Public Release:  Neuroscientists from Louisiana Tech University to present at international conference

Louisiana Tech University

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Credit: Louisiana Tech University

RUSTON, La. - Dr. Mark DeCoster, the James E. Wyche III Endowed Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University, will lead a team of Louisiana Tech neuroscientists in presenting a lecture at the Society for Neuroscience's (SfN) annual meeting, October 15 in New Orleans.

The lecture titled, "Randomization of submaximal glutamate stimulus to interpret astrocyte effect on calcium dynamics," will be featured as part of Neuroscience 2012 - SfN's annual meeting that provides the world's largest forum for neuroscientists to debut research and network with colleagues from around the world. More than 30,000 neuroscientists from around the world are expected to attend the event with over 16,000 presentations scheduled to take place during the five-day conference.

"Less than 10 percent of all presentations at the meeting are chosen for a lecture, so we are excited to share our findings with the neuroscience community," said DeCoster. "What we are showing is that different ratios of neurons and support cells (astrocytes) in the brain, as well as the order in which these cells are stimulated, combine to help predict how these cells respond to a subsequent stimulus. From these studies, we could learn about how brain cells respond to an injury."

DeCoster believes his team's research may provide further insights into how the brain handles signals and could lead to a better approach to recovery after a brain injury or in treating brain diseases. "We hope that this research will give us a better understanding of how the brain works both normally and in disease."

The lecture will be presented by Kinsey Cotton, one of DeCoster's Ph.D. students, and will focus on work that was carried out in collaboration with the Louisiana Tech's mathematics department and with contributions from Drs. Katie Evans and Mihaela Paun, and Ph.D. student Richard Idowu. The work was also supported in part by funding from the National Science Foundation.

"Having our work showcased in a lecture reflects well on the Louisiana Tech students and faculty who were involved in this research, which was a real collaboration involving both biomedical engineering and mathematics students and faculty," DeCoster said. "Our group has already published together, and this lecture will let us update the neuroscience community on our latest findings."

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Neuroscience 2012 will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, October 13-17. Through lectures, symposia, workshops, and events, attendees experience innovative neuroscience research. The conference features thousands of abstracts and provides networking and professional development opportunities for the attendees.

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