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Dominican Student Wins Society for Neuroscience Poster Competition

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Senior Leticia Perez won first prize in the undergraduate poster presentation at the Chicago Society for Neuroscience Annual Conference last week.

Neuroscientists from all over the Chicago area joined for this event. Two of Dominican's Slug Lab researcher students, Leticia Perez and Ushma Patel, presented work from the lab during the poster session.

Perez most recently presented her research at the annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting on November 9 in Washington, DC. The meeting drew more than 30,000 scholars and the majority were asked to present a poster--but Leticia was selected to deliver a talk.

She has been working in the neuroscience lab with Drs. Bob and Irina Calin-Jageman for the past two summers and is the recipient of the ExcEL Scholarship. She presented her work examining how forgetting occurs in the brain. She explained why she used sea slugs as a simple animal for studying the process of forgetting and discussed her data showing that even when a memory seems 'forgotten'—there are pieces that may still be left. Specifically, she's found that even after forgetting, the slugs can re-learn the memory more rapidly because there are some genes in the brain that stay activated even when the memory seems to be gone.

Perez also has a paper on her research published in the January issue of Learning and Memory. It's her second paper, the first in which will be the first-author. She has also presented at The Molecular and Cellular Cognition Poster Session and the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Poster Session and Social.

Patel has been making waves in the world of research as well as art. Not only was she co-author on two research studies that were published early last year and last summer, but most recently her original artwork was chosen for the February 2018 cover of Learning and Memory.

Her cover depicted a visual representation of the research that was published in the January 2018 issue. Having this artwork out in the world helps attract attention the the article it was inspired by as well as allows Patel to create a portfolio as she is pursuing a career in medical and scientific illustration.

Both students are graduating this May. Perez will be starting veterinary school at U of I and Patel will be pursuing a Master's degree in Medical Illustration at UIC.