Monday, December 3, 2012

Neuroscience from Mexico (and Latin America)

Hi Everyone! I apologize for the delay in my second post but I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Cancún, Mexico. In addition to the wonderful people, light blue ocean, and delicious food, we had the opportunity to swim with dolphins, sting rays and nurse sharks. I highly encourage anyone to try a visit to Cancún if possible. This view from my hotel room alone is certainly among one of the many reasons to visit (and this picture is not photoshopped, this was taken with my iPhone 4S!):

Soon I will be discussing some neuroscience news but I thought it prudent to mention some of the neuroscience taking place in Mexico and greater Latin America. This year, Mexico hosted–in beautiful Cancún of course!–the first annual meeting of The Federation of Neuroscience Societies from Latin-America and the Caribbean (FALAN) from November 2nd to November 9th. Mexico dominated the poster session with 465 posters but had large participation from other countries such as Brazil with 245 posters, Chile with 69 posters, Cuba with 42 posters, and Uruguay with 26 posters. In addition to the large presence of scientists and students from Latin American countries, delegates from the United States, Europe, and Canada were also present making this first meeting a very international one. An impressive 1,000 neuroscientists were present and this meeting included a busy agenda of 42 symposia with 179 talks in addition the total of 810 posters in the poster session. Students had the opportunity to take 8 courses/pre-conference workshops to increase their technical/theoretical understanding on a variety of topics. While this meeting doesn't boast the attendance seen at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting held in the United States, this is encouraging as the international neuroscience community grows. But, as always, if you are not involved in neuroscience, why should you care? The more minds we have working together to solve our most challenging problems in neuroscience, such as developing treatments/cures for drug-resistant epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, the faster we can accomplish these goals and help you, your family members, or help you in the future when you need treatment. And, if you are involved in neuroscience, whether you're a PhD student looking for a post-doc position, a post-doc looking for a faculty position, or just looking to find a collaborator, FALAN may be able to help. In fact, a call for prospective neuroscience PhD students, along with several post-doc positions in Latin American is currently being advertised on their website here (for the post-doc positions) and here (for the prospective students). I hope you all enjoy taking a look through FALAN's website or the International Brain Research Organization's Latin American Region website (which can be found here) and see what other parts of the world are doing in neuroscience!