Science Day

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day

Science Day goals

  • Promote “centeredness” by providing a scientific forum.
  • Provide an opportunity to present significant research findings.
  • Encourage research collaboration.

A Tradition With Innovation

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center supports basic/molecular, applied, and clinical research and training. The VKC has more than 300 faculty researchers, staff, and affiliate members working together across disciplines to create basic and clinical scientific discoveries, to translate research into best practices, and to train the next generation of researchers and practitioners. The ultimate goal is to make positive differences in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

2022 VKC Science Day -- Tuesday, November 1, 2022

2021 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day will take place Tuesday, Nov.1, 2022, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Vanderbilt University Student Life Center. Posters will be hung in the Commodore Ballroom from 10:00-11:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Commodore Ballroom. Science Day festivities will include lunch, two poster sessions, a keynote, and a Data Blitz, closing with a wine/cheese reception.

Advance registration from everyone -- including presenters and faculty judges -- is needed for accurate estimates toward catering and materials. Register to attend by visiting the 2022 Science Day page on the VKC Events Calendar before the by WEDNESDAY, OCT. 26 deadline.

The 2022 VKC Science Day Call for Abstracts is now open!

Visit to submit a poster abstract.

Poster Submission Deadlines:

There are two deadlines to consider when preparing a poster abstract for submittal:

  • The submission deadline for poster presenters wishing to enter the Poster Competition and be considered to present during the Data Blitz is 11:59 p.m. FRIDAY, AUGUST 12. Submissions received after that deadline may still be eligible to present at Science Day but will not be considered for award contention. NOTE: Presenters may opt out of competition at any time through the final abstract submission deadline.
  • The submission deadline for ALL Science Day poster abstracts is 11:59 p.m. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. The submission portal will close after that time, and no additional posters will be accepted. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted.

There is a 425-word limit for all abstracts, and there are pre-divided sections for Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. NOTE: Some Greek symbols will not translate from REDCap to Word or PDF.

Contact Science Day coordinator Elizabeth Turner at with any questions.

2022 VKC Science Day Keynote Speaker:

Details will be shared once they are finalized. Visit the Science Day webpage for updates as plans are solidified.

Poster Sessions:

More than 100 posters will be presented by undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research faculty, and research staff conducting research in labs or research programs of VKC members. Poster submittals are divided among three Science Day research themes (*NEW* definitions of each at the bottom of this page):

  • Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience
  • Clinical, Behavioral, Educational, & Intervention Research
  • Systems Neuroscience

Following Science Day, all poster presenters (first authors) are eligible to submit a request for VKC travel award funding ($250 maximum) to present at a scientific or professional conference before the next Science Day (date TBD). Posters presented at other scientific or professional meetings within the last year are eligible for submission. More information on travel award eligibility may be found here.

Science Day Poster Competition:

Presenters who opt into in the Poster Competition will have two faculty judges visit their poster during their assigned poster session to review the poster and ask questions. Judges will issue scores based on PRESENTATION QUALITY and COMPREHENSION OF THE RESEARCH. Scores will be tabulated by the end of the second poster session.

Up to seven winners will be chosen: one graduate and postdoctoral presenter from each of the three themes (Systems Neuroscience; Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience; and Clinical, Behavioral, Educational, & Intervention Research), as well as one overall undergraduate presenter. The winners will each receive a $250 Warren Lambert Award, in the form of a cash prize or supplemental travel funds to present their research at a scientific meeting during the year.

Data Blitz Consideration:

Presenters who enter the Science Day Poster Competition also submit their abstract for consideration for the Science Day Data Blitz. Following the Aug. 12 deadline, Science Day Program Committee members will review the submitted abstracts in each theme and, based on ABSTRACT QUALITY, will select in advance a small number of presenters to share brief research presentations with the Science Day audience, with time for Q&A.

Science Day Themes and Their Definitions:

Science Day posters are divided into three themes. Please read the definitions of each theme below to determine the category that best fits your poster research:

  • Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience: Posters within this theme feature studies of model organisms, tissues, cells, molecules, or organelles using molecular biology, flow cytometry, imaging cytometry, and/or pharmacological or genetic tools.
  • Clinical, Behavioral, Educational, & Intervention Research: Posters within this theme feature research involving human participants, some of which may be designed to evaluate the effects of an educational or behavioral intervention. The effect of the intervention being evaluated should be a health-related, biomedical, educational, or behavioral outcome. This can include knowledge and quality of life outcomes. The intervention in this case can be defined as a manipulation of the participant's environment for the purpose of modifying one or more of these outcomes. Examples can include delivery systems, medications, devices/instruments, procedures/techniques, therapeutic interventions, treatment/prevention/diagnostic strategies, or implementation strategies of any of the above.
  • Systems Neuroscience: Posters within this theme feature research on the nervous system at the level of circuits or entire networks, with the goal of understanding neural mechanisms supporting sensory and motor function, multisensory interactions, learning and memory, attention, emotion, and decision-making. Many studies in this category are translational, involving both neurotypical participants and individuals with disabilities (congenital or acquired), as well as animal models. Research methods in this category tend to include functional imaging techniques such as (f)MRI, EEG/ERP, fNIRS, PET, etc.

For more information contact Science Day coodinator Elizabeth Turner.