Anner Harris, a second-year student in the Neuroscience discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program has been awarded the Trainee Professional Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience.
According to the Society for Neuroscience’s website, the Trainee Professional Development Award “recognizes undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who demonstrate scientific merit and excellence in research…The aim of these awards is to promote the advancement of career training to neuroscientists from a wide range of institutions.”
Harris is currently working in the lab of Dr. Kevin Bieniek where she is researching how astrocytic tau pathology contributes to aging and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
“Evidence suggests that astrocytic tau pathology plays an important role in aging, demonstrated by the classification of thorn-shaped astrocytes as aging-related tau astrogliopathy,” she said.
She explained that thorn-shaped astrocytes are also a prominent feature of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a mixed tauopathy linked to repetitive head trauma.
“Our goals are two-fold: A) identify differences in astrocytic tau proteoforms between these disorders and B) evaluate astrocytic diversity to understand which astrocyte subpopulations are pathology susceptible.”
She believes that understanding the similarities and differences of thorn-shaped astrocytes from traumatic and aging etiologies have important ramifications in elucidating chronic traumatic encephalopathy and astrogliopathy disease pathogenesis.
Harris explains that she applied for the award because for her, the Society for Neuroscience conference is the perfect opportunity to hone her scientific communication skills and network with other like-minded researchers.
Outside of grad school, she enjoys creative writing, traveling, trying new foods and exploring different genres of music.