Meet Sadie Nennig of the University of Georgia in Athens. The graduate student is a member of Jesse Schank's lab in the Physiology and Pharmacology Department of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and will soon start her fourth year in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program. Sadie is also a CSHL first-timer. She is on campus for the Cellular Biology of Addiction course and shares her experience of the annual course so far.
What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I recently finished a project investigating the role of transcription factor NFkB in alcohol reward. My ongoing dissertation studies aim to elucidate the neural circuitry underlying comorbid alcohol abuse and depression in hopes of identifying potential therapeutic targets for this specific subpopulation of alcoholics.
Was there something specific about the Cellular Biology of Addiction course that drew you to apply?
Since starting my graduate studies, I have found that it is very easy to primarily focus on the recent literature and exciting findings of the particular drug of abuse that you work with. Although I currently study alcohol abuse, I have always been intrigued by how all drugs of abuse work in the brain. Thus, I was ecstatic to learn about this course and to have the opportunity to apply. I knew that this course would be immensely valuable not only for my current studies during my PhD, but also for my career as an addiction researcher.
What is your key takeaway from the course?
This course has allowed me to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the incredible techniques available to study addiction and complex factors leading to the development of dependence. From behavioral neuroscience, to genetics and biochemistry, we have had the opportunity to learn about ways to study addiction from many different and valuable perspectives. It is truly amazing to see the work going on across fields aimed at understanding this devastating disorder and how we can treat it more effectively.
How many CSHL courses have you attended?
This is my first one, and I can already say I cannot wait to return!
If someone curious in attending the Cellular Biology of Addiction course asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would recommend this course in a heartbeat. The atmosphere created here allows you to interact with well-known researchers, postdocs, and graduate students in an intellectually engaging yet comfortable setting. I am someone who is typically intimidated to ask questions in settings such as large conferences. However, the instructors, lecturers, and students alike have created a learning environment in which I feel comfortable to engage in discussions. I have been able to learn so much in this environment and apply what I have learned to my own studies.
What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
Night swimming with the glowing algae!
Sadie received a stipend from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to cover a portion of her course tuition. On behalf of Sadie, thank you to NIDA for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend a CSHL course where they expand their skills, knowledge, and network.