Sense to Synapse 2012: Bridging the gap between sensory scientists

Stuart Firestein talks about the sense of smell at the NYC networking event.

The Sense to Synapse (S2S) networking event that brought sensory scientists from the New York Tri-state area together took place on April 19th 2012. With support from theBiophysical Society, this one day-conference featured an extraordinary panel of plenary speakers covering the five senses: Stuart Firestein, Jim Hudspeth, Eero Simoncelli, Hakan Ozdener and Ellen Lumpkin. The meeting was extremely well attended and a number of other notable scientists from NYC could be seen in the audience, as well as socializing with attendees during the breaks. The organizing duo, Christopher Bergevin (Columbia University) and Dáibhid Ó Maoiléidigh (Rockfeller University), accomplished something quite remarkable in the sensory field-they brought scientists working on all five senses to one place in order to exchange research results and ideas. A number of attendees (from PhD students to PIs) gave short talks that were well received and stimulated a number of discussions during the breaks.

Participants in the Sense to Synapse Networking Event mingle during a coffee break.

To a sensory neuroscientist such as myself, this meeting gave an extensive overview of up-to-date research on other sensory systems. More importantly, it provided an opportunity to discuss some common biophysical principles that all five senses rely on. Although crossmodality is still a very small field, meetings such as this one can spark new collaborations between scientists working on different senses and hence provide new insights into the way our brain integrates sensory information. Hopefully, S2S 2012 was only the first in the series of Sense to Synapse meetings, which is why I will conclude with: see you all again at S2S 2013!

–Adema Ribic, Yale University

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