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Dave Werner, PhD, was recently chosen as a Winter Conference on Brain Research (WCBR) Travel Fellowship Awardee. The WCBR Travel Fellowship program has been an active component of the conference for the past 20 years. The intent of the Fellowship program is to foster the attendance of young neuroscientists at the beginning stages of their career. Werner attended the 42nd WCBR in January in Copper Mountain, Colorado. While at the meeting, Werner presented his recent work pertaining to ethanol-induced regulation of alpha4 subunit-containing GABA(A) receptors. Specifically, his work showed that ethanol regulates the membrane expression of thalamic alpha4 subunit-containing GABA(A) receptors in vivo, and these changes are correlated with alterations in the expression of specific protein kinase C isoforms. Moreover, ethanol alters the phosphorylation of these receptors. Additional in vitro experiments suggest that activation of protein kinase C increased alpha4 subunits in a similar fashion to ethanol and that the gamma PKC isoform may play an important role in the membrane trafficking of alpha4 subunit-containing GABA(A) receptors.

This year’s WCBR was attended by over 500 scientists from across the globe.