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UChicago Neuroscience community reunited in the 2023 Retreat

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People in the audience watching a talk

The two-day event held by the Neuroscience Institute happened at the Q Center in St. Charles, IL. More than 160 people attended.

The Neuroscience community at The University of Chicago gathered last Thursday and Friday, the 14th and 15th, in the 2023 edition of the Neuroscience Retreat. The event, promoted by the Neuroscience Institute at the Q Center in St. Charles, had a diverse schedule full of talks presented by faculty members, students, and guests, poster presentations, and recreational activities.

Among the list of speakers, there were national-recognized names in Neuroscience, such as Professor Aryn Gittis, Ph.D., from Carnegie Mellon University, and Marc Freeman, Ph.D., the Director of the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Poojya giving a talk
Poojya Ravishankar gave a talk at the Retreat for the first time

During the event, faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students had the chance to present their research as well. Poojya Ravishankar, a rising sixth-year graduate student in the Computational Neuroscience (CNS) program, had attended the Retreat before but this was the first time she gave a talk.

“It's a huge privilege to share in front of such a good audience. It helped me to get better clarity about my project, and it’s also exciting to show something that you are very passionate about”, said Ravishankar.


Hagerah Malik, MSTP/CON graduate student in Arac Lab, also presented for the first time at the Retreat and said that despite the nervousness, she felt very comfortable in front of the audience. “I knew that they were friendly, and it just felt like a very safe place to talk about my research, answer questions, and engage with the community.”

Career development

Career panel
Gregg Wildenberg presented a career panel to a packed room

In addition to hearing from neuroscience researchers, the retreat was also an opportunity to build community and participate in career development workshops. Staff scientist Gregg Wildenberg, Ph.D., presented “Demystifying the Chalk Talk”, a panel that aimed to help students to understand the best format and strategy to conduct that kind of presentation. 

“I like the Chalk talk component because it's even still very mysterious for me. So, I appreciate the sentiment of trying to demystify it and sort of prepare students for that future inevitability,” said Wildenberg.

Professor Jason MacLean, PhD, highlighted that this edition of the retreat was “particularly good” because the community was there all together as more than 160 people attended the event. “You get a chance to catch up with people that you haven't seen in a while because we're all busy in our lives or doing our things. And then, you get to meet all the new incoming students. That is important.”

Retreat attendees also enjoyed social gatherings and recreational activities, such as playing board/card games, giant yard games, volleyball, biking, walking, and running on the Fox River.

Poster presentation
Students presented their research during the poster presentation session 
Click here to see the full gallery with photos of the event.
Manu Ferreira
Manu Ferreira
Website and Communications Specialist