National honorary Nu Rho Psi inauguration marks 2012 NeuroFrontiers Workshop

Nu Rho Psi is the National Honor Society in Neuroscience, founded in 2006 by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience. T...
April 14, 2012

A Rosalind Franklin Medical School expert on Parkinson’s disease joins BIO346 Molecular Neuroscience students as these students role-play world famous neuroscientists at a unique annual scientific research conference on April 28 at Lake Forest College from 8 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. in Johnson Science Center Room 200 and at McCormick Auditorium. This workshop celebrates the inauguration of Gamma Chapter of Illinois of Nu Rho Psi (the national neuroscience honorary) at Lake Forest College.

What is Nu Rho Psi?

Nu Rho Psi is the National Honor Society in Neuroscience, founded in 2006 by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience. The Lake Forest College Chapter became the 26th member of this national organization in spring 2012. In selecting Lake Forest College, national reviewers commented (as excerpted here): “Lake Forest College is well equipped to foster a chapter of Nu Rho Psi. Their curriculum seems appropriate for a College of their size. The college already has a neuroscience culture which involves student and faculty participation. A majority of students pursuing coursework in neuroscience are engaged in neuroscience outside of the classroom (e.g., research and internships). The involvement of the student body in various extracurricular activities indicate a rich atmosphere for studying science at Lake Forest College.”

Nine neuroscience majors and two faculty will be inducted as Charter members of the society at 4:00 PM:

Sydni Cole ‘12
Daniella Brutman ‘12
Madhavi Senagolage ‘12
Anneliese Szutenbach ‘12
Natalie Kukulka ‘13
Amanda Allred ‘14
Katrina Campbell ‘14
Victoria Egedus ‘14
Megan Joy E. Escanilla ‘14
Dr. Shubhik DebBurman, Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Robert Glassman, Professor of Psychology

What is NeuroFrontiers?

Now in its 12th year, this unique public conference is sponsored by the Biology Department and the Neuroscience Program. It is the non-traditional final exam in the course BIO346 Molecular Neuroscience taken by biology, neuroscience and psychology majors their junior or senior year.  On the first day of class, each student was assigned to role-play a world leader in a subfield of neuroscience. Through the course of the semester, the student researched, read, and synthesized the major papers published by the scientist over his/her scientific career to deeply understand how scientific knowledge accrues over time and how an individual scientist can make important biomedical contributions.  In this process, each student typically read 30-40 articles published over a span 2-3 decades.

During the workshop, each role-playing student becomes the scientist and presents a professional 30-minute seminar on the career length contributions to neuroscience. The student also authors a review article on this topic that is published in the in-house annual NeuroFrontiers journal, now its twelfth edition.

To make this conference as real as possible, a noted Chicago area neuroscientist is invited to participate in the entire workshop, present his/her own research as the workshop’s Keynote Address, and to facilitate scientific dialogue between each role-playing student as they critically integrate individual scientist seminars into the broader context of understanding the complex relationship between brain, mind and behavior and the current challenges and the future of biomedicine.

Over 130 students have participated in this workshop since 1998, with more than 105 of them headed for or already pursuing careers in biomedicine.

The Twelfth NeuroFrontiers Workshop, April 28, 8 am - 5:15 pm

- 4:30 PM
Dr. Anthony West, Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS), will deliver the Keynote Address on the topic “Novel Treatments in Parkinson’s Disease”.

Dr. West received his B.A. from St. John’s University (MN) in psychology with a minor in biology and his PhD in Cellular and Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University.  West did his postdoctoral training in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2004, he received the Board of Trustees Award at RFUMS, where he is currently Vice-Chair of the Department of Neuroscience. He is an expert in the field of neurological diseases and has published more than a dozen articles on this topic in journals that include Biological Psychiatry, Journal of Neuroscience, Nature Neuroscience and Plos One.

Dr. West has mentored Lake Forest College science majors as LFC-RFUMS summer research fellows, including the current senior thesis of biology and chemistry senior, Pete Sullivan ‘12.


Registration: Johnson Bridge: 7:30 AM, Coffee, Juice, Bagels

Introduction: 7:50 AM, Kayla Ahlstrand ‘12 and Nikki Yeomans ‘14, Workshop Co-Chairs

Session I: Regeneration Frontiers, 8:00 am – 8:30 am

1. Dr. Stephen Strittmatter, HHMI/Yale University, “Axonal Regeneration in the CNS is a NOGO”, role-played by Ms. Anneliese Szutenbach ‘12


Session II: Cognitive Frontiers, 8:30 am – 9:30 am

2. Dr. Ursula Bellugi, The Salk Institute, “Happy Faces, Absent Genes: Deletions underlie distinct WS Profile”, role-played by Ms. Jody Buck ’13

3. Dr. Stephen Warren, Emory University, “FMRP: Fragile X Mutant MisRegulates Proteins ”, role-played by Ms. Sydni Cole ’12

Break: 9:30-9:45 AM

Session III: Thesis Frontiers
, 9:45 AM - 11:50 AM

4. Mr. Pete Sullivan ‘12, “L-DOPA Treatment in Parkinson’s Disease: Nitric oxide dysfunction and side effects” (9:45 am)
5. Ms. Shabana Yusufishaq ‘12, “Modeling Autism in Rats: Living alone linked to poor social learning” (10:10 am)
6. Mr. Pascal Accoh ‘12, “Marijuana and Frontal Lobe Development: Lessons from rodents” (10:35 am)
7. Ms. Daniella Brutman ‘12, “Splicing and Genetic risk in Alzheimer’s Disease” (11:00 am)
8. Ms. Madhavi Senagolage ‘12, “Lost Balance: Alpha-synuclein degradation in Parkinson’s Disease” (11:25 am)

Student/Speaker Lunch: 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm, The Commons Cafeteria

Session V: RNA Frontiers, 1:30 – 2:00 pm

9. Dr. Gideon Dreyfuss, University of Pennsylvania, “SMA: The splicing disarray in SMN1 protein”, role-played by Ms. Ashley Reich ‘13    

Session IV: Neurodegeneration Frontiers,
2:00 – 3:30 pm

10. Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Baylor College of Medicine/HHMI, “Development of a Balancing Act: Brain, Rett Syndrome & SCA”, role-played by Kristi Johnson ‘12

11. Dr. Stanley Prusiner, UC San Francisco, “Prions: The dogma defying, DNA denying proteins”, role-played by Mr. Sajan Koirala ‘12

12. Dr. Susan Lindquist, Whitehead Institute/MIT/HHMI. “Evolution of protein shapes: Novel agents of inheritance & disease” role-played by Ms. Natalie Kukulka ‘13

BETA BETA BETA RECEPTION: 3:30- 4:00 PM, McCormick Auditorium Lobby


KEYNOTE LECTURE 4:15-5:15 PM, McCormick Auditorium

“Novel Treatments in Parkinson’s Disease”, by Dr. Anthony West, Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science