NSCI Scientist Chris Bjornsson, PhD. Speaks at Society for Neuroscience Annual Conference at The San Diego Conference Center, 2013

Recently, NSCI’s Dr. Chris Bjornsson presented at the largest neuroscience conference in the world, with over 30,000 attendees. Dr. Bjornsson spoke in a mini symposia, sharing the topic of the choroid plexus with 5 other speakers.  Two speakers in his group spoke about development, Chris focused on aging, then the discussion turned to diseases and engineering for drug/ cellular therapies. Out of the six speakers in Chris’ group, he shares, “Each of us individually brought something different to the table.”

“I was more nervous than I was in ages and ages.  I’ve done teaching since my Ph.D. I’ve taught entire courses. I’ve taught labs every day, every week. I taught during my time as a post-doc at the Wadsworth Center, I’ve given seminars, I’ve given speeches, I’ve done training.  And, I haven’t been this nervous since I presented my Ph.D. defense! So it was a rush!  It was a huge rush.”

Chris brought with him his extremely unique montage images of the choroid plexus and sub ventricular zone.  He says about them, “It’s hard to appreciate how important this tissue is, the extent that it occupies in these cavities, because most of the time when we look at sectioned material we don’t even see it, so here it is.  Here’s everything.”  Chris shared a common image of the choroid plexus and then compared his image, which shows significantly more of the complexities of this region of the brain.  And, he says that everyone was in awe.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 3.37.40 PM

Photo by Dr. Chris Bjornsson

This series of photographs of the choroid plexus are unique to Chris’ research and to our lab.  Since the conference, he’s had many requests to share them.

Chris admits, “It’s the first time I’ve presented at a conference in front of a group that large and with so much attached to it.  It’s a real affirmation that the things that you are doing are worthwhile and that you are moving in the right direction.  The choroid plexus in neuroscience has generally been under appreciated.  It’s like a forest. You need the air to breathe. It has a more global effect.”

What’s next for Dr. Bjornsson:  Studying how the sub-ventricular zone and choroid plexus collaborate in the aging process and how stem cells could participate in therapeutic outcomes.