2006 SPIRE Research Symposium Enjoyed by Faculty, Researchers, SPIRE Scholars and Undergraduates

UNC-Chapel Hill's SPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program hosted noted neurobiologist Dr. Erich D. Jarvis on Friday, June 9 as the keynote speaker for the annual SPIRE Research Symposium.

Dr. Jarvis at symposium

Currently in its seventh year, the event highlights the research accomplishments of SPIRE Scholars through presentations and a poster session. The symposium also features a keynote speaker of national prominence. As this year's speaker, Dr. Jarvis presented on The Neurobiology of Vocal Learning and the Path Taken as an Underrepresented Scientist.

Dr. Jarvis is currently an associate professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center. In 2005, Jarvis was awarded the NIH Director's Pioneer Award for his innovative approach to biomedical research. His laboratory studies the neurobiology of vocal communication. Emphasis is placed on the molecular pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations. The laboratory uses an integrative approach that combines behavioral, anatomical and molecular biological techniques. The main animal model used is songbirds, one of the few vertebrate groups that evolved the ability to learn their vocalizations.

Attendees examing posters on display

"We were very excited to host Dr. Jarvis, who not only shared his innovative and nationally recognized research program, but also his unique perspective and philosophy on increasing diversity in the science professions," said Dr. Leslie S. Lerea, SPIRE's director.

SPIRE is a three-year postdoctoral fellowship program for Ph.D. scientists who aim to balance research and teaching careers. The program combines research, professional development, and an opportunity to teach and mentor undergraduates at one of eight partner historically minority universities in North Carolina.