(November 6, 2012)

Students present research at international neuroscience meeting

SHREVEPORT, LA — Four Centenary students were among the 135 undergraduates to present research at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting recently held in New Orleans. Adrian Capello '15, Luke Lisherness '13, Adam Littleton '13, and Brandon McRae '13 each presented a poster at the Faculty for Undergraduate (FUN) session.

Luke Lisherness presents his research
Luke Lisherness presents his research

"I find it amazing that at this international meeting of over 30,000 neuroscientists, three percent of all undergraduate work was presented by Centenary students," said Dr. Greg Butcher, Associate Professor of Neuroscience. "This speaks very highly of the quality of a Centenary education regardless of major."

Since 2008, all neuroscience majors complete a semester of independent study as part of the program's curriculum. Students in other majors also have the option of completing an independent study in neuroscience and applying that work toward departmental honors in their disciplines. Attending scientific meetings such as SfN enable students to network:

"Presenting at SfN was a unique experience as I was able to have casual conversations with representatives from different graduate programs and have meals with Centenary alumni," said Adrian Capello, a Neuroscience major. "My Centenary experience prepared me to not be afraid to ask difficult questions when attending discussions about neurological discoveries."

The students' research covered a range of neurologic topics, from olfactory sensory neurons to bradykinesia:

  • Capello presented research on the effects of prenatal oxycodone exposure on addiction reliability.

  • McRae tried to identify a marker that could be used for labeling of immature olfactory sensory neurons in mice.

  • Lisherness conducted research on inducing age-related bradykinesia, one of the three key symptoms of Parkinson's disease, in male rats by blocking the action of an important neural growth factor in a specific region of the rat's brain.

  • Littleton focused on improving motivation and productivity on any task by simply redesigning the task in an attempt to validate proposed physiological and subjective measures of participants' mental states.

FUN is an international organization that is focused on neuroscience education and research at the undergraduate level. The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to advancing understanding of the brain and nervous system.