Twinkle, twinkle, little neuron

As a third time attendee of SfN, the scope and magnitude of this conference no longer intimidated me as I walked through the doors of the convention center in New Orleans. After recently graduating and taking a long sojourn in the mountains of Montana to collect myself after 8 years of intensive education, I came this year refreshed and with new perspectives on the meaning and importance of neuroscience research. At first I thought that it would be difficult to assimilate again into the community, but after presenting my poster (stumbling through my explanations to my first passer-by) my knowledge and experience again took hold, and I found the enthusiasm for my work which once drove me to excel in research.
Of course, with nearly 30,000 attendees in this conference, my paltry knowledge of neuroscience is clearly evident as I walk through the maze of posters represented my PhD’s, MD’s, and titans of the field. However, as I mentioned last year in one blog post, neuroscience research is a collective effort, and contributions from all levels and areas are important.
For the last two months, I have been living in the mountains. I have hiked hundreds of miles throughout western Montana, and seen things that many dream about throughout their lives but never get the chance to experience. So often at night, I look at the stars, contemplate the vastness and infinite nature of the universe, but somehow am always drawn to think about the brain in terms of the heavens. The star studded skies remind me of looking at fluorescent stains under the microscope, and the hundreds of constellations I imagine as circuitry representing the balance and perfection of the human brain. Both space and the brain remain some of the last frontiers for human exploration, for a comparable amount is known about each (not very much I should say.) Watching the thousands of people involved in brain research milling about this conference brings hope that the mystery of the human brain will one day be illuminated, and perhaps the daunting question which has plagued neuroscientists from the conception of this study, “What is consciousness?” may one day be revealed by the collective efforts of international brain researchers. I am hopeful for this at least.
While presenting my poster, I had a number of people come from all sectors of research and ask me questions about this mysterious supplement called choline. One of the most notable of my visitors was from Dannon baby food company out of the Netherlands. Never had I considered the pharmacological nature of choline research to interest a food company, but after discussing the importance of good ingredients for a developing brain, I realized how the research done in the Glenn lab has far reaching applications in a variety of sectors. Other scientists studying acetylcholine, muscarinic receptors and their relationship to memory performance came to hear me speak, and I smiled at their enthusiasm for research which I have not touched or thought about in many months. I believe my fire for neuroscience research has been rekindled, and I now know that any contribution I make to the field, no matter how small, will be appreciated by at least a few, and perhaps benefit man in the sAs a third time attendee of SfN, the scope and magnitude of this conference no longer intimidated me as I walked through the doors of the convention center in New Orleans. After recently graduating and taking a long sojourn in the mountains of Montana to collect myself after 8 years of intensive education, I came this year refreshed and with new perspectives on the meaning and importance of neuroscience research. At first I thought that it would be difficult to assimilate again into the community, but after presenting my poster (stumbling through my explanations to my first passer-by) my knowledge and experience again took hold, and I found the enthusiasm for my work which once drove me to excel in research.
Of course, with nearly 30,000 attendees in this conference, my paltry knowledge of neuroscience is clearly evident as I walk through the maze of posters represented my PhD’s, MD’s, and titans of the field. However, as I mentioned last year in one blog post, neuroscience research is a collective effort, and contributions from all levels and areas are important.
For the last two months, I have been living in the mountains. I have hiked hundreds of miles throughout western Montana, and seen things that many dream about throughout their lives but never get the chance to experience. So often at night, I look at the stars, contemplate the vastness and infinite nature of the universe, but somehow am always drawn to think about the brain in terms of the heavens. The star studded skies remind me of looking at fluorescent stains under the microscope, and the hundreds of constellations I imagine as circuitry representing the balance and perfection of the human brain. Both space and the brain remain some of the last frontiers for human exploration, for a comparable amount is known about each (not very much I should say.) Watching the thousands of people involved in brain research milling about this conference brings hope that the mystery of the human brain will one day be illuminated, and perhaps the daunting question which has plagued neuroscientists from the conception of this study, “What is consciousness?” may one day be revealed by the collective efforts of international brain researchers. I am hopeful for this at least.
While presenting my poster, I had a number of people come from all sectors of research and ask me questions about this mysterious supplement called choline. One of the most notable of my visitors was from Dannon baby food company out of the Netherlands. Never had I considered the pharmacological nature of choline research to interest a food company, but after discussing the importance of good ingredients for a developing brain, I realized how the research done in the Glenn lab has far reaching applications in a variety of sectors. Other scientists studying acetylcholine, muscarinic receptors and their relationship to memory performance came to hear me speak, and I smiled at their enthusiasm for research which I have not touched or thought about in many months. I believe my fire for neuroscience research has been rekindled, and I now know that any contribution I make to the field, no matter how small, will be appreciated by at least a few, and perhaps benefit man in the slightest of ways. I want to thank Melissa Glenn, for allowing me for third time, this opportunity to come share my research and my enthusiasm for this subject, and enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow colleagues at SfN.
lightest of ways. I want to thank Melissa Glenn, for allowing me for third time, this opportunity to come share my research and my enthusiasm for this subject, and enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow colleagues at SfN.

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