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Serotonin Safari

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Author: Julie Hensler, PhD | Category: Of Interest | August 18, 2014

Nestled in the southwestern coast of South Africa, the Arabella Hotel and Spa is surrounded by the exotic scenery of the Bot River Lagoon and Kogelberg Mountains. The International Society of Serotonin Research (ISSR) chose this venue for the 11th ISSR Meeting: WCP salelitte. Several of our faculty, Drs. Lyn Daws, Charles France and Julie Hensler attended this conference, which featured some of the leading serotonin researchers in the world, focusing on the role of serotonin in psychiatric illness, immune modulation, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and addiction, as well as serotonin neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology and receptor function.



A particularly exciting aspect of the meeting was that a selection of highly talented graduate students and postdocs from all over the world presented their work as part of one of the symposia or in the special “Prodigees and Pioneers” session. Support for the travel of these young scientists was funded by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant (Lyn Daws, PI). Dr. France presented his work “Preclinical assessment of the abuse potential of antiretroviral drugs: the role of serotonin mechanisms”; Dr. Daws presented her work “How much extracellular serotonin matters? Deconvoluting serotonin clearance kinetics in vivo.”

At the Gala dinner, Dr. Daws was installed as the new president of the ISSR. There is a real UTHSCSA connection with this society, as Dr. Hensler is a former president of the ISSR, and Dr. Kelly Berg is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the ISSR.

Drs. Daws, France and Hensler took advantage of the natural beauty of South Africa, and extended their stays in order to spend time in the Greater Kruger National Park. The more adventurous chose to stay in a tented bush camp while others were more comfortable with 5-star game lodges. This was unquestionably a trip of a lifetime!

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