On May 14th, UC-Davis held their first-ever Postdoctoral Research Symposium, which was organized by fellow postdoc Dr. Kaisa Kajala as a part of her “Professors for the Future” fellowship. My abstract for the symposium was selected among those submitted to be an oral presentation rather than a poster, which not only meant that I would gain more experience giving talks to a broad scientific audience, but it meant that I would be competing for a $500 Best Talk Award!
A photo of me presenting at the symposium. Photo by Lilia Kurmanaeva.
The one-day symposium was full of fascinating presentations across many disciplines, and I felt for the first time since arriving at UC-Davis in the fall of 2013 that I was part of a greater community of postdocs here in Davis. Postdocs can often end up isolated, but this event was a great success in bringing together a large number of us to present our research, network, and socialize. Kaisa and the rest of her organizing committee did a wonderful job putting together a full day of both through-provoking presentations and relaxing time to socialize over food and drinks.
Best Talk winners, joined by organizer Kaisa Kajala (left). Photo by Lilia Kurmanaeva.
At the end of the day, there was an awards reception with hors d’oeuvres and beer, sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company. During the reception, it was announced that I was the winner of the Best Talk in my session! I am thrilled to have been chosen among such great presenters. I hope that another postdoc takes the reigns next year to organize the “Second Annual” Postdoctoral Research Symposium so it becomes an yearly tradition.
It’s somewhat unfortunate that there’s a typo in the certificate, but oh well, I’ll take it!
As a researcher who studies the biology of monogamy, I have witnessed a regular, annual bump in the media attention that our research receives, which always occurs around Valentine’s Day. During graduate school, each February my PhD advisor would be interviewed for various news outlets, be they local or national, printed or video. This year, both my current postdoc advisor and my previous PhD advisor were interviewed for short segments about their research on the behavior and neurobiology of the monogamous prairie vole.
First, my postdoc advisor, Dr. Karen L. Bales, was interviewed for a ~10 minute radio segment on the California-based, Capitol Public Radio. Follow this link, or click the screenshot to the right, to learn about the Science of Monogamy on their radio show.
Second, my PhD advisor, Dr. Larry J. Young was interviewed by USA Today, as was my friend and previous labmate, Dr. Hasse Walum, who is currently a postdoc in the Young Lab. Senior graduate student and friend of mine, Lanikea King, also makes an appearance! Click on the screenshot below to check out the short (~1.5 minute) video!
At the end of the summer, my friend Alyssa Lempsis had a solo show at an art gallery in Oakland, CA called Aggregate Space. I went to see her work, and she introduced me to the gallery owner, Conrad Meyers. He told me that their next show was going to be a group show with work only by scientists. This work would consist of images that were generated during their experimental process. When I told him that I’m a neuroscientist and have some brain images that I find to be visually appealing, he told me to submit them and perhaps they’d end up in the show.
And a few weeks later, they did! My work is now displayed on a large light table on one side of the gallery: several dozen 8.5 x 11″ transparencies printed with the brain sections from my dissertation work. It is situated among work from 8 other scientists in the Bay Area, which range from videos of cells in culture to crustacean morphology to network models of a food chain of a coral reef.
One week after the opening, I participated on a panel with the three curators for a Q&A session a week after the show opened, and afterwards, I met Danna Staaf, a science writer for KQED. She interviewed me again later for an article she was writing about the show, and it was just published today! Check it out below:
Today, the California National Research Center (CNPRC) published a small press release highlighting my recently published dissertation work, as well as some of my plans for ongoing and future research in my current position there as a postdoc. Check it out to find out about my previous research findings and plans for the future!
Slicing human brain tissue (from the NICHD Brain and Tissue Bank) on a cryostat at the CNPRC
I am thrilled to report that all of my dissertation data has now been published!
My first paper, “The neuroanatomical anatomical distribution of oxytocin receptor binding and mRNA in the male rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta)” was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
My second paper, “Neuroanatomical distribution of oxytocin and vasopressin 1a receptors in the socially monogamous coppery titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus)”, was published in the journal Neuroscience.
I am currently working on a review paper as well, and I have several co-authorships on upcoming papers from my post-doctoral work in the Bales lab.
My course, “Intersex: Biology & Gender” was written up in a new article from the Laney Graduate School at Emory University as an example of the interdisciplinary courses that have been/are being developed by Dean’s Teaching Fellows. Very proud to be highlighted here!
Some of my thesis work contributed to a proposal for a large NIH center grant, which was recently awarded to my current place of work: Emory University and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. In the current funding climate, I feel so proud of my colleagues and collaborators in putting together this successful, multi-year, multi-million dollar grant! Special congrats to my thesis advisor, Dr. Larry Young, for spearheading and chairing this ambitious endeavor. I can’t wait to see the incredible research that comes out of it in the years to come.
The wonderful Karen Rommelfanger from Emory’s Neuroethics program has reblogged the eScienceCommons article about my intersex course on this great blog about neuroethics and female leaders:
Emory News got hold of the article that Carol Clark wrote for eScienceCommons and reposted it. Although its the same article, now it’s receiving wider circulation! Very exciting! And it’s perfect timing, too, because I’m one of the guest speakers for tonight’s Emory Women In Neuroscience (EWIN) event. I’ll be speaking about developing interdisciplinary coursework and teaching neuroscience to a broader audience. Looking forward to it!
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Carol Clark for an article she was writing for Emory’s eScienceCommons about the course I designed and taught last fall. We chatted for almost 2 hours, and she did a really excellent job synthesizing what we talked about. Check out the article here!