SfN18: Celebrating Women in Science Luncheon

Guest post by Kayt Sukel 

Type “self-promotion” into the search field of Dictionary.com and you’ll be rewarded with the following definition:

self-pro·mo·tion, noun, plural noun: self-promotions

  1. the action of promoting or publicizing oneself or one’s activities, especially in a forceful way.

“she’s guilty of criminally bad taste and shameless self-promotion”

Dr. Yasmin Hurd speaks during the Celebration of Women in Neuroscience luncheon. Photo courtesy of Fiona Randall

Yasmin Hurd, the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, said it’s a definition that can make you take a step back.

“The word for me is a bit of a problem,” she said, as part of the panel discussion regarding the art and science of effective self-promotion at the Celebration of Women in Neuroscience luncheon at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting this week. “Did I get asked to present today because of my criminally bad taste? I hope not!” Continue reading

Newly Translated Graphic Novel Tells the Life Story of Nobel Prize Winning Neuroscientist

“Life does not end with death. What you pass on to others remains. Immortality is not the body, which will one day die. That does not matter… of importance is the message you leave to others. That is immortality,” said founding European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) member Rita Levi-Montalcini, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of nerve growth factor.

While Levi-Montalcini died in 2012, her legacy continues to live on through her contributions to neuroscience; the European Brain Research Institute (EBRI), which she founded in 2002; and now through a free graphic novel, “Rita Levi-Montalcini: A Pioneer in Neuroscience.” Produced by The Senato della Republica and EBRI, with support from EDAB, the graphic novel tells the story of how Levi-Montalcini overcame gender and religious discrimination in World War II Italy to become one of neuroscience’s most accomplished researchers.

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Empowering Female Neuroscientists

MDierssen-1When Mara Dierssen started her career as a neuroscientist, she often encountered gender discrimination. Working in a male-dominated field, she had to combat stereotypes about passivity and leadership. Lacking a female role model, she now realizes that she was unaware of many of the scientific community’s “unwritten rules,” like how to receive funding for projects, do interviews, and publish findings.

Years later, Dierssen’s strong drive to succeed, intense passion for neuroscience, and work ethic have helped her become  a senior scientist at the Centre for Biomedical Research, president of the Spanish Society for Neuroscience, a member of the European Dana Alliance, as well as a mother of four children. Dierssen, who recently talked about gender and neuroscience in an interview with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN),  has become a role model for today’s young female neuroscientists, not only because of her achievements as a neuroscientist, but also through her dedication to public outreach and gender equality.

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