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October 24, 2012

BRL travels to SFN

The members of the Brain Research Lab at Saginaw Valley State University traveled to New Orleans, La for the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience ( While there the students were able to meet with and learn about neuroscience from experts from around the world. In addition, the students presented (5 posters) the research they worked on over the summer at the annual Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (

Front Row (L-R): Justin Jacqmain (PSY), Jake Dunkerson (HS/OT), Jennica Young (HS), Maddy Searles (HS), Katalin Geeck (PSY), Tim Pionk (PSY)
Back Row (L-R): Evan Nudi (PSY), Dr. Charles Weaver (HS), David Mudd (PSY), Dr. Jeff Smith (HS), Kasey Moritz (PSY), Bob Underly (PSY)

September 3, 2012

BRL student wins 2nd place at National Meeting

Jon Gallagher placed second in the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience / German Graduate Schools of Neuroscience Poster Award annual competition. To be eligible for this award, the nominee must currently be an undergraduate student. Each nominee must be sponsored by a FUN Member whose dues are current. Each sponsor may nominate only one student. For a poster to be considered, it must have been accepted for presentation by the nominee at the FUN Social and Poster Session at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting. The posters are judged on methodological approach, degree of difficulty, solidity/verifiability of data, contribution to "new knowledge", design and layout of the poster, and the ability of the student to answer questions regarding the project.

We are also pleased to announce that Jon was also accepted into the MSU-COM medical program.

September 3, 2012

BRL students attend SFN

The Society for Neuroscience ( 41st Annual meeting was held in Washington DC in November of 2011. (from left to right) Bob Underly (Psychology), Jon Gallagher (Pre-med), David Mudd (Psychology), Jake Dunkerson (MS-OT), Sarah Fluharty (Psychology), and Kasey Moritz (Psychology) were able to attend symposia, poster session, vendor row (SWAG!) during their four-day stay in DC. Jon, Jake, Dave, and Sarah also presented their poster at the FUN poster session.

March 26, 2012

The Brain research Lab opens at SVSU

The new laboratory at SVSU is now open. Almost 3000 square feet of space dedicated to providing opportunities for students to be involved in all aspects of research into neuroplasticity, brain injury, and degeneration. Within the lab, there are several specialized spaces to allow for all aspects of neuroscience to be explored.

Specialized spaces include...

The Wet Lab: that is fully equipped for cell and histological procedures. Some of the equipment includes C02 incubators, -80 freezer, centrifuge, invert microscope, fume hoods, tissue embedding workstation, tissue processor, histology station, automated slide staining system.

Microscopy Suite: An important aspect of the work we do revolves around verifying the changes we see at the behavioral level with changes we see at the cellular level. The cornerstone of these activities will be a brand new, state of the art, confocal microscope. This system, the Olympus FV10i system produces amazing images, includes high level analysis software, and is really pretty easy to use (especially compared to traditional confocal systems). The system is completely software driven and allows for undergraduates (the system is very durable) to participate in all aspects of the analysis of the tissue. In addition we will also have a traditional light/fluorescence microscopy system.

Behavioral Testing Suite: A large, multi-use space which will include five computer controlled operant conditioning stations, five activity chambers, video tracking system, Morris water maze, Barnes maze, Gemini avoidance system, Staircase task, Roto-rod system, and a SR-lab system.

The Procedure Room: A state of the art surgery room that allows for several surgical procedures to be performed. We will have the resources to perform multiple types of procedures allowing for a myriad of questions to be explored.

The Cage Washing Room: Doesn't sound like this is too exciting of a space...well, ask any of my former students, they will be very jealous! Usually the cage washers are the students that work in the laboratory, instead, we have equipment to help take on that burden! A large amount of space and equipment have been invested in a nearly automated system to allow for less time required to the management of working with small animals and more time to be focused on the science.

May 26, 2012

Sarah Fluharty wins SRCI

Sarah Fluharty, a psychology major from Sandusky, will receive $9,968 for her research on traumatic brain injury in rats. She will carry out her research at SVSU's Brain Research Lab, using rats as models to test the impact of an enriched environment for the recovery of head trauma. Fluharty writes that "rats are the preferred model for testing brain injuries because of their similar brain structure and organization" compared to humans. She hopes to present her findings at several conferences and ultimately submit a paper on the subject to scholarly journals.

Winning Student Research and Creativity Institute proposals were chosen through a competitive selection process.