program funded through the Rackham Faculty Ally Grant. During Thursday evening’s musical performance, the talents of the following individuals were showcased: NGP Students Margaret Chapman, Kate Giffin & Rachel Rucker, Rachel Walhberg, and Dr. Carrie Ferrario, Pharmacology and NGP faculty member, who was accompanied by her spouse Mark Newman.
Science Talks and Break Outs
Friday's program was filled with engaging scientific talks from both U-M faculty and students as well as NGP alumni researchers. Lunchtime breakout sessions brought faculty, students, and NGP alumni together to discuss various career opportunities, including For-Profit Organizations/Startup, Non-Profit Organizations/Education, Teaching/Research at Smaller Institutions, Pharmaceutical/Biotech, and Science Communication.
Christian Burgess, Ph.D., Director of the U-M Neuroscience Innovators, provided closing remarks and welcomed all to take part in a closing reception.
Photos from the NGP Celebration and 3rd Annual Neuroscience Conference can be viewed here. Did you attend the event and have photos to share? Send them to Michigan-Neuroscience-Institute@umich.com to have them added to the event’s official photo album!