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Postbac Seminar Series: April 17, 2018

Series: Science Skills; Speaking

Apr 17, 2018

This event is recommended for: Postbacs.

Science isn't complete until the results have been shared with others, and talking about your results is one of the important ways of making them public. The Postbac Seminar Series provides a unique opportunity for two Postbacs each month to present their research to a diverse audience of their peers.  The atmosphere is relatively informal and non-threatening.  The series allows Postbacs who attend to learn about the different types of biomedical research being conducted at the NIH while meeting other postbacs.  Read more about the seminar series.

This month's presenters are:

Hannah Tandon, Clinical Center 

Title: Botulinum toxin treatment of endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain

Summary: Endometriosis is a disorder that is estimated to affect 10% of reproductive-age women and is often accompanied by chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Endometriosis is typically treated with surgery and hormonal management, but some women continue to experience pain even after conventional treatment. This pain may be related to pelvic floor muscle spasm and has a dramatic impact on quality of life. OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox©) is widely used to treat conditions associated with excessive muscle activity and spasm. Our work assesses changes in muscle spasm, pain, disability, and pain medication use after open-label onabotulinumtoxinA injections into pelvic floor muscles of women with endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain. Our results suggest that pelvic floor muscle spasm may be a major contributor to endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain, and onabotulinumtoxinA injections can reduce pain, pelvic floor muscle spasm, and disability for up to 12 months.

Bio: Hannah received a B.A. in chemistry from Amherst College in 2016. At the NIH, she works for two teams of physicians studying mechanisms of and treatments for chronic musculoskeletal pain. She will begin medical school in the fall.


Arianne M. Foster, NICHD

Title: A novel mouse model for Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia caused by mutations in the AP-4 Complex

Summary: Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are progressive neurological disorders characterized by lower limb spasticity. There are currently more than 70 genetic loci known to be associated with these disorders, 4 of which encode adaptor protein 4 (AP-4). AP-4 localizes to the trans-Golgi network (TGN), where it is thought to mediate sorting of specific cargos to post-Golgi compartments. We have characterized C57/BL6 mice with a mutation in the AP-4 epsilon subunit (i.e., AP-4 e knock out (KO) mice) and found that in both AP-4 deficient mice and human patients, the autophagy protein ATG9A accumulates at the TGN. Additionally, neurons from KO mice exhibit increased axonal swellings, especially when challenged with an aggregation-prone mutant form of huntingtin, suggesting impaired autophagic degradation. Taken together, this suggests that our mouse model is a good model for human AP-4 deficiency syndrome and that impaired ATG9A trafficking and autophagic degradation may contribute to the development of the disease.

Bio: Arianne received her B.A. in Psychology from Rowan University in 2015. After graduating, she completed a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program at Stockton University, where she joined the lab of Dr. Nathaniel Hartman. Under his mentorship, she worked on a project exploring Akt-mTOR pathway interactions and postnatal neurogenesis. She will begin medical school in August 2018.

Kimberlyn Bailey, NIMH

Title: Epileptic seizure forecasting with EKG and ECoG supports cardiac-seizure connection

Summary: Far from random events, seizures are the outcome of complex cortical network dynamics. Research increasingly suggests a complex but strong connection between seizures and heart activity: Seizure-driven changes in cortical activity, if they affect autonomic controls centers in the brain, manifest downstream as changes in heart rate. Taken together, this research suggests that seizures can be forecasted from both cortical network and heart activity. In this work, we use deep learning algorithms trained on EKG and ECOG to predict seizures. Our results are comparable with top prediction algorithms and, furthermore, support and elucidate the cardiac-seizure connection.

Bio: Kimberlyn has recently earned an honors degree in Philosophy at SUNY Oswego and a General Science degree at Le Moyne College. She is working as a research assistant in the computational neuroscience lab of Dr. Dietmar Plenz, while leading national sociology of STEM studies on the side. Ultimately, she plans to apply to MD-PhD programs with doctoral programs in applied mathematics and continue with the sociology of STEM research throughout her career.


Daniel Carrera, NINDS

Title: Synaptic Dynamics of Daylight Vision in the Mouse Retina

Bio: Daniel Carrera graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. After graduating, he joined the lab of Jeffrey Diamond in the NINDS section of synaptic physiology. Daniel uses electrophysiological techniques to study the synaptic properties of retinal circuitry. In the future, Daniel aims to pursue his MD/PhD.