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Junior Scientist Workshop on Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience (VIRTUAL)

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Junior Scientist Workshop on Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience (VIRTUAL)

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October 24 - 29, 2021
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Organized by Gabriela MichelGowan TervoMichael ReiserEmily DennisJosh DudmanVanessa Ruta, and Vivek Jayaraman, this Junior Scientist Workshop provides an exciting opportunity for graduate students and recent PhDs interested in the mechanistic basis of cognition to present their research to a diverse audience and discuss ideas for the future, while also discovering potential independent early-career options at Janelia. Due to the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19, the 2021 workshop will be online but still highly interactive. Having hosted using this format in 2020, we believe that the workshop will be very successful, making use of the unique advantages of various online communication tools.

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We encourage applications from junior scientists pursuing research aimed at understanding how cognitive processes and behavior are implemented at the level of circuits, cells, and molecules. This meeting is open to a broad array of ideas and approaches in a variety of animal models. We will also consider theorists with a strong interest in linking their ideas to experimental data. The workshop will focus on cognition broadly construed (e.g., navigation, learning, decision making, planning, social interactions, etc.), but sessions will be thematically tuned to the participants’ research interests.

Over the course of one week, attendees will present their work, engage in lively discussions on critical problems and obstacles in the field, and indulge in informed speculation about conceptual and technical approaches that might be useful for future progress. 

Based on feedback from our previous virtual MCN workshop, we know that the success of this workshop depends on you, the attendees, being engaged! To take advantage of the virtual format and encourage participation from different time zones, we will use a mixture of synchronous discussions and asynchronous, pre-recorded talks. We will schedule the workshop’s synchronous events from, tentatively, 8am-3pm EDT. To encourage participation from different time zones, we will also add asynchronous sessions at other times. Although we understand that different time zones may constrain participants’ ability to attend all parts of the workshop, we have found that the workshop is most effective when everyone at least attends all the synchronous sessions. These include group discussions and/or debates twice a day for two or three hours at a time. The remaining portion of each day is dedicated to small group work, watching pre-recorded talks, engaging with others on Slack, and more. 

Our goal is for a lively meeting, with participants from diverse backgrounds, actively contributing to discussions and debates. Discussions will be freewheeling, and also respectful and inclusive, with an atmosphere that is both fun and productive. We see this as a unique learning opportunity for participants to critically evaluate their own methods and approaches. Attendees should feel free to come with half-baked ideas and expect an audience keen on talking them through those ideas! While the meeting is intended for junior scientists, we will also host plenary talks from established investigators. 

To ensure a valuable and enjoyable experience for all, space in the workshop is limited. We especially encourage applications from women and all those who identify with groups underrepresented in science from all over the world.

Application Instructions

To be considered, applicants must apply online and provide:

  1. Research Abstract
  2. Answers to three Scientific Thought Questions
  3. Current CV
  4. PI Recommendation Letter