Neuroscience Graduate Program - Student Profile


Robyn St. Laurent

Student Profile

My scientific interests lie in understanding how predictable patterns of behavior come about from changes in the brain. Drugs of abuse stand out to me as a fascinating example of how a brain circuit can become maladaptive and in particular, how plasticity of synapses may represent an initiating catalyst of circuit-level changes and eventually, a pathological condition.

Undergraduate Institution

Colby College

Research | Presentations & Posters | Publications | Accomplishments | Hobbies & Outside Interests

Research Description

Currently, my dissertation work is focused on a novel form of synaptic strengthening of opioid-sensitive inhibitory inputs to the ventral tegmental area. The impact of my dissertation will be to describe strengthening of a powerful source of inhibition in the VTA and the circuits that it happens in and how it relates the acute effects of opioids in the brain.

Presentations and Posters

SfN 2016 Annual Meeting
St Laurent R, Moore C, Hochgeschwender U, Connors B, Lipscombe D, Kauer J Poster: Bioluminescent control of optogenetics in acute brain slices

Gordon 2016: Optogenetic Approaches to Understanding Neural Circuits & Behavior
St Laurent R, Moore C, Hochgeschwender U, Connors B, Lipscombe D, Kauer J Poster: Bioluminescent control of optogenetics in dopamine neurons

SfN 2015 Annual Meeting (attendance only)

Gordon 2015: Excitatory Synapses & Brain Function (attendance only)

SfN 2014 Annual Meeting(attendance only)

SfN 2013 Annual Meeting
St Laurent R, Wang H, Morales M, Shaham Y, Bossert JM. Poster: Context-induced relapse after suppression of heroin seeking by adverse consequences and an alternative palatable food reward.

Gordon Research Conference: Catecholamines; August 2013; Mt. Snow, VT
St Laurent R, Wang H, Morales M, Shaham Y, Bossert JM. Poster: Context-induced relapse after suppression of heroin seeking by adverse consequences and an alternative palatable food reward.

Annual NIDA Fellows Poster Day; May 2013; Baltimore, MD.
St Laurent R, Wang H, Morales M, Shaham Y, Bossert JM. Poster: Context-induced relapse after suppression of heroin seeking by adverse consequences and an alternative palatable food reward.

53rd Annual Drosophila Research Conference sponsored by The Genetics Society of America 2012; Chicago, IL
St Laurent R, Ahmad ST. Poster: Sodium Butyrate Improves Motor Impairment in a Rotenone-Induced Drosophila Model of Parkinson’s Disease.

3rd Annual Mainely Data, Some Theory Conference; May 2012; Waterville, ME. (Poster and Talk)

Invited speaker at NIDA monthly seminar series: Science for Nonscientists (September 2013)
Talk Title: “Consequences of being a party animal: How to model relapse in rats”

Publications

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1RiI8MFFOWLQf/bibliography/47207507/public/?sort=date&direction=ascending

Accomplishments

2008-2012 William D. Adams Presidential Scholar, Colby College
2010-2012 New England Small College Athletic Conference All-Academic Team
2012 Graduated cum laude and with distinction in the major Psychology: Neuroscience
2014 Outstanding Poster award at 2014 NIDA Poster and Mentoring Awards Day
2014 Outstanding Poster award at NIH Post-Baccalaureate Poster Day
2014-2015 Interdisciplinary Predoctoral Neuroscience Training Program (5 T32 MH20068-14)
2014-2015 Sidney Frank Fellowship - internal fellowship in the Division of Biology & Medicine at Brown
2014-2015 Honorable mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
2015-2016 Interdisciplinary Predoctoral Neuroscience Training Program (5 T32 MH20068-15)
2015-2016 Honorable mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
2016-2017 Neuroscience Advanced Predoctoral Institutional Training Grant (5 T32 NS62443-8)

Hobbies and Outside Interests

Outside of the lab you can usually find me running all around. I continue to compete in track and field and road races in distances ranging from 1 mile to 10K.