Seham Alaiyed

Program: PhD in Pharmacology 

Year: 3rd year

Poster Title: The effects of venlafaxine on matrix metalloproteinase release and proteolysis of perineuronal nets in an animal model of anxiety/depression.

Conference: Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI)’s biennial neural circuits research conference

Summary of my research: I study the molecular mechanism of antidepressant drugs efficacy. I’m specifically interested in the role of antidepressant drugs in degradation of the perineuronal nets (PNN), a latic like structure that surround parvalbumin interneuron. The removal of PNN have been associated with enhanced neuronal plasticity and cognitive functions, features that impaired in depression. I use molecular and electrophysiological techniques in my study.

Why did you choose to attend this conference? I wanted to expand my knowledge in the field of neuroscience, present my work and get valuable feedback from the experts in the field.  

What is one thing that you learned that you didn’t know before? I was fascinated by the effects of the anesthetic drugs on neuronal network activity. You would expect that anesthetic drugs would inhibit neurons while in fact, they can also activate a group of neurons in the brain that might be responsible for loss of consciousness and sleep. 

What advice would you offer to anyone looking to attend this conference in the future? I would encourage anyone interested in the neuroscience and neural circuits to attend this conference.