As the leaves change colors this fall and 2023 rapidly comes to an end, Washington, D.C. will once again host the world's largest convening of neuroscientists at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, taking place from November 11-15. Simply put, it is one of my favorite times of the year as we benefit from front row seats to the latest cutting-edge scientific advances, take time to catch up with old friends, and connect with new NINDS grantees — especially the up-and-coming generation of neuroscience trainees. As our home base of Bethesda is a short distance away, NINDS will be out in full force at the meeting, and I'd like to share a few opportunities to meet our staff and get to know our Institute. Whether you can make it in person or not, please refer to our NINDS at Neuroscience 2023 event page that mirrors the content and opportunities shared at our onsite exhibit. This page will include information on our programs, initiatives, funding announcements, career opportunities, and other resources relevant to attendees of the annual Neuroscience meeting.
For those attending in person, you can find NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices supporting neuroscience research — including NINDS — at Booth #3401 in the main exhibit hall. Look for signs and scientific images of neurons and brains — you can't miss us! At the booth, you'll be able to: catch up on funding opportunities, learn about our programs and initiatives, meet one-on-one with NINDS program staff (via appointments which can be scheduled in advance), and even give us your honest feedback on how NINDS resources, including our website, could be more useful to you.
Additionally, NINDS staff are hosting or involved in several scientific presentations and programs. Back by popular demand are several opportunities to learn how NINDS supports diversity in the neuroscience workforce, including:
- The 13th Annual Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through: Undergraduate Research Education Experiences (ENDURE) Meeting (morning of Saturday, November 11);
- The Diversity Poster Session featuring NINDS-supported trainees (evening of Saturday, November 11);
- A session on “Building Up the Nerve” to Develop Your NIH Training Application (Monday, November 13); and
- A reception celebrating our NINDS-supported diverse trainees and community (evening of Monday, November 13).
On Sunday, November 12, I will also be moderating a press briefing focusing on health equity in neurological disorders with colleagues from across NIH where reporters can hear the latest on our efforts in this space. Panelists will include experts from NINDS, the National Eye Institute (NEI), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). This effort complements our recent strategic planning effort to advance health equity in neurological disorders, which I wrote about previously.
You can also hear from our experts on research quality and rigor at a session on “Doing Our Part to Change the Culture of Science: Becoming a Champion for Rigor” (Saturday, November 11). That same day, you can also speak with NINDS staff and learn more about NIH’s new data management and sharing policy during the “Practical Guide to Data Management and Sharing Mandates” session. And, there will be many other opportunities to engage with NINDS staff and grantees in social settings, such as at the “Tools, Tech, & Theory: A BRAIN Initiative Alliance Social” and the U.S.-Japan Brain Research Cooperative Program (BRCP) Networking Session on Sunday, November 12, or during the “NINDS Therapeutic Development Projects: Posters and Discussions with Grantees and NIH Staff” (Tuesday, November 13). Timing and details on these sessions, and many more, are available on the NINDS at Neuroscience 2023 event page.
Personally, I always look forward to hearing about the latest science, including from investigators supported through the NIH BRAIN Initiative. In the special lecture on Saturday, November 11 on “The Neuroscience of Dynamic Social Behavior: Uncovering Circuit Mechanisms in Drosophila,” Dr. Mala Murthy will discuss her work on developing a whole-brain connectome for the fly brain and understanding how the 130,000 neurons of the fly brain enable social interaction. I’m also excited to hear about the creation of new tools for neuroscience – a key goal of the NIH BRAIN Initiative – at the Albert and Ellen Grass Lecture on Monday, November 13 on the "Inner Workings of Channelrhodopsins and Nervous Systems" given by Dr. Karl Deisseroth. Dr. Deisseroth’s talk will provide insights on the fundamental survival drives of animals – such as thirst and hunger – at single-cell resolution, as well as the highest integrative functions of the brain.
I am grateful for the steady and thoughtful return of in-person conferences and look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, D.C. soon. It’s a busy time for neuroscientists, but it’s one of the best ways to learn about all the new research going on in one place at one time. We are looking forward to connecting with you, so please say hello and introduce yourself to NINDS staff while you’re there!