Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day

Science Day

Science Day goals

  • Promote “centeredness” by providing a scientific forum.
  • Provide an opportunity to present significant research findings.
  • Encourage research collaboration.

A Tradition With Innovation

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center supports basic/molecular, applied, and clinical research and training. The VKC has more than 300 faculty researchers, staff, and affiliate members working together across disciplines to create basic and clinical scientific discoveries, to translate research into best practices, and to train the next generation of researchers and practitioners. The ultimate goal is to make positive differences in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

2018 Science Day - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2018 Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Science Day will take place Tuesday, Jan. 23, beginning at 12:00 p.m. at Vanderbilt University Student Life Center. Posters will be hung in the Commodore Ballroom from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. with the program beginning at noon in the Board of Trust Room. Science Day activities will include Data Blitz presentations by poster winners, keynote address by an invited national IDD researcher, poster session, as well as opening lunch and a closing wine/cheese reception. More information will be posted on this page as it is available.

Poster Sessions:

More than 100 posters will be presented by undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research faculty, and research staff conducting research in labs or research programs of VKC members and investigators. Prizes will be awarded to an undergraduate student, graduate student, and postdoctoral fellow* for best research poster in each of the following research themes:

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Clinical, Behavioral, and Intervention Research
  • Systems Neuroscience

In addition, all poster presenters (first authors) become VKC Affiliates and are eligible to compete for VKC travel awards to present at a scientific or professional conference in the next year. Posters presented at other scientific or professional meetings within the last year are eligible for submission.

2018 Poster Competition and Data Blitz Participation

In an effort to make the poster submission process more like what a researcher would encounter for a professional conference, 2018 Science Day poster winners will be chosen BEFORE SCIENCE DAY based on the quality of the ABSTRACTS submitted by the presenters.

The Call for Abstracts will open on MONDAY, OCT. 16, 2017. There are two deadlines to consider, depending on whether or not a presenter wants to be eligible for cash prize/Data Blitz consideration.

  • The submission deadline for poster presenters wishing to compete for an award is 11:59 p.m. MONDAY, NOV. 13, 2017. Submissions received after that deadline may still present at Science Day but will not be considered for competition. NOTE: All presenters have the option to opt out of competition from Oct. 16 through Dec. 11. You do not have to wait to submit if you do not want to participate in the competition.
  • The submission deadline for ALL Science Day poster abstracts is 11:59 p.m. MONDAY, DEC. 11, 2017. The submission portal will close after that time, and no additional posters will be accepted.

There is a 425-word limit for all abstracts, and there are pre-divided sections for Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. NOTE: Some Greek symbols will not translate from REDCap to Word or PDF.

Out of those who choose to compete, seven winners will be chosen: one graduate and postdoctoral presenter from each of the three themes (Systems Neuroscience; Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience; and Clinical, Behavioral, Intervention Research), as well as one overall undergraduate presenter. The graduate and postdoctoral winners will be eligible for a $500 Warren Lambert Travel Award to present their research at a scientic meeting during the year. The overall undergraduate poster winner will have his/her choice of the $500 Warren Lambert Travel Award or a $250 cash prize. Also, the six graduate and postdoctoral winners will each be asked to contribute a 5-minute Data Blitz during the Science Day program. All graduate and postdoctoral presenters entering the competiton must be willing to participate in the Data Blitz portion of the Science Day program.

UPDATE: The Call for Posters is closed.

Register to attend

Abstract submission does not mean that you are registered to attend Science Day. Please register to attend by visiting the Science Day Events page. Advance registration will aid in nametags and catering requests. Thank you.

2018 VKC Science Day Agenda:

11:30 a.m.: Registration and Poster Hanging Opens

12:00 p.m.: Lunch buffet available

1:00 p.m.: Welcome and Opening Remarks (Board of Trust Room)

  • Ron Emeson, Ph.D., Science Day Chair
  • Jeffrey R. Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President & CEO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Jeff Neul, M.D., Ph.D., Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Director

1:15 p.m.: VKC Data Blitz (Board of Trust Room)

  • David Zald, Ph.D., Introduction of Science Day Poster Abstract Competition Winners & Announcement of Warren Lambert Memorial Awards
  • Data Blitz Presenters:
    • Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience, Graduate Student: Kirill Zavalin, “Excitatory to Inhibitory Transition in GABAergic Currents Guides Circuit Formation of Cortical Interneurons”
    • Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience, Postdoctoral Fellow: Anna Pfalzer, “Alterations in Arginine and Cholesterol Metabolism are rescued with Manganese exposure in a Mouse Model of Huntington's Disease”
    • Clinical/Behavioral/Intervention Research, Graduate Student: Jena McDaniel, “Can an Automated Measure - Child Reciprocal Vocal Contingency - Predict Language Outcomes for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?”
    • Systems Neuroscience, Graduate Student: Allison Whitten, “Investigating Neural Bias to Speech Using Auditory Event-Related Potentials in Children”
    • Systems Neuroscience, Postdoctoral Fellow: Branden Stansley, “Meta-modulation of mGlu5 by mGlu3 during hippocampal dependent synaptic plasticity and behavior”
    • Clinical/Behavioral/Intervention Research, Postdoctoral Fellow: Erica Zippert, “More than just numbers: Examining how pattern and spatial skills predict preschoolers' math knowledge”

    2:00 p.m.: Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Ron Emeson

    2:05 p.m.: Keynote Address (Board of Trust Room)

    • "Technology as a Tool for Bringing Services and Research to Individuals with Developmental Disabilities, Families, and Communities"
      Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D., Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Director, MIND Institute, University of California Davis

    3:00 p.m.: Poster Session (Ballroom)—Reception Buffet is open

    4:30 p.m.: Appreciation (Ballroom)

    • Planning committee—favorite posters contest & Science Day quiz & prizes
    • Jeff Neul, M.D., Ph.D., VKC Director

    4:45 p.m.: Posters Removed

    2018 Science Day Abstracts and Poster Session Assignments

    Click here to view the 2018 Science Day poster abstracts. Abstracts are in order by poster board number. To find a particular abstact, use the Ctrl+F feature on your computer to search for the presenter's last name.

    Click here to view the posters assigned to each of the two Poster Sessions.

    Click here to view the 2018 VKC Science Day poster map.

    Click here to view the 2018 VKC Science Day program booklet.


Elizabeth Turner, Science Day Coordinator, (615) 322-8240

View the 2016 Science Day flier