Abby Laman-Maharg wins $5,000 Chancellor’s Grand Prize for Best Oral Presentation

Our UCD neuroscience graduate group has consistently been well-represented at the GSA sponsored Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Student Symposium (IGPS) and this year was no exception. Major congrats to our very own Abby Laman-Maharg. Her oral presentation, Stress and Sex: How Context Affects Depression, won the $5,000 Chancellor’s Grand Prize for Best Oral Presentation and Dean’s Prize for Best Oral Presentation in Social Sciences! You can read more about this year’s (IGPS) event here.



A Giant Inspires Once More

sacks_swimmingToday, the New York Times printed an Op-ed from the beloved Oliver Sacks. The title perfectly sets the tone of the piece and a catch in the throat: Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer.

I imagine the next few months will bring stories of Sacks, re-runs of his pieces past, and, eventually, tributes. But, as he states in his letter to readers today, “This does not mean I am finished with life.” Guided by personal experience, I choose not to spend time saying goodbye until the moment of true goodbye. Instead, I seek to learn, experience, create with those with whom I will soon part.

To me, Oliver Sacks is a masterful ambassador of science, of critical thinking, of fun, and of humility. Thank you, Dr. Sacks, for what you have offered us, and what you will continue to offer us. May we all learn, experience, and create with your wit and keen eye, your creativity and humility. And may we all work to bring these qualities to science and to our conversations about science.

Interested in a career in science education? Check this out!

The Versatile PhD is hosting a web-based panel discussion on careers in informal science education (read: science education outside of the classroom). Panelists holding jobs in nonprofits, science centers, and government agencies will introduce themselves on February 23rd and answer your questions until the 27th. No registration necessary, but you’ll need to join VPhD to participate (VPhD is an amazing community for those exploring a variety of career paths, so joining the website is really just giving yourself a present. Do it!) More information about the panel here.

Announcing CETI: Career Exploration Through Internships

Attn all Advanced-to-Candidacy students.

Here is a unique opportunity to explore career options!

The Career Exploration Through Internships Program (CETI) is a program at UC Davis that allows graduate students to do internships in a broad range of career settings beyond academic research/teaching. The goal of CETI is to provide graduate students with hands-on experience in appropriate career environments in order to help them make informed decisions about which of the many career paths to pursue. The program is open to PhD students in Biomedical Engineering, Food Science, Immunology, Integrative Genetics and Genomics, Integrative Pathobiology, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Toxicology and Plant Biology who have advanced to candidacy. 

Applications are due Friday, November 14. All are welcome to the information sessions.

For more information, attend one of the CETI Information Sessions:

Wednesday, Oct 22, 12:10 to 1:00 pm, 234 South Hall

Wednesday, Oct 29, 4:10 to 5:00 pm, 2205 Medical Education Building, Sacramento

Thursday, Oct 30, 4:10 to 5:00 pm, 234 South Hall

Questions? Contact Janice Morand, UC Davis, CETI Program Coordinator.

Rediscover childlike wonder with a pen pal

pen pal certificateLetters to a Pre-Scientist connects students in low-income schools with scientists using the ol’ pen pal method. They ask that scientists sign up to send four letters over the course of the school year to an assigned student. Sounds fun, refreshing, and relatively easy. I only just found out about this program and the first letter receipt deadline has already passed (sorry!).  Anna, the organizer of LPS, told me that although the letters have already started up this year, she makes a waiting list for when scientist pen pals fall through, so sign up as a scientist-in-waiting and stick around for upcoming years. More info about your specific duties as a pen pal found here.

Beyond Academia: Engineering & Scientific Consulting

Are you interested in consulting? Learn about a career in engineering and scientific consulting at an info session at UC Berkeley. (This event is being run by the Beyond Academia conference) Register here!

When: October 15, 5:30pm – 7pm

Where: UC Berkeley


Bringing science careers to life: Do it for the kids


AAAS has launched two new outreach campaigns, and they’re asking for us to participate. One campaign, called 5 Questions for a Scientist, is exactly that. Participate in short interviews about your science career to help showcase STEM career options to young students. The other call for outreach, AAAS STEM Talks, connects scientists with K-12 students via video chat to discuss…science!

 Click here for more info and email contacts. Shout out to our own Dr. Ling Wong for this info. Thanks, Ling!

Grantmanship: know what works

Applying for an NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (F31) aka a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award is a process almost every grad student in our program goes through. The Quals 2 proposal basically is the ‘Research Strategy’ portion.

Recently, the National Institute for General Medical Science published four sample applications that were successfully funded! Be sure to check them out!

Alternatively, many current and past students have applied and been awarded NRSAs. Many are happy to let you check out their applications and even read your drafts. It is hard to generate something if you don’t know what it is supposed to look like.

So keep in mind that sometimes there is nothing wrong with following someone else’s lead.

You will find the sample applications HERE

Fix 50

So you want to get to UCDMC and back. This summer, that mission will take some planning since Sacramento is going to do some needed renovations on the 50 aka Business 80 aka Cal99 aka Cal16 aka the 305 aka that straight bit between Tower theater and the UCDMC exit.


Here is some relevant info from the UCD – Fix 50 site

Intercampus shuttle — The university will beef up this service to add capacity and frequency, and all rides will be free during Fix 50, for employees and students.

Did you see the part where I said the shuttle is FREE from April 22 – June 25?

The revised schedule shows buses running every half hour (instead of hourly) during peak commute times.

  • Davis to Sacramento — Additional runs start at 5:40, 6:40, 7:40, 8:40 and 9:40 a.m., and 2:40, 3:40, 4:40, 5:40 and 6:40 p.m.
  • Sacramento to Davis — Additional runs start at 6:40, 7:40, 8:40, 9:40 and 10:40 a.m., and 3:40, 4:40, 5:40, 5:40, 6:40 and 7:40 p.m.

“Last Mile, First Mile” shuttle — New for Fix 50, this free shuttle will run between the Sacramento campus and Fifth and L streets, three blocks from the Amtrak station. Shuttles will run 10 or 30 minutes apart, from 5:40 to 9 a.m. and 3:05 to 6:15 p.m. Here’s the schedule. For more information, call Bert Contreras or Valerie Stevens‐Campos, (916) 734‐8630.

Amtrak — If you live in Davis and work at the Med Center, apparently, you can be reimbursed for your ticket. To do so email She will get back to you with instructions, but basically you need to sign up on a website and give her your name and id number.  This will put you on a list that means you can get reimbursed (in full) for any Davis-Sacramento Amtrak rides you make during fix 50.