Graduate student Ben Owen to present at the National Student Research Forum

Benjamin Michael OwenBen Owen, a second-year student in the Biomedical Sciences M.S. program, has been selected to present a poster at the National Student Research Forum. The forum seeks to provide an opportunity for graduate students, medical students, interns, and residents conducting research in the biomedical sciences to assemble and receive recognition and feedback from established scientists. This event takes place yearly at the University of Texas Medical Branch campus in Galveston, TX and is planned and managed by students.

Ben’s project is entitled “Short-Term Activity-Dependent Changes in Axonal Function in Hippocampal CA3 Pyramidal Neurons.” The hippocampus is a region of the brain that is essential for normal memory function. Ben’s study examines how pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus function when they are activated at high frequencies (between 30 and 100 Hertz). This type of high-frequency activity in the neurons is common to normal processes, such as encoding and retrieving memory, as well as pathological processes, including seizures. Although scientists thoroughly understand how neurons create action potentials (the spike in electrical potential that is responsible for communication between neurons), little experimental attention has been given to how high frequency activation affects generation of action potentials. Ben researches within Dr. Larry Grover’s lab in the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center.

Ben says that he is excited to have the chance to share his research with fellow students and scientists on the national level. Congratulations to Ben on being selected for this opportunity!

BMS graduate student Ben Owen debriefs on National Student Research Forum

Ben Owen, Ph.D. candidateA few months ago, we announced that Ben Owen, a BMS graduate student, would be attending the National Student Research Forum in Galveston, Texas. Ben has since attended and returned from this event, and I sat down with him recently to discuss his experience.

This was Ben’s first time presenting outside of Marshall, and he feels that it was a great experience. His greatest hope for this conference was to get a sense of what to expect at the Society for Neuroscience National Meeting, taking place in November. As described in the last article, the National Student Research Forum provides an opportunity for graduate students, medical students, interns, and residents conducting research in the biomedical sciences to assemble and receive recognition and feedback from established scientists. This event takes place yearly at the University of Texas Medical Branch campus in Galveston, TX and is planned and managed by students.

While at the conference, Ben met a lot of other presenters, who he was surprised to find were mostly medical students. In addition to being able to mingle and discuss their projects, they were able to have a bit of free time fun as well. About sixty students were in attendance by Ben’s count. He says that he would recommend the conference highly, especially to medical students. To him, the forum has many benefits to graduate and medical students alike. It’s not a lengthy event that takes a lot out of one’s work time, it’s small and somewhat laidback, and it offers an opportunity to discuss one’s research with people who are studying very similar topics. For example, Ben was able to interact with researchers studying the hippocampus, and he was able to recommend Dr. Egleton’s work to a student researching the blood brain barrier. Mostly, the event offers an opportunity to break through one’s first-time anxiety at a smaller conference and prepare for the larger events in one’s area of research.

Ben’s project is entitled “Short-Term Activity-Dependent Changes in Axonal Function in Hippocampal CA3 Pyramidal Neurons,” and he researches in Dr. Larry Grover’s lab. To learn more about Dr. Grover’s research and his lab, navigate to his faculty page.