12th Annual Center for Biomedical Neurosciences (CBN) Retreat


CBN Retreat 2013The 12th Annual Center for Biomedical Neuroscience (CBN) Retreat was held Friday, May 9th, 2014, on the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio North campus, at the GCCRI Commons and Auditorium. Over forty 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 in South Central Texas, serving as an umbrella organization for all research and teaching activities related to the discipline of Neuroscience, the study of the brain and nervous system at all levels. Neuroscience is an inherently multidisciplinary endeavor to understand the biological basis for behavior, including such diverse fields as neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, neuroimaging and neuropsychology, with affiliated clinical disciplines that include, but are not limited to, ophthalmology, neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry. All of these areas of research were represented in the poster presentations at the retreat.

CBN Retreat 2014The event began with a welcome 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. Judges made their 'rounds' to various presenters, listening to presentations and asking a variety of questions about each of the respective research projects.

A series of three featured faculty platform talks then followed the first round of presentations. This years platform speakers included:

  • Erzsebet Kokovay, Ph.D. (pictured below, left)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, UTHSCSA

    Title: 'The Aging Neural Stem Cell Microenvironment'

  • P. John Hart, Ph.D. (pictured below, center)
  • Ewing Halsell-Presidents Council Distinguished Professor, Department of Biochemistry, UTHSCSA

    Title: 'The Intron Debranching Enzyme (Dbr1) in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis'

  • Anibal Diogenes, Ph.D. (pictured below, right)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Endodontics, UTHSCSA

    Title: 'From the Clinic to the Lab: Neurons Find Their Way'

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

    CBN Retreat 2014

    CBN Retreat 2014

    CBN Retreat 2014


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

    CBN Retreat 2014CBN retreat attendees then gathered in the Auditorium for Dr. Morilak's 'State of the CBN' address and the introduction of the CBN Retreat's keynote speaker, who this year was Amelia Eisch, Ph.D. (pictured right, click picture to view presentation video), Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Eisch's talk was titled: 'New neurons in the adult brain: What is adult neurogenesis good for? And what is good for it?'.

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

    2014 CBN Poster Presentation Winners

    Student Category Postdoctoral Fellow Category Junior Faculty Category Researcher/Technician Category Undergraduate
    1st Place - Tabita Kreko 1st Place - Elizabeth Piccart 1st Place - Milena Girotti, Ph.D. 1st Place - Seul Lee 1st Place - Eric Flores
    2nd Place - MJ Moerke 2nd Place - Sonya Bierbower
    3rd Place - Allison Dugan 3rd Place - Stpehanie Perez

    In addition to the annual retreat, the CBN conducts several events throughout the year to integrate existing and emerging strengths in neuroscience research and education at the UTHSCSA. These include the annual Brain Bowl, various CBN Seminars, the Mariann Blum Memorial Lectureship in the Neurosciences and the CBN reception at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. The CBN also funds collaborative pilot research projects, and administers the interdisciplinary pre-doctoral Graduate Program in Neuroscience.

    The CBN would like to thank the volunteer poster session judges for performing what is at best a difficult task. This year the judges were, in the Student category: Drs. Gould, Hensler and Kim, in the Postdoctoral category: Drs. Eaton, Kokovay and Lodge and in the Junior Faculty and Researcher/Technician categories: Drs. Beckstead, Jeske and Lechleiter. In addition, thanks also to Bethany Reid, Pharmacology Program Coordinator for the CBN, for her assistance to Dr. Morilak with all aspects of the retreat; Marlys Quick for her administrative support; Joel Hager for his IT and A/V support and Sandy Westerman for her administrative leadership. See you next year!


    View the 2014 CBN Retreat Photo Gallery