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Community Newsletter: Highlights from Neuroscience 2022

by  /  20 November 2022
Speech bubble formed by a network of communication

Illustration by Laurène Boglio

In this week’s Community Newsletter, we’re bringing you highlights from Neuroscience 2022, the 51st annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which took place 12 to 16 November in San Diego, California.

The conference kicked off with a lecture from Ardem Patapoutian, professor of neuroscience at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, titled “How do you feel? The molecules that sense touch.” Patapoutian discussed the Nobel Prize-winning work from his lab that identified and characterized the pressure-activated cation channels PIEZO2 — the principal mechanical transducer for touch, proprioception, baroreception and bladder stretch — and PIEZO1, which plays many mechanosensory roles throughout the body.

“Here is the view from the stage,” Patapoutian tweeted, sharing a picture he took while giving his talk. He also mentioned his favorite encounter: a young attendee who asked if he knew Beyoncé and then just walked away when he said no.

The main draw of the meeting is all the research being presented, and many autism researchers were tweeting about posters and sessions related to the field.

One study that caught our attention examined brain activity in autistic people and autism mouse models, presented by Marco Pagani, a research fellow at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. “Can we link brain activity to autism etiologies? Can we use those measurements to decompose autism heterogeneity into subtypes? Come and see how we sorted this out with mouse and human fMRI connectivity mapping!” tweeted Pagani. Also, see Spectrum’s video of Pagani at his poster.

Matt Isaacson, a postdoctoral researcher in the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, York, shared a video about “a VR headset for mouse neuroscience/behavior!”

The device is a “big step towards miniaturized wearable VR for freely moving animals,” tweeted Madineh Sarvestani, a research fellow at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter.

The poster hall was another highlight of Neuroscience 2022. Tuan Chao, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, tweeted a picture of Maimuna Paul, a postdoctoral associate in Chao’s lab, presenting her poster.

“It was a great experience presenting at #SfN2022,” tweeted Paul, who described a series of experiments in which she used fruit flies to explore how rare de novo variants in the gene PPFIA3 contribute to autism, seizures, intellectual disability and other delays in children with those mutations. Spectrum featured Paul and Chao in a video about the work at Neuroscience 2022.

Research aside, the meeting had lighter moments, too. Jonathan Kipnis, professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, shared an amusing interaction he had “in the elevator at #SfN22:”

The end of the meeting on Wednesday sparked goodbye tweets, such as this one from Megan Lipton, a graduate student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, who wrote that she “closed out my time at #SfN22 watching the sunset and reflecting on the past few months.”

That’s it for this week’s Community Newsletter! If you have any suggestions for interesting social posts you saw in the autism research sphere, feel free to send an email to [email protected].

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TAGS:   autism, community