If you’re one of the many hard-working young graduate students attending SfN in D.C. this year, congratulations! Luck has it, my old friend Liz is a D.C. chef and is giving you the inside scoop on some of the great food spots D.C. has to offer. And I know you’re a grad student, so we won’t strain the per-diem.
Right now, Shaw is the hottest neighborhood in D.C. for eats and night life and it’s located just north of the convention center. Get familiar with the street naming conventions – numbered streets will cross lettered streets – as you explore what the locals call “9th and 7th street.”
Smoked & Stacked’s homemade pastrami is just a couple blocks from the convention center, on 9th, and will fulfill all your sandwich dreams.
DC9 has no right to have such good food since it’s also a happening live music venue. At 9th and U street, DC9 has “banging fried chicken and solid bar food burgers named after bands,” says Liz. Local tip: check out the great roof top deck if you have good weather.
Or if drinks before, during, and after the conference is your thing, there’s a mid-west Chicago style dive bar called Ivy and Coney on 7th street with beer & shot specials, Italian beef sandwiches, and $5 hotdogs.
For the oyster and fancy cocktail lovers, check out the industrial styled Eat the Rich around five blocks from the conventions center.
As we move slightly more of a Lyft ride away from the convention center, there’s a spot that Liz called “ridiculous” at least three times. Archipelago on 11th and U street is a tiki bar that will fulfill all your dreams of crazy convention stories and giant flaming rum punches.
While a dinner atGhibilina on 14th could run you around $30, their happy hour $8 pizzas and $6 paninis won’t bust your travel budget (but will require a ride).
For upscale post-conference drinks or dinner say hi to Liz’s new husband Jon, who is a chef at the popular happy hour spot Thally. Shameless plug? I doubt that Liz would ever recommend, let alone tolerate, a bad restaurant. But check out all the good reviews (and the roasted duck breast!) if you’re skeptical.
While some of you will be suckered into tourist attractions, like the greasy late night spot Ben’s Chilli Bowl, I hope you can check out some of the spots cultivated by my best friend just for you. If you want to taste her work, visit Chef Liz at Buffalo & Bergenfor brunch and bagels inside the Union Market, two miles from the convention center.
Feel free to comment with your recommendations below! Safe travels!
Smoked & Stacked 1239 9th St NW Washington, DC 20001
Ivy and Coney1537 7th St NW Washington, DC 20001 at N Q St
Eat the Rich1839 7th St NW Washington, DC 20001 b/t S St & T St
Archipelago 1201 U St NW Washington, DC 20009 b/t N 13th St & N 12th St
Thally 1316 9th St NW Washington, DC 20001 b/t O St & N St
Ghibellina1610 14th St NW Washington, DC 20009 b/t N Q St & N Corcoran St
Ben’s Chili Bowl 1213 U St NW Washington, DC 20009 b/t N 13th St & N 12th St
Buffalo & Bergen 1309 5th St NEUnion Market Washington, DC 20002
You might have noticed a change in your Emory inbox of late. The ubiquitous e-mail forwards from the GDBBBS office are less frequent. One of the responsibilities of the GDBBS office is to communicate opportunities with the student body. We all know how this worked. Administrators would receive an e-mail that requested an announcement be shared with the list serve. With no edits, these e-mails were forwarded directly to your inbox, including messages directed to administrators (example below). Forwards would be made two to six times a week. NO MORE!
Thanks to your fellow graduate students Anzar Abbas and yours truly, the rein of forwards is over. It happened August 31st during a GDBBS administrator’s meeting concerning communication and outreach. Anzar and I were asked to attend. Towards the end of this meeting, Director Nael McCarty addressed how the office currently engages with the GDBBS students. With limited time before I needed to start a new experiment and too much coffee, I had gotten bold with my feedback: “Well, we get those e-mails from **RETRACTED BY EDITOR ELIZABETH BARFIELD** all the time…”
“What?” **RETRACTED BY EDITOR ELIZABETH BARFIELD** rose her head from her note taking.
“You know, you forward us GDBBS list serve request e-mails when you receive them. It’s really hard to keep up with.” **RETRACTED BY EDITOR ELIZABETH BARFIELD** was stunned, almost confused. For a moment I thought I had confused **RETRACTED BY EDITOR ELIZABETH BARFIELD** with someone else.
“Do you do that?” asked McCarty but **RETRACTED BY EDITOR ELIZABETH BARFIELD** was still without words. “This is what we’re here to address.”
Anzar and I went on to describe how difficult it was to keep up. Students want to find opportunities but, since half of the e-mail forwards don’t apply to our goals, the bulk are ignored. Additionally, some are short notice and the event has happened before we can read them. I did not share how a number of graduate student sources say they filter GDBBS e-mails directly to their trash, to keep their inbox orderly. Or maybe I did say that, I was pretty caffeine high and glad to finally be addressing something that directly affected students.
Instead of sending out any request upon receiving it, we recommended they be bundled, much like the GSC announcements, into a single weekly e-mail. The administration listened. On September 28th, **RETRACTED BY EDITOR ELIZABETH BARFIELD** sent out the first ‘Weekly GDBBS Student E-Mail Update’ and the inboxes of over 400 graduate students got lighter.
The eclipse was a celebrated experience across America, especially for the scientific community. Researchers across Emory University campus poured out of laboratories and joined in make-shift viewing parties. Rollins Research Building had its own celebratory group, partaking in eclipse glasses fashion shows and using the green space for crescent tree shadows gazing.
Spurred by good ol’ program spirit and the promise of free booze, Emory’s finest showed up dressed to the nines for the 2017 Neuroscience Awards Ceremony.
Leadership Award Chris Sinon
GIN ex-president Chris Sinon has enthusiastically served the Emory Neuroscience community in almost every capacity imaginable. Aside from fearlessly hosting recruitment parties and successfully campaigning to increase the GIN budget in dicey economic times, Chris has continually worked behind the scenes to organize, support and rally the program to both improve our community and expand our connections with other programs in Laney and beyond.
University Service Award Elyse Morin
Elyse Morin has excelled in service both within and outside of the scientific community. Elyse has taken an active role in science advocacy, meeting with GA representatives and joining her advisor, Mar Sanchez, to speak to the House Committee on Appropriations in DC. In addition, she has served as senior coordinator for the Emory RespectCon, led workshops bringing together Atlanta resources for rape survivors and spent more than 1,700 hours on call for the Rape Crisis Center.
Outreach Award Desiree De Leon
Though her outreach efforts may sometimes put her in hot water with advisors Larry Young and Mar Sanchez, Desiree has made a huge impact on the community. As the graduate representative for the Atlanta Chapter of SfN, Desiree has built a multi-university outreach empire, growing outreach efforts by nearly 1,000 students while serving as chair of the Atlanta Brain Bee and coordinator of Brain Awareness month and the ATL Science Festival Booth.
Outstanding Early Achievement Award Andrea Pack
Andrea Pack had the honor of being the sole nominee for this award. When you view her CV it’s not hard to see why. In her two years at Emory, Andrea has been placed on two training grants, received an NSF graduate research fellowship, presented at two international conferences and is currently preparing a first author manuscript. In addition, she is extremely active in scientific outreach, pioneering her own course to teach science within a local prison.
Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award Elizabeth Pitts
Elizabeth Pitts has presented at too many conferences to count and is an author on eight publications, including first authorship on a paper in Neuropsychopharmacology and a review in Neurobiology of Disease. While spanning two distinct model systems and actively teaching, Liz has remained active in the program and received multiple awards for her research, including the prestigious honor of presenting to prospective students during the Emory recruitment process.
Excellence in Teaching Award Arielle Valdez
Arielle Valdez has served as a teaching assistant for a variety of rigorous courses on a variety of topics: everything from human anatomy to the ethics of vegetarianism. Arielle has reached students far beyond the neuroscience realm in which most of us live. In each course she’s taught, both her instructors and students have recognized her excellence, so much so that she was awarded the GDBBS-wide TATTO Teaching award. Despite already hitting this ceiling of recognition, she plans to continue broadening her teaching experiences.
Excellence in Mentorship Award Elizabeth Pitts
Liz Pitt’s excellence in mentorship is reflected through both the quality and quantity of her students. Liz directly mentored eight undergraduates while at Emory, guiding them through in depth, long-term research projects. Her students have graduated with highest honors and – even more remarkably – a literature based understanding of their field and the ability to think critically about it. Some might say that thanks to Liz, they’re now positioned to have their own outstanding scientific achievements.
GIN Faculty of the Year Shannon Gourley
Dr. Shannon Gourley, pictured here with her Elizabeth’s, was selected from a sea of wonderful mentors because of her passion and dedication for her students. Perhaps best said by one of the Elizabeth’s themselves, “Her altruistic and well-organized use of her time” and “dedication to her students’ and colleagues’ success” make her an exemplary representative of what makes Emory neuroscience a wonderful place.
GIN Student Service Award Byron Gardner
Byron Gardner continually attends, assists, and invigorates GIN events. He is always willing to use his creative energies for the betterment of the program and he stands out in his ability to make prospective students want to join in the fun. Ironically he could not attend this ceremony, but his efforts to go above and beyond at almost everything else make him more than deserving of the award anyway.
Buying the neuroscientist in your life a great present has been made easy this winter, with the following list of limbic system stimulating treasures.
Nothing makes anatomy glimmer like AKAFoil‘s vintage anatomical illustrations with real gold foil. Starting at $22 you can adorn your office wall with the beauty that is the brain and cranial nerves (above). Or, who likes the cerebellum? No one? … Really? Well, who needs it, but GABAergic Purkinje neurons are still things of beauty. Choose the image, background, frame and purchase today for the special scientist in your life.
Think Geek is serving it up right, by protecting the wood finish of every nerd’s coffee table. Each one of these Brain Section Coasters is another horizontal slice of the human brain.
These wall hangings available on Houzz boil down the chemistry of the brain with charming simplicity. Houzz offers: “Bliss”, Dopamine; “Love”, Norepinephrine; “Happiness”, Serotonin; as well as “Mary Jane” THC, Estrogen, and Prozac options.
This handmade stationary features vintage images of the brain’s gray matter and comes with brown kraft envelopes, a hand-stamped brain tag as well as brain and science stickers for $20. Or check out the other beautiful science themed cards on society 6 (Neuron stationary).
Consider picking up the book The Drunkard’s Walk, a book recently reviewed on this blog.
The Note Taker:
These notebooks starting at $12 for everything from creative writing or lab meeting notes. Above are Brain B&W, Brain Phantom, and Brain Control. The best part, if you fall in love with any of Society6’s hundreds of images, is that they’re available to cover your digital notebook as laptop skin stickers.
This stylish pillow features REM EEG recordings and is perfect for an afternoon lab nap.
The Kitchen-Bench Scientist:
A great way to ensure you eat well is to spread cooking knowledge across your friends and family. The Food Lab cookbook is an International Association of Culinary Professionals award winner which takes the reader through classic American dishes with scientific specifics and in full color.
Refine your culinary protocols! For the ultimate food nerd, pick up Cooking for Geeks, which ensures you never have a burn “practice” pancake and also explains why the perfect pancake needs certain portions of baking power and baking soda.
With this Floral Anatomy Brain small carry-all pouch you can organize your life for only $11.90. Available in three sizes with wraparound artwork, these pouches are perfect for toiletries, headphones, or your favorite lab supplies you secretly hoard. With a durable canvas-like exterior that’s machine-washable, so brain washing has never been easier.Brain freeze carry-all pouch.
Do you or some scientist you know love SciFi but doesn’t have time to read? Then the Nature Journal’s Futures collection is for you. This collection of short science fiction stories makes it easy to jump in and out of mind-expanding fiction. For a taste, give the loneliness of the long-distance panda story a glance. And for the wet scientist, consider purchasing the audio book version for bench work listening fuel.
A bold move by the iconic jewelry company, Tiffany’s & Co. has released a line of dendrito-dendrite inspired pieces for the winter season. The graphic angles and clean lines of every item of the new ‘Tiffany T‘ line has subtle hints of inhibitory intrigue. The color of these stones are sure to activate the dendro-dentric homologous gap junction in the alpha-Ganglion Cells of your special someone, when you surprise them with one of these dazzling diamond studded bracelets, rings or necklaces. The white gold bracelet with princess-cut diamonds featured above is available for only $45,000.
Recent studies have found evidence for the healing properties of blood from younger individuals, but the fascination with “young blood” has been a part of the human condition for centuries.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates introduced the concept that our health and temperament were controlled by the four humors, proposing that blood was the one responsible for courage, playfulness as well as hope. From the 16th century story of Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed of Hungary, the idea of “blood baths” acquired decidedly more sinister connotations.
Hungarian children were told the legend of Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed. The “Blood Countess” holds the Guinness World Record as the most prolific female murderer.
With 80 confirmed kills, Báthory might have lured up to 650 peasant girls to her castle with the promise of work as maidservants or courtly training. Instead of etiquette lessons, they were burned, beaten, frozen or starved for the Countess’ sadistic pleasure. Folk stories told how she would bathe in the blood of virgins to preserve her youth and beauty.
Humors remained a staple of traditional western medicine until the 1800s when medical research and our modern concept of medicine emerged. In this new, enlightened age, people started sewing animals together to see what would happen. In the mid-1800s, a French zoologist named Paul Bert first experimented with the creation of parabionts: the surgical joining of two animals, usually two rodents of the same species, in order to study the effect of one’s blood on the other. The first manuscript looking at parabionts was published by Bert in 1864, titled ‘Expériences et Considérations Sur la Greffe Animale’, which when loosely translated means ‘I’m a sick bastard and IACUC hasn’t been invented yet’.
As if parabiosis were a great rainy day activity for the kids, Bert described how to attach two animals together through their skin in an attempt to determine if a common circulatory system capable of exchanging nutrients would form: “the process is one the simplest: a strip of skin is removed along the opposite flanks of the two experimental animals; stitches and others handling systems that I described in my memoirs, maintain the animals attached and prevent frictions.”
In autopsy, he showed that vascular channels developed connecting the attached animals and that fluid injected in one would pass to the other. He was awarded the prize in Experimental Physiology by the French Academy of Science in 1866 and his discovery was later memorialized in a Simpson’s Tree House of Horror’s episode featuring a “Pigeon Rat”.
Using parabionts wasn’t just grossly cool, it was the beginning of transplant research. Fifty years after Bert, around the turn of the century, a scientist named Dr. Alex Carrel was performing experiments studying the ability to sustain living tissue outside the body, eventually connecting it to other living bodies. His methods of blood vessel connection won him the Nobel Prize. Once immunosuppressant drugs were developed, this research paved the way for organ transplants.
Transplanting organs is all well and good, but can it guarantee the promise of everlasting life? While not the goal of the study, the first evidence that healthy blood could extend lifespan came from a parabiont muscular dystrophy study in the 50s (Hall et al., 1959).
Recent parabiont research has been proving what 17th century Hungarian villagers always knew, “dysfunctions associated with normal aging might likewise be rescued by parabiosis to a ‘healthy’, that is younger, partner and that lifespan itself might be amenable to prolongation by heterochronic parabiosis” (Conboy et al., 2013).
However, it isn’t a panacea. Quinn et al. found that there was no significant difference in post-surgery mortality between patients who received plasma from young versus old donors (Guinn et al., 2016). Being alive is wonderful, but the second best thing has got to be being alive and able to make and recall memories.
Even though young blood won’t rejuvenate your skin, recent research discovered young blood rejuvenates your synaptic plasticity (Villeda et al., 2014). Using heterochronic parabiont combinations of young and aged animals, neuroscientist Villeda and colleagues found that exposing an aged mouse to young blood reverses pre-existing brain aging by acting at the molecular, structural and cognitive level.
The hippocampus is an area of the brain associated with memory formation. In the older of the parabiont mice there was an increase in dendritic spine density and synaptic plasticity when their circulatory system was connected with that of a young mouse, a physiological marker associated with memory (Yang et al., 2009). Old animals connected with young ones also showed improvement in learning tasks like fear conditioning and spatial learning. While this means I’ll have to wait for advances in cosmetic surgery to reach Photoshop quality, having the cognitive capacity to remember to pluck that one mole hair on my cheek will have to do.
But what is so special about sweet, sweet virgin blood?
That question is yet to be completely answered, but there are some likely culprits. One difference between old and young blood could relate to immune function. The choroid plexus is the site where blood is filtered to make the cerebrospinal fluid bathing the brain. In the choroid plexus of older mice there were more signs of an inflammatory response than in younger mice (Baruch et al., 2014). When an immune signal called cytokine interferon-I was inhibited, cognitive functioned improved.
There’s also a really boring ‘anti-aging’ agent called “nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-related factor” but his friends call him Nrf2. Nrf2 kicks in when cells are under oxidative stress and normally is involved with vascular smooth muscles. It’s also produced by neural stem/progenitor stem cells (NSPCs). These cells are present in the subventricular zone of your brain into adulthood and they depend on Nrf2 to maintain their function and survival. Upregulation of Nrf2 increased cognitive performance in elderly animals who have smaller NSPC populations (Corenblum et al., 2016). Now put it in a jar and sell it to me. Other pathways which are likely to be influenced by blood magic include the Wnt and TGF-B signaling pathways (Brack et al., 2007; Carlson et al., 2008).
From being one of the four humors to a source of rejuvenation, humans have always found blood fascinating. The identification of factors with ‘pro-aging’ or ‘anti-aging’ affects is a hot area of research because everybody sucks but no one wants to die.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to draw myself a Hungarian bath.