Page Image Frame

Hewapathirane, Sesath - Write Up

Brain Research Centre (PhD), UBC
Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL
2009 Round 3

I am a PhD candidate working at UBC’s Brain Research Centre in Vancouver. With generous support from the Disabilities Health Research Network I was able to attend this year’s annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience conference, held in Chicago USA. Being the largest neuroscience conference, with over 30,000 neuroscientists converging from around the globe, the sheer scale of these conferences is both intimidating and inspiring.

My research interests revolve around epilepsy and seizures, and I was quite happy to see that this field of research was very well represented at this year’s conference. I was able to interact with leading researchers in the field, and to hear about the interesting work being done. In addition to receiving critical feedback on my own research, it was encouraging to hear the many new ideas and suggestions for novel directions in which I could take my work. In fact, some researchers expressed interest in setting up collaborative projects--which is always an exciting prospect.

For me, a central benefit of attending such a large conference is being able to see research sub-fields that I am not often exposed to.   I have learned that gaining exposure to diverse research interests in fact broadens one’s own work, and often yields new ideas. I therefore also made an active effort to attend talks and chat with poster presenters in various other sub-disciplines. We were also able to hear keynote talks from Nobel laureates and other distinguished neuroscientists. Personally, these experiences re-affirmed my genuine interest in the brain, and also gave me confidence that many bright and motivated individuals are working together to unravel the many mysteries still facing us.

Overall, being able to attend this conference was an excellent experience, and I am very thankful to the Disabilities Health Research Network for facilitating my attendance.


International Award Winners: Inskip, J., Mikhail, D., Mills, P., Ramer, L., Simonette, G., Yiu, J., Zwicker, J., Chen, S.,  Faradaji, F., Gaudet, A.,
National Award Winners: Beirnes, K., Bundon, A., Hume, A., Lige, S., Schiarti, V.