11th Annual Center for Biomedical Neurosciences (CBN) Retreat


CBN Retreat 2013The 11th Annual Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) Retreat was held Friday, May 10th, 2013, on the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio North campus, at the GCCRI Commons and Auditorium. Over fifty abstracts were presented by graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty and researchers/technicians, at the day long event. This event has served as an outstanding venue for bringing together the neuroscientists, on campus, from different schools and departments, including: Biochemistry, Cellular and Structural Biology, Endodontics, Medicine, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychiatry and the Research Imaging Center.

The primary mission of the CBN is to enhance and promote the discipline of neuroscience at the UTHSCSA and South Central Texas, by serving as an umbrella organization for research and teaching activities related to the discipline. Neuroscience is the science of the nervous system, it is the name for the multidisciplinary bodies of science, that analyze the nervous system, to understand the biological basis for behavior and includes diverse basic areas, such as neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology and neuropsychology. Clinical disciplines include, but are not limited to, ophthalmology, neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry.

CBN Retreat 2013The event begins with the welcome message from the CBN Director and Retreat Coordinator, David Morilak, Ph.D. (pictured here, left), who is also a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, at the UTHSCSA.

This was followed by the first poster presentation session, as judges made 'rounds' to various presenters, listening to presentations and asking a variety of questions about each of their respective research projects.

The platform talks follow the first round of presentations. Three speakers are asked to present brief (approximately 15 minutes) talks on their neuroscience related research. This years platform speakers included:

  • Manzoor Bhat, Ph.D. (pictured below, left)
  • Professor and Chair, Department of Physiology, UTHSCSA

    Title: 'Molecular Basis of Saltatory Nerve Conduction'

  • Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D. (pictured below, center)
  • Professor, Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, UTHSCSA

    Title: 'Aging and the NMJ: Importance of Staying Connected'

  • Daniel Lodge, Ph.D. (pictured below, right)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, UTHSCSA

    Title: 'A deficit in hippocampal interneuron function as a primary pathology in schizophrenia'

    (click the speakers image to view their platform talk video)

    CBN Retreat 2013

    CBN Retreat 2013

    CBN Retreat 2013


    After a brief lunch break, the second poster presentation session takes place, again, with judges 'making the rounds'.

    CBN Retreat 2013CBN retreat attendees then gather in the Auditorium for Dr. Morilak's 'State of the CBN' address and the introduction of the CBN Retreat's featured speaker, who this year was Luis de Lecea, M.D. (pictured right, click picture to view presentation video), Professor of Psychiarty and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. de Lecea's talk was titled: 'Optogenetic dissection of arousal'.

    The CBN retreat concludes with Dr. Morilak announcing the poster award winners, in each of the categories, and handing out the certificates and cash awards.

    2013 CBN Poster Presentation Winners

    Student Category Postdoctoral Fellow Category Junior Faculty Category Researcher/Technician Category
    1st Place - Sarah Branch (Beckstead Lab) 1st Place - Jacob Garza, Ph.D. (Lu Lab) 1st Place - Alex Seillier, Ph.D. (Pharmacology) 1st Place - Ashley Wallace (Morilak Lab)
    2nd Place - Dustin Green (Hargreaves Lab) 2nd Place - Jie Zhang, Ph.D. (Shapiro Lab) 2nd Place - Milena Girotti, Ph.D. (Pharmacology)
    3rd Place - Julianne Jett (Morilak Lab) 3rd Place - Laura Sullivan, Ph.D. (Clarke/Berg Lab)

    The CBN conducts several events throughout the year, in addition to the CBN Annual Retreat. These include the annual Brain Bowl, various CBN Seminars and the Mariann Blum Memorial Lectureship in the Neurosciences. In addition, the CBN also sponsors the Interdisciplinary Pre-doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience, integrating existing and emerging strenghts in neuroscience research and education at the UTHSCSA and is also a co-member of the San Antonio Neuroscience Alliance (SANA), an initiative between the UTHSCSA and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), formed to enhance neuroscience research and training at the two institutions.

    The CBN would like to thank the volunteer poster session judges for performing what can be a difficult task. This years judges were, in the Student category: Dr.'s Kokovay, Lechleiter and Lodge, in the Postdoctoral category: Dr.'s Berg and O'Connor and in the Junior Faculty and Researcher/Technician categories: Dr.'s Clarke, Giuffrida and Hensler. In addition, thanks also to Bethany Reid, Pharmacology Program Coordinator, for her assistance to Dr. Morilak with all aspects of the retreat, Donna Jimenez for her administrative support, Joel Hager and Matt Morilak for their IT and A/V support and Sandy Westerman for her administrative leadership. See you next year!


    View the 2013 CBN Retreat Photo Gallery