The annual Neuroscience Retreat is open to all in the Washington University Neuroscience Community regardless of graduate program, department, or campus.

The Neuroscience Retreat is organized by graduate students in different programs, and is intended to foster scientific and social interaction among students, postdocs, and faculty.  

Stay tuned for the next retreat for the Neuroscience Community in fall 2025

We hope you enjoyed the 2023 Neuroscience Retreat!


The Annual Neuroscience Retreat takes place each fall and is open all engaged in Neuroscience research. It’s a great opportunity to share research findings, socialize, identify labs for rotation and otherwise engage.

Organized by graduate students and coordinated by the Office of Neuroscience Research (ONR), the Retreat program includes short talks, keynote presentations, “Table Topics”, poster sessions and NeurOlympics. New to this year’s program: Lightning Talks!

The Neuroscience Retreat is supported by the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience, the McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, and the Vagelos Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

Thach Award

Grad students and post docs who submitted an abstract are eligible to compete for a Thach Award. Winners are selected from the short talks and from the posters, and announced after the Retreat.

 Congratulations to this year’s winners and finalists!

  • Maria Gonzalez
  • Ursula Tooley, PhD
  • Kia Barclay
  • Lisa Gorham


Congratulations to the NeurOlympic Champions!

First Place
5 Non Blondes
  • Sabrina Clemens, Haley Jetter, Brendan Dang, Sneha Chaturvedi, and Collin Nadarajah
Second Place
Degenerates of Isengard
  • Fareeha Saadi, Emily Franke, Megan Bosch, Tom Mahan, Yizhe Wu
Third Place
The Numpy Nomads
  • Matt Jansen, Kylie Schache, Habby Wang, Jordyn Czarny, Jordan Meza

Fourth place: Epic Frail

Fifth place: Dopaminergic

Tied for Sixth place: BauerLabOrDie and Disarming personalities

Introduced to the Retreat in 2016, NeurOlympics is a competition of mind, strength, speed, and endurance.  NeurOlympics is a neuroscience/lab/WashU themed trivia event that brings together teams from different cohorts, fields, and departments. 

For any questions about NeurOlympics, please contact any member of this subcommittee: Lili Barbar, Emma Danhash and Liza Mangutov.

Lightning Talks

New for the 2023 Neuroscience Retreat, Lightning Talks are an opportunity to hear (briefly!) from faculty members seeking students and post docs, from cores and other shared resources, and from organizers of outreach activities. Lightning Talks will be spread throughout the program, check out the full program for the list of speakers!

Table Topics

Table Topics take place over lunch at the Retreat (both days) and are an opportunity for conversation about science, policy, work-life balance etc. There’s no advance sign-up to join a discussion. Retreat attendees simply get their lunch at the buffet and, if interested to join a discussion, choose any of the designated Table Topic tables. (There also will be plenty of additional, non-designated tables if Table Topics doesn’t work for you!)

Faculty members and post docs: Interested to host a discussion? On the registration form, note your interest to participate and, if you have an idea, suggest a topic. The registration form lists topics from previous years if you need some inspiration!

T-shirt design competition: And the winner is…

Congratulations to

Farzaneh Mirfakhar, PhD

Postdoc in the Karch lab, WashU Psychiatry

for the winning design!
Thank you to those who submitted designs, and to everyone who voted! 

T-shirts were pre-order only.
If you ordered a t-shirt: The Retreat Committee will follow up with you to let you know when/where to get your t-shirt.

Questions? Contact Carmen Horn.

Retreat Registration – closed for 2023

Registration deadline: Tuesday September 26!

Please register to ensure you’re on the email list for any updates and also help us have an accurate headcount for meals and the party at The Boathouse at Forest Park on Thursday evening!

Whether you’re already confirmed to give a talk, present a poster, or otherwise planning to participate: Please register by Tuesday September 26!

Call for abstracts – closed for 2023

Advertise your lab, core facility, outreach activity or other resource by a Lightning Talk and/or poster!

New this year, faculty/post docs/students/staff are invited to sign up to pitch their resource. Lightning Talks will be 2 minutes or less. PIs: If you’d like to promote your lab through a poster (and/or lightning talk), please use the Lightning Talks/posters form (and not the Abstract form).

Research short talks and posters

The poster session is open to all to present research. Additionally, students and post docs can request to be considered for a short talk (7 minutes). Short talk presenters will be selected by a review committee considering multiple criteria including scientific merit, approach/model system, campus (Danforth or Medical) and graduate program (with an aim to feature multiple graduate programs). Our aim is that short talks reflect more complete projects.  

Retreat Archives

To review speakers and programs from previous Neuroscience Retreats, visit the Retreat Archives

Neuroscience Retreat Committee

The Office of Neuroscience Research is grateful to the students, faculty, and administrators who serve on this committee.


Jhoan Aguilar
Lili Barbar
Emma Danhash
Karl Friedrichsen
Kayla Hannon
Martin Jarzyna
Shelby Leverett
Elizaveta Mangutov
Lite Yang
Julia Pai
Robert Wong


Deanna Barch
Rob Gereau
Tamara Hershey
David Holtzman
Barani Raman
Linda Richards
Anneliese Schaefer
Jeffrey Zacks
Chuck Zorumski


Carmen Horn
Rashelle Popinski
Kate Ruzicka
Sally Vogt

Questions or concerns?

Please contact the ONR.