Spring 2014 GSC Conference Travel Grant Winners Series

On August 22, 2014 by Grad Forum

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) offers graduate student conference travel grants in the fall and spring of each academic year. The grants are awarded to qualifying students to help finance their travel and/or registration at conferences or other academic gatherings at which they will be presenting their research. We will be publishing a series of write-ups from grant recipients over the next few weeks. You can read our second installment here.

Alison Paquette, a third-year graduate student in the Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (PEMM) working with Professor Carmen Marsit, attended the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. gsc_travel_grant_paquette_thumbnail_1

Paquette studies how in utero epigenetic variation—or changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence—influences infant neurobehavioral outcomes. She is particularly interested in epigenetic changes that occur in placental serotonin and cortisol response genes, which can be induced by the maternal environment and have lifelong impacts on behavior and cognition.

The Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting was held at the beautiful Vancouver Convention Centre in May, and was attended by over 7,000 pediatricians and pediatric researchers. During this conference, Paquette gave a platform presentation entitled “FKBP5 Placental Genetic and Epigenetic Variation Are Associated With Infant Neurobehavioral Outcomes” as a part of the fetal basis of adult disease symposium.

While at the Annual Meeting, Paquette heard many other intriguing talks about related research in her field, including a symposium on the effects of maternal depression on long-term infant outcomes. She also supported the eight other Dartmouth researchers from the Community and Family Medicine Program, who gave talks and poster presentations.

Paquette notes that her three days at the conference were unsurprisingly rainy, but she did get a glimpse of the stunning Cascades Mountain Range and was able to explore a bit of the city. The Olympic torch was located next to the convention center, and she was also able to see some of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic medals.

She extends her gratitude to the GSC travel awards committee for selecting her to receive this grant and providing her with the opportunity to share her research internationally!

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