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Conference report (General)

Neuroscience 2012: Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience
Kyoung-hye Yoon1,*
1Basic Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA
*Corresponding author
  Received : January 07, 2013
  Accepted : January 10, 2013
  Published : January 10, 2013
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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I attended this year`s Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Meeting that took place in New Orleans, Oct. 13-17, 2012. Since the first SfN meeting in 1971, the meeting has grown to be the biggest and the most comprehensive conference of the field, with over 28,500 people in attendance this year. This was my first time attending the conference. My research was previously more of molecular/cell biology background, so as a newcomer, I wanted to see what was happening in the field and where it was headed. SfN was a good conference to get a general picture of the current interests in neuroscience. When attending a conference of this magnitude, I realized that some advanced planning is very helpful to see as many things that are of interest, and that the conference requires an enormous amount of walking. At the SfN conference, there are large-scale lectures that are called ‘special lectures’, but there were always other mini- or nanosymposiums in specific topics and poster sessions occurring simultaneously. As a result, unlike other major life science meetings, there are really no plenary talks that everyone attends. Research is divided into 8 themes: A. Development, B. Neural Excitability/Synapse/Glia, C. Disorders of the Nervous System, D. Sensory and Motor Systems, E. Integrative Systems, F. Cognition and Behavior, G. Novel Methods and Technology Development, and H. History/Teaching/Public Awareness/Societal Impacts. Because of the breadth of topics covered, you are bound to be exposed to areas that are unfamiliar to you. For this reason however, you get the opportunity to see where the interests and directions of the broader field are headed. This year, planning was made easier by the free mobile app provided by SfN, which allowed you to conveniently search through all the abstracts and set up an itinerary. The app also included a feature that showed Twitter feeds containing the hashtag #SfN12, in an attempt to encourage communication between attendees via social media. This year it looked as if it was perhaps a bit premature for active scientific discussions on Twitter, but it will be interesting to see whether in the future social media will play a meaningful role in exchanges of ideas in science. Below, I attempted to summarize the big concepts of some of the research presented in the large-scale lectures. I also added some personal observations of the meeting from posters and the mini- or nano-symposiums that I attended.

Keyword: Society for Neuroscience, SfN meeting review, conference, Neuroscience 2012, optogenetics
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