All the Cajal

All the Cajal

The science gods have blessed us this week. Not only are we given a new COSMOS series*, but an incredible link crossed my path on twitter…

241 of Cajal’s sketches 

Purkinje cell by Cajal

I expect we will see much more of Cajal in future seminars.

* my reaction to episode 1

Link: When All Motivation is Lost

When All Motivation is Lost by Andrea Zellner

The motivation fairy is fickle.

On our best days motivation flows free. Thoughts and words fall out of our fingers and onto our screens. If you are really lucky and days become weeks, you can start to feel that this is the new norm. Then, BOOM! The motivation fairy flies away and leaves a giant brick wall in his wake. Sometimes it is because we have been working in overdrive trying to meet a deadline. And we have earned a break.

Other times it feels like you were abandoned for no good reason. When that happens you need to have tricks up your sleeve to bring the fairy back. The above link points to some tricks you can use when the motivation well is dry.

Please share tricks that have worked for you!

National Research Service Awards

Today is not any old Friday the 13th, it is also the final submission date of the year for NRSA applications.Image

The NRSAs are a National Institutes of Health funding mechanism for pre- and postdoctoral fellows, which can fund your training for up to 3 years (last I checked). Besides keeping you out of the classroom and in the lab, they are a big gold star on your CV.

At this point you may be asking, “Andrea, how do I get one of these NRSA?” The fastest answer is You Apply! The real answer is, of course, more complicated. Because these grants are given out by the individual institutions (IC) and not the NIH, requirements can vary depending on the IC (data on funding trends by IC can be found here: In general, they require a research proposal, justification of the research support available to you, and letter of recommendation. Be aware that there are only three submissions dates per year (Apr 8, Aug 8, Dec 8) and if you are lucky enough to be funded on your first try it still takes about a year from submission till your funding start date, so start early.

A number of students in the program have applied for and been awarded F31 grants (thats the name of the grant code), so ask around for advice on what to do and what NOT to do*. Of course the internet is also full of webinars and posts with advice.

*if there is demand, I’m sure a seminar can be put together.

Link: Funding announcement for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellows (Parent F31)

How to reserve a neuroscience conference room

Today I learned that some might not know how to reserve the conference rooms at CNS and Med Neuro. Here’s a quick guide:
1) Point your browser to
2) Scroll down on the “Site contents” list on the left to the 2 CNS calendars and pick the one you want (CNS 113 or Med Neuro 320).
3) Click on “<<” and “>>” to navigate by month. Make sure the conference room you want is available when you want it.
4) Once you’ve found your date(s) and time(s), click on “Add Single Event” or “Add Repeating Event.”
5) Enter all your reservation information. Importantly make sure that you’ve got your AM and PM correct.
6) Click submit.
Note: Remember that a human authorizes these so it may take a few days. If you don’t hear back in a few days you may want to email Cristeta.