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Congratulations Valentina!

Valentina1Valentina was awarded a Canadian Association for Neuroscience Travel Award to present her findings at the annual meeting this coming May. 

Visiting Graduate Student from Columbia – Jeimmy Marcela Cerón

“My name is Jeimmy and I’m a psychologist from Colombia. I’m doing my Masters’ in Psychology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Since 2010 I have been part of the research group of Behavioral Neurophysiology at Universidad Nacional where we work in the relationship between stress, stress hormones and spatial memory with animal models. My work has focused in memory consolidation and the effects of corticosterone hormone in this process.

I’m visiting Dr. Josselyn’s lab because I’m interested in the study of gene expression regulation associated with long term memory formation and I want to learn about the different experimental approaches used in the laboratory to this end.”




Brain Activity Mapping

Our Program here at Sickkids (Neurosciences & Mental Health, NMH) recently hosted a fantastic mini-symposium entitled “Brain Activity Mapping”.  We featured two invited speakers (Ed Bullmore from Cambridge and Karl Deisseroth from Stanford) as well as `local talent` (including Randy McIntosh from Rotman Research Institute here in Toronto and our own Sam Doesburg and yours truly).  Mapping brain activity has become an extremely hot topic in neuroscience and, in line with this, our speakers were El fuego!!  We had a record crowd; a great time was had by all.  The only negative….we ran out of mini-quiches.  Turns out I owe some people…

Brain Activity Mapping 2014-02-28 09.59.31 2014-02-28 10.13.40 2014-02-28 10.07.13 2014-02-28 10.17.52IMG_0078 2014-02-28 10.00.142014-02-28 09.53.122014-02-28 09.55.42IMG_0098IMG_0087 2014-02-28 09.57.23 2014-02-28 10.18.45 IMG_0081 

Visiting Scientist from the University of Brasilia (Brazil)

My name is Gustavo, I am a Professor of Clinical Pathology at the University of Brasilia (Brazil).  Since my PhD, I have been working with the pilocarpine model of epilepsy.

I am visiting Dr. Josselyn’s laboratory for 3.5 months in order to acquire more knowledge on the relationship of neurogenesis and memory.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the lab for welcoming me and providing this great opportunity!064


A face for radio….

Ever heard yourself on the radio?  I haven’t, but am told that in this interview my voice sounds slightly less squeaky than Madonna’s on helium.  Here’s the link of me on CBC radio talking memory…

Movin’ on up!

Just like George and Weezie, we are movin’ on up to a deluxe lab in the sky!

The construction on the new Research and Learning Tower for SickKids is finally complete. The new building (affectionately called the The Peter Gilgan Centre For Research and Learning or PGCRL) will bring together all the researchers at SickKids.  Our lab is scheduled to move soon!  cant wait!  check out this story featuring yours truly in the National Post

Our beautiful new building on Bay Street (the Wall Street of Canada!)

Our beautiful new building on Bay Street (the Wall Street of Canada!)

Welcome back Valentina!

After time  to take care of her bundle of joy (Sammy), Valentina has returned to the lab!  

Welcome back, we missed you!  



Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Amygdala in Health & Disease

The Amygdaloids  (hope this term is not copyrighted!)

The Amygdaloids
(hope this term is not copyrighted!)

We are just back from an exciting GRC on the Amygdala (the most important brain region!). This was the 4th GRC on the Amygdala and, for the first time, this meeting was preceded by a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS).  The GRS was entirely run by two talented post-docs (Chair: Susana Correia from MIT and Associate Chair:  Caitlin Orsini from University of Florida).  The goal of the GRS is to provide trainees (post-docs/grad students) an informal time to interact and discuss cutting-edge science as well as develop connections and friendships that could last an entire career (or even longer :-)).

Adelaide during her talk.....she was great, but I was a nervous wreck!

Adelaide during her talk…..she was great, but I was a nervous wreck!

Adelaide and Peter Rudebeck waiting for their session to begin

Adelaide and Peter Rudebeck waiting for their session to begin

The GRS featured a fantastic talk by Andreas Lüthi (Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Switzerland) as well as excellent presentations from many trainees (including Adelaide Yiu from the lab—see photos).

Greg Quirk (University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico), Natalie Tronson (University of Michigan, USA) and I took part in a short mentor session where we shared our unique career paths, stories and some interesting (!) photos.


The GRC conference itself was superb.  Great science, great people and sometimes free drinks (which is also great).  For what more could a scientist ask?

I was co-Chair of the GRC and I just want to give a shout out to the Chair, Shona Chattarji.  Shona, it was an honour and a privilege to work with you on this exciting conference.  I think we put together a great meeting and I look forward to 2015!

Check out the photos below….



Lobster fest!

Lobster fest!


Adelaide's title slide!!!

Adelaide’s title slide!!!


New paper on the role of Notch signaling in memory


It is well-known that the Notch signaling plays a critical role in brain development, and growing evidence implicates this pathway in synaptic plasticity and memory formation in the adult. In this paper, our lab (in a team headed by Derya Sargin) collaborated with Sean Egan’s lab at SickKids, and showed that a critical ligand of the highly conserved Notch signalling pathway, Jagged 1 (Jag1), is important for hippocampus-dependent memory formation in adult mice. By making use of different lines of mutant mice which are deficient in specific components of the Notch pathway, Derya et al. systematically dissected the relative contributions of several members of the Notch pathway and found a highly specific role for Jag1 in memory formation in adult mice. Derya’s  work is in line with recent studies showing that Notch is an essential component of spatial memory formation (Costa et al, Curr Biol, 2003) and that Jag1 is important for hippocampal synaptic plasticity (Wang et al., PNAS, 2004; Alberi et al., Neuron, 2011).  Derya’s findings confirm that the Jag1-Notch signalling pathway is critical for hippocampus-dependent memory in the adult brain.   This paper is part of a special issue on Molecular and Cellular Cognition in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.



I recently gave a lecture at the Advanced Topics in Molecular Neuroscience (ATMN) course headed by Joe Loturco and run by a fantastic group of scientists.  The students were wonderful and we had lively discussion.  My talk overlapped with a special CSHL party for James Watson.  Kurt Haas and I joined in on the celebration!


James Watson_Sheena (3)