Mary Petrosko from Dominican University was one of several students honored last night at a reception for winners of the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) Travel Awards, held as a part of this year’s Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, which is being held through tomorrow in Washington, DC. Mary was one of several students who received travel awards from the Grass Foundation.
The event included a poster session where undergraduate neuroscience students presented their research. Mary Petrosko’s research involved exposing Aplysia to gingko and measuring its effects on learning. (Apylsia has been a key experimental animal for unraveling learning at a fundamental level.) Petosko’s work showed that gingko had no measurable effect on Aplysia learning. While this does not prove that it is also ineffective in humans, it does support the findings of other researchers who have found no effect in normal human learning. Also, it raises the question of what the mechanism of gingko’s action would be, since we know that the fundamental elements of learning, such as LTP (long term potentiation), are shared across species.
Mary told me that when she first started to work in her lab she listened to the Brain Science Podcast to “get up to speed.” I want to congratulate Mary on her award and also thank all the students who have written to me in the last 2 years. Your feedback helps keep me going.