On October 17-21, more than 30,000 people from over 80 countries congregated at the 2015 Society for Neuroscience (SfN) 45th meeting. This annual meeting is considered the premier venue for neuroscientists to present emerging science, learn from experts, forge collaborations with peers, explore new tools and technologies, and advance careers.
At this meeting, Dr. Stan Floresco, professor and neuroscientist in the Department of Psychology at UBC, was invited to share his research at a special lecture. His lecture, Uncertainty, Choice and Dopamine, drew 4000 members of the global neuroscience community. And while the large audience may have been in awe of Dr. Floresco’s work, he himself was awestruck saying “it was an awesome experience in the literal sense of the word.”
Floresco attended his first SfN meeting as an undergraduate student a little over 20 years ago. It was the year 1993 and the budding neuroscientist was excited to be surrounded by so many like-minded people. “I was amazed and overwhelmed by the experience. I never thought that one day I’d return to be on such a big stage at that meeting.” say Floresco.
His lecture delved into the interactions between the prefrontal cortical, amygdalar, striatal, and habenular nodes within dopaminergic circuitry; and how these circuits shape decision biases and underlie conflicting urges when evaluating options that vary in terms of potential risks and rewards.
“To be up on such a stage was a huge honor. After my lecture, I thanked the audience for helping to make one of my dreams come true,” says Floresco. “It was great to showcase the work coming out of UBC — and to show how traditional research approaches can still yield interesting and surprising answers to important questions we still have about how the brain controls complex forms of behaviour.”