Science Day

2023 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day --
Thursday, November 30, 2023

2023 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day will take place Thursday, Nov. 30, 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.

Congratulations to our 2023 VKC Science Day Poster Competition winners!

  • Undergraduate Overall:
    • Swarat Kulkarni, "Glycosphingolipids linked to elevated neurotransmission and neurodegeneration in a Drosophila model of Niemann Pick Type C" (PI: Kendal Broadie)
  • Clinical, Behavioral, Education, and Intervention Research:
    • Graduate: Lauren Weitenhiller, "Deciding to be Left Alone After Being Left Out: Responses to Social Exclusion in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder" (PI: Julia Sheffield)
    • Postdoc: Christina Burroughs, "Associations Between Executive Functioning Impairments and Anxiety Symptoms among Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder" (PI: Blythe Corbett)
  • Systems Neuroscience:
    • Graduate: Andrea Burgess, "Functional connectivity during passage listening predicts later reading ability in middle childhood" (PI: Laurie Cutting)
    • Postdoc: Jason Russell, "Assessing the Relationship between Central Cholinergic Integrity and Amyloid Accumulation in Individuals with Down Syndrome Using [18F]-FEOBV and [11C]-PiB PET: Preliminary Data" (PI: Paul Newhouse)
  • Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience:
    • Graduate: Adriana Tienda, "Chronic developmental manganese exposure alters response to amphetamine and methylphenidate" (PI: Colleen Niswender)
    • Postdoc: Xia Lei, "Activation Mechanisms for Context-Dependent Allosteric Modulation of the mGlu7 receptor" (PI: Fiona Harrison)

  • 2023 Science Day Abstracts and Poster Session Assignments

    Click here to view the 2023 VKC Science Day poster abstracts. Abstracts are in alphabetical order by presenter last name. To find a particular abstact, use the Ctrl+F feature on your computer to search for the presenter's last name.

    Click here to view the 2023 VKC Science Day poster map.

    Click here to view the 2023 VKC Science Day agenda.

    VKC Science Day: 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.

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

    Poster Sessions:
    Posters are 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.

    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 submission deadline, Science Day Program Committee members review the submitted abstracts in each theme and, based on ABSTRACT QUALITY, 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 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 at 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.

    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.