On April 24th The Friedman Brain Institute’s

12th Annual Neuroscience Retreat


The Friedman Brain Institute is changing it’s annual retreat from an in-person conference at Riverside Church to an all-morning meeting via Zoom. It will be a great morning of FBI updates, talks and awards. We look forward to seeing all of you online!


Friday, April 24, 2020

9:00 am to 11:30 am

Zoom info here

About Us

The Friedman Brain Institute hosts a Neuroscience Retreat held in the spring of each year. Neuroscience is multidisciplinary by nature and, reflecting this, the scientists and physicians that contribute to the neurosciences at Mount Sinai hail from a variety of departments and campuses. The Retreat provides an opportunity for everyone in the Neuroscience community at Mount Sinai – faculty, fellows, students, researchers and clinicians – to meet and discuss their work in order to increase awareness of ongoing research and approaches, to foster new interactions, and to generate novel ideas.

For additional information, please contact Vena Persaud at vena.persaud@mssm.edu or Veronica Szarejko at veronica.szarejko@mssm.edu


Daniela Schiller, PhD

Towfique Raj, PhD

George Huntley, PhD
Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Mark Baxter, PhD
Faculty Keynote Speaker

Eric J Nestler, MD, PhD
Director, Friedman Brain Institute

Paul J Kenny, PhD
Chairman, Nash Family Department of Neuroscience

Drew D Kiraly, MD, PhD

Allison C Waters, PhD

Ana Badimon, PhD

Sarah King

Ofer Perl, PhD

Flurin Cathomas, MD


9:00am – 10:00am

Opening Remarks and Announcements

Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD

Paul Kenny, PhD

George W. Huntley, PhD


10:00am – 10:30am

Keynote Speaker Mark G. Baxter, PhD

Neuroscience, Cognition, and Anesthesia


10:30am – 10:50am

Student Abstracts

Ana Badimon, PhD (Schaefer Lab), Neuroscience

Negative feedback control of neuronal activity by microglia

Sarah King (NARC Research Program – Goldstein Lab), Psychiatry

Anatomical connectivity of the habenula and aggression in cocaine-addicted individuals


10:50am – 11:10am

Postdoc Abstracts

Flurin Cathomas, MD (Russo Lab), Neuroscience

Interactions between peripheral monocytes and the brain in stress disorders

Ofer Perl, PhD (Gu Lab), Psychiatry

Belief About Nicotine Modulates Reward Signals in a Dose-dependent Fashion


11:10am – 11:30am

Awards Announcements

(AWARDS: Postdoc Award, Neuroscience Mentorship Distinction Award “NMDA” Award, Most “Liked” Social Media Image)

To view all Poster Presentations:


Our awards ceremony is one of the highlights of the retreat. We are thrilled to honor the outstanding students, postdocs and faculty that make up the Friedman Brain Institute membership.


  • Brain Award: The Brain Award is given to a student with the best record of achievement in neuroscience.
  • Postdoc Award: PI, self- and peer- nominations are submitted to the Retreat Committee, The Retreat Organizers choose the awardee.
  • Neuroscience Mentorship Distinction Award (NMDA): The Neuroscience Mentorship Distinction Award is given by Neuroscience PhD students and postdocs to an outstanding mentor in the Neuroscience MTA. This mentor is recognized as exemplifying dedication to trainee well-being, career development and commitment to the educational mission of our institution and community.
  • Best Presentations: All abstract submissions are reviewed by a diverse team of 16 faculty who choose the top two students and the top two postdocs to present their work. Priority is given to collaborative projects that cross disciplines and embody the spirit of the retreat’s theme “Celebrating Collaboration”.
    • 2- Students
    • 2- Postdocs
  • Best Data Blitz: The top abstracts submitted by a student and postdoc are selected to present a 5 minute Data Blitz video. One week before the retreat (April 17th), the FBI membership will view and vote for their top two data blitz videos (2 Students, 2 Postdocs). On the day of the retreat, during the award ceremony, the winner will be revealed.
    • Students – First place & Second place poster
    • Postdocs – First place & Second place poster
  • Best Images: Chosen by the Friedman Brain Institute leadership (Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD, Priti Balchandani, PhD, Mark G. Baxter, PhD, Joshua B. Bederson, MD, Kristen Brennand, PhD, Joseph Buxbaum, MSc, PhD, John F Crary, MD, PhD, Samuel Gandy, MD, Alison Goate, DPhil, Rene S Kahn, MD, PhD, Patrick Hof, MD, Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Paul Kenny, PhD, Helen S Mayberg, MD, Scott J. Russo, PhD, Anne Schaefer, MD, PhD, Paul Slesinger, PhD, Barbara G. Vickrey, MD, MPH)
    • First place
    • Second place
  • “Daily Question”
    EVERY DAY, leading up to the retreat, we will ask a “Daily Question” in our email blasts.
    The FIRST person to answer the question correctly will win an award at the retreat!
    ONE RULE – In order to receive an award you MUST attend the retreat and be signed in with your mssm.edu or mountsinai.org email account.
    QUESTION #1: Made before today’s modern imaging techniques, some of these works of art were created by an artist who has had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Who is the artist and which images are theirs? (i.e. A, B, C, Jane Doe)
  • Most “Liked” Social Media Image:
  • Chosen by garnering the most likes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Retreat give-away

Everyone that joins the Zoom meeting on April 24th will receive a bluetooth speaker.

In order to receive the speaker, when logging into Zoom, you MUST sign in with your name and Mount Sinai email address (John Dow john.dow@mssm.edu or John Dow john.dow@mountsinai.org).

Please note that only mssm.edu and mountsinai.org email accounts are eligible to receive the bluetooth speaker.

  • Make it a party anywhere you go thanks to this bluetooth speaker!
  • This portable speaker is the perfect companion for smartphones and other multimedia devices.
  • Easily pairs to your device wirelessly and also compatible with TF cards, FM and AUX.
  • Along with music, this speaker is also designed to take phone calls for hands-free talking.
  • This speaker features an aluminum anode construction with an eye-catching active LED blue suspension lighting effect.
  • When fully charged, the rechargeable 300 mAh battery provides up to 2.5 hours of music playtime, 4.5 hours of talk time and 20 hours of standby time.
  • Includes a micro 5P charging cable and instruction sheet.
  • When charging, a red light is illuminated on the side and the light turns off when fully charged.
  • Size: 1-5/8″ x 2-3/4″.

Friedman Brain Institute

The Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of the world’s premier institutions dedicated to advancing our understanding of brain and spinal cord disorders, and driving innovative approaches to new treatments and diagnostic tests through translational research. We are committed to the best in education, research, and clinical care.

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