T he annual Sackler Oktoberfest was held on October 23 in Jaharis 508, and organized the Social committee of the Sackler GSC. One of the more well-attended events of the semester, the Oktoberfest saw around 65-70 attendees eager to indulge in the festivities. As always, there was the popular stein hoisting competition for males and females, separately. 10/10 would attend again – the experience was well worth the $2 donation.
Are you interested in getting some teaching and outreach experience? If so, consider volunteering to participate in the fall semester’s BIOBUGS (Biology Inquiry and Outreach with Boston University Graduate Students) program. BIOBUGS is a week-long program where we invite Boston area high school biology classes to come to Boston University and participate in a newly redesigned 3 hour lab, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy!
Guest Post by Michaela Tolman
On Thursday October 8th, the Neuroscience Department hosted its 7th annual Neuroscience Symposium and William Shucart Lecture. The daylong event brings together neuroscience enthusiasts from the entire Tufts community, including the Departments of Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Neurology as well as the basic science departments of Tufts University School of Medicine. The day is filled with talks celebrating the cutting edge of neuroscience research and stimulating conversations. The final lecture of the day honors William Shucart, MD. With nearly 200 people in attendance, the 2015 Symposium was a great success.
This year, Dr. Thomas Biederer of the Neuroscience department served as symposium director. Invited speakers included Dr. QiuFu Ma from Dana-Farber/Harvard Medical School: “Spinal circuits transmitting mechanical pain”, Dr Scott Soderling from Duke University Medical Center: “Actin badly – cytoskeletal drivers of neuropsychiatric disorder”, Dr. Elly Nedivi from MIT: “Structural dynamics of inhibitory synapses”, Dr. Pavel Osten from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories: “Automated analysis of functional and anatomical circuits in the mouse brain”, and Dr. Christina Alberini from New York University: “Molecular mechanisms of memory consolidation and enhancement”. Students and post docs had the opportunity to meet the speakers in small groups during lunch and talk more in depth about their research and experiences.
The day concluded with Dr. Gordon Fishell from New York University giving the 2015 William Shucart Lecture on his work in the field of interneuron development. Dr. Philip Haydon, chair of the Neuroscience Department, describes in his welcome Dr. Shucart’s contribution to the Neuroscience Department, “…William Shucart, MD, who at that time was chair of Neurosurgery, recognized the importance of basic Neuroscience and was unwavering in his support for the formation of our Department. It is only fitting therefore that the last lecture recognizes his important contributions.” Previous Shucart Lecturers include Dr. Martha Constantine-Paton, Dr. Karl Deisseroth, and Dr. Mark Schnitzer to name a few. More information can be found on the Symposium website at http://medicine.tufts.edu/Education/Academic-Departments/Basic-Science-Departments/Neuroscience/Neuroscience-Symposium-and-Shucart-Lecture and the Neuroscience Department’s Facebook page.
Michaela Tolman is a Neuroscience PhD Candidate in the Yang lab, studying astrocyte maturation and functional development. She is also the current President of the Sackler Graduate Student Council.
Guest Post by Alex Jones
Of the myriad skills a scientist must have in his repertoire, arguably the most important is the ability to clearly present his findings. Whether speaking amongst colleagues, giving a talk at a scientific meeting or simply answering the age-old question, “So, what do you do?” at a cocktail party, the need for better scientific communication skills is ever present. But how does one improve their public speaking abilities insofar as they relate to science? The answer is as simple as it is nerve-wracking (at least for some); that is, speaking publicly about science.
With this in mind, on October 20th, the Sackler Graduate Student Council Career Paths committee and the Tufts Biomedical Business Club teamed up to present the first “Sackler Science Open Mic Night”. The goal of the event was for students to present short, two to three minute talks covering some aspect of their research and to help each other workshop these talks, in the hopes of improving. This “flash talk” style of presentation is challenging as it leaves only enough time for the speaker to present the most crucial aspects of their research, but it is also one of the most frequently used skills whether it be at a networking event, an interview, or even in response to that question at a cocktail party.
Professor Dan Jay joined students for the event and to kick it off he gave a flash talk of his own on a favorite subject of his, “the intersection between art and science”. Student presenters from all over Sackler gave talks ranging from astrocytes (and their communication with neurons via vesicular release of transmitters) to v-ATPases (and the signaling pathways that control their assembly). Presenters and spectators alike made the event a success, providing tons of feedback on how to improve those talks for future presentations. Keep an eye out for more events similar to the Sackler Science Open Mic Night in the future as the Sackler Graduate Student Council and Tufts Biomedical Business Club look for more ways to promote scientific communication.
Alex Jones is a Neuroscience PhD student in the Reijmers lab studying changes in molecular profile of neurons during memory formation. He also serves as the current Treasurer of the Sackler Graduate Student Council.