The George Washington University (GW) once again played host to the GW Institute for Neuroscience (GWIN) Symposium, held on April 25. The eighth annual event focused on the science of language and communication, and among the many presentations were discussions on flexibility of vocal control networks, developmental brain plasticity after pediatric stroke, and neuroscience of autism spectrum disorders.The day-long exploration of the neurosciences originally started after a chance meeting between Leo M. Chalupa, PhD, vice president for research at GW, and Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, PhD, Jeffrey A. Lieberman Professor of Neuroscience, director of GWIN, and professor of anatomy and regenerative biology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, at a conference in Croatia.
“[Chalupa] is someone I admired and knew since the time I was a beginning graduate student,” LaMantia said. “He engaged me in a conversation at a meeting in Croatia, and that was the inception of the Institute for Neuroscience; he became its champion, and he has supported me and the institute thereafter in an exemplary fashion.”
Before the lectures began, Chalupa announced exciting news: the creation of a lecture seminar series for graduate students. It will be a master class in which six or seven well-known neuroscientists will be invited to speak to and meet with students. The students will receive readings about each guest speaker, so they have deeper understanding of his or her research, Chalupa noted. Then the neuroscientists will each meet with the students, as well as give a public lecture.
Following Chalupa’s remarks, the symposium began with a talk from Michael Long, PhD, associate professor of otolaryngology and neuroscience at the New York University School of Medicine. Long’s lecture centered on his study of the song of the Zebra finch, a small bird with a bright orange beak and black-and-white striped tail that sings the same song continually with a …