LATP Provides Young Neuroscientists With Valuable Professional Development Opportunities
Fifteen neuroscience trainees from Latin American and Caribbean countries traveled to Querétaro, México, in August to participate in a three-week course as part of SfN’s new Latin American Training Program (LATP). Organized by the Institute of Neurobiology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the hands-on experience of these 15 LATP fellows complements yearlong online programming made available to all 73 LATP associates, including webinars, recorded content from the course, online discussions, and Web chats designed to highlight cutting-edge science and provide professional development opportunities to emerging scientists.
The LATP is made possible through funding by The Grass Foundation, regional bodies of the International Brain Research Organization, and host institutions.
“The course brings together young and very bright people from all over Latin America,” said Adrian Rodriguez-Contreras, an LATP faculty member and assistant professor at the City College of New York. “The warm, interactive environment of Querétaro acts as a catalyst for a great scientific experience, including a very open scientific community and a great technical infrastructure.”
Students in Querétaro enjoyed an intensive learning environment, receiving hands-on training in a wide variety of new technologies. Highlights from the three-week course included lectures from leaders in the field and labs in both optogenetic and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies. Fellows also had the opportunity to serve as test subjects, using an MRI machine to see the internal workings of their own brains.
LATP fellows benefited from the intimate environment afforded by the course design. In addition to enjoying small classes with respected neuroscientists, they were able to discuss the field with their professors during meals and time outside the lab, allowing them to take advantage of every possible networking opportunity.
“To have had the chance to learn from esteemed researchers and my fellow students is one of the most enriching professional experiences I have ever had,” said LATP Fellow Raian Contreras of the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela. “We all had different backgrounds to contribute to the discussion, which allowed us all to benefit from one another’s strengths.”
The LATP places an emphasis on providing resources to student scientists across the Latin American and Caribbean communities. The online associates program makes this content accessible to all qualified applicants, giving students the opportunity to discuss professional development, ethical issues, and scientific conduct with their peers and with leaders in the field.
“One of the primary advantages to participating in this program is the networking opportunities it provides,” said LATP Fellow Betina Gonzalez of the Pharmacological Research Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Coming into contact with so many people in different stages of their scientific careers and being able to chat with them about how we do science and what we can improve is incredibly valuable, especially in our region.”
Since meeting in Mexico, LATP participants have continued to engage in extensive discussion and interaction via Neuronline, SfN’s members-only online community where neuroscientists can share great science, network, forge collaborations, and keep in touch.
Applications for the second year of the program are now being accepted. Learn more and apply at SfN.org/LATP.