Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Seminars by PhD students to Incentivize Research Exchange

Rui Feng, PhD

INSPIRE is a prestigious symposium sponsored by the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine devoted to advancing research excellence in the early stages of a scientist’s career. Senior graduate students are brought to St. Louis to present their thesis work and expand their scientific network at WashU. INSPIRE participants engage with researchers at Washington University over two days in person, including:

  • Presenting their work during a symposium featuring all INSPIRE speakers and WashU neuroscientists
  • Meeting one-on-one with faculty
  • Engaging in informal discussions with the Washington University neuroscience community
  • Exploring St. Louis, the Gateway to the West

Being selected as an INSPIRE speaker is an exciting opportunity for graduate students to share their research with the Washington University neuroscience community, to receive feedback, to explore postdoctoral opportunities, and to form professional and intellectual relationships with peers, mentors and future collaborators. We at Washington University benefit from learning about inspiring research done by talented young scientists from around the world. The Department of Neuroscience covers the costs of travel and accommodation.

Questions? Please email

2024 INSPIRE Symposium

Join us Monday, May 6, 2024 in the Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium for a full day of presentations by INSPIRE speakers and WashU neuroscientists.

Lunch will be served. Please register to attend by April 24, 2024.


8:55 a.m.

Opening remarks

9 a.m.

Duc Huynh
Advisor: Michael Boyce, PhD, Duke University
Post-translational regulation of neurofilament light form and functions by O-GlcNAc modification

9:30 a.m.

Randall Eck
Advisor: Brian Kraemer, PhD, University of Washington
Dissecting the role of nuclear proteostasis machinery on protein aggregation in C. elegans models of neurodegenerative disease

10 a.m.

Kia Barclay

Kia Barclay
Graduate student, Tristan Li Lab
Washington University
Tracking and manipulating microglia states

10:15 a.m.


10:45 a.m.

Roxana Zeraati
Advisor: Anna Levina, PhD, University of Tübingen
Flexible modulation of intrinsic timescales during attention shaped by strong recurrent dynamics

11:15 a.m.

Hannah Oberle
Advisor: Pierre Apostolides, PhD, University of Michigan
Synaptic mechanisms and local circuitry of top-down control in the shell inferior colliculus

11:45 a.m.

Saul Bello Rojas

Saul Bello Rojas
Graduate student: Martha Bagnall Lab
Washington University

12 p.m.


1:00 p.m.

Nathaniel Jones

Nathaniel Jones
Advisor: Simon Chen, PhD, Univesity of Ottawa
Chronic in vivo two-photon imaging of cortical noradrenaline reveals altered spatiotemporal release dynamics during motor learning in a mouse-model of autism

1:30 p.m.

Adam Lowet

Adam Lowet
Advisor: Naoshige Uchida, PhD, Harvard University
A mesolimbic circuit for distributional reinforcement learning

2 p.m.

Takaya Ogasawa, PhD
Postdoctoral research associate: Ilya Monosov Lab
Washington University
A primate neural pathway for saccadic novelty seeking

2:30 p.m.


3 p.m.

Mark Gergues

Mark Gergues
Advisor: Mazen Kheirbek, PhD, UCSF
A thalamic-ventral hippocampal pathway supports anxiety-related behavior

3:30 p.m.

Rufei Li
Advisor: Vanessa Ruta, PhD, The Rockefeller University
Male-male interactions shape mate selection in Drosophila

4 p.m.


4:30 -6:30 p.m.

Poster session

Past INSPIRE events

See the department’s full events calendar>>