The UNC Neurobiology Curriculum presents its annual Pierre Morell Neuroscience Retreat (PMNR; formerly Pierre Morell Research Day) from Thursday, May 19 to Friday, May 20, 2016. This year, the event is being combined with our first annual overnight Neuroscience retreat and will be held at the Haw River State Park Summit Center. We are pleased to host Dr. Kevin Wright as our guest speaker this year. Dr. Wright is an assistant scientist at the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health & Science University who received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from UNC in 2006. We are honored to have him return to his doctoral institution as part of PMNR. His research interests include using genetic approaches to study neurodevelopment, with a focus on axon guidance, neuronal migration, syntaptogenesis, and neural circuitry.


Click here for directions
Click here for Director’s Retreat memo

We are pleased to have a variety of faculty, post-doctoral, and student speakers showcasing their exciting research at this year’s retreat. The following is a tentative schedule of events:

May 19 (Thursday)

  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM — Oral Presentations
    • Sarah Shoenrock, Tarantino Lab – “Novel animal models of initial cocaine sensitivity using Collaborative Cross mice”
    • Chris Mazzone, Kash Lab – “Chemogenetic investigation of signaling pathways modulating anxiety-related behavior in the extended amygdala”
    • Matt Judson, PhD, Philpot Lab – “Genetic dissection of hyperexcitable circuits in Angelman Syndrome”
    • Zoe McElligott, PhD – “Central amygdala neurotensin neurons regulate alcohol consumption, positive valence and sedation”
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM — Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM — Free Time
    • During this year’s retreat, we have included free time to explore the vibrant outdoor location, featuring:
      • Hiking trails
      • Disc Golf
      • Canoeing
      • *Sign up sheets will be available during lunchtime in the Cafeteria
  • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM — Oral Presentations
    • Kelly Carstens, Dudek Lab – “Perineural nets in hippocampal area CA2: a role in restricting synaptic plasticity”
    • Jenna McHenry, PhD, Stuber Lab – “Identification of a steroid-gated hypothalamic reward circuit”
    • Jason Stein, PhD – “Chromatin organization driving neurogenesis in the developing human brain”
    • Mark Zylka, PhD – “Autism research at UNC”
  • 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM — Dinner
  • 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Keynote Speaker
      Kevin Wright, PhD – “Scaffolding neural circuit development with dystroglycan”
  • 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM — Poster Presentations and Cocktail Hour
  • 10:00 PM — Campfire

* Presentations will be held in the Grove Auditorium
** Meals will be in the Cafeteria

May 20 (Friday)

  • 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM — Breakfast
  • 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM — Discussion Groups
    • “Surviving and succeeding in graduate school and your postdoc”
    • “Publishing high impact papers”
    • “”Area of focus: future of neuroscience”
    • “Work-life balance and tools for organization and efficiency”
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM — Lunch
* Breakfast, lunch and discussion groups will be taking place in the Cafeteria
The Pierre Morell Neuroscience Retreat committee was comprised of Jennifer Ocasio, Jessica Bullins, Katie Veleta, Charles Zhou, Veronica Murphy, and Heather Decot.