Travel Award Winner Caitlin Burgdorf

Travel Award Winner Caitlin Burgdorf
Posted in: Travel Grants
5 years ago

Travel Award Winner Caitlin Burgdorf

Our October travel award winner is Caitlin Burgdorf is a researcher working at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She is researching the effect of genetic variability in the endocannabinoid system on mesolimbic dopamine function and vulnerability to THC-seeking behavior in adolescent mice and will use the award to help fund her trip to the Winter Conference on Brain Research. We chatted to Caitlin to find out more about her research and her plans...

I’m so grateful to receive this travel award from HelloBio. This award will allow me the opportunity to travel to the Winter Conference on Brain Research. As I am in the final year of my PhD, I’m very excited to attend this conference in order to receive feedback from experts on my own project and network with colleagues for future steps of my career. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity, Hello Bio! Caitlin Burgdorf, Weill Cornell, USA, Hello Bio travel award winner

Congratulations Caitlin. First, can you tell us a bit more about what you're working on at the moment?

I am investigating the molecular and circuit-specific mechanisms underlying addiction. In particular, I am looking at the effects of a common genetic mutation in the endocannabinoid system on the dopamine reward pathway and impact on cannabis dependence.

What is it about your field of research that gets you most excited?

I am most interested in the field of addiction. Addiction research combines a multitude of various disciplines and requires consideration of psychological and societal effects. It’s also amazing to see first-hand the power and persistence of drug exposure.

Which scientists working today do you most admire, and why?

I admire Eric Nestler, MD, PhD for his incredible unbiased-method of investigating genetic components of addiction and other neuropsychiatric disorders. He also recognizes the impact of studying females in addition to males as each sex has dramatically different genetic influences. I also admire Kay Tye, PhD for her presentation of systems neuroscience. She is a young leader in the field and combines so many novel techniques in order to ask questions that no other scientist is asking.

What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing life scientists and their work?

I think the biggest challenge is the decrease in funding. In particular, early career scientists are dissuaded from pursuing academia because of the increasing competitiveness of grants.

What’s your favourite science quote?

“If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein


Thank you Caitlin - we really hope you enjoy your Winter Brain Conference!

You can follow Caitlin on Twitter at @CaitlinBurgdorf

Click here to read about our past winners or why not apply for the grant yourself?


Additional resources for early career life scientists

One of the things we’re most passionate about is supporting early career life scientists. As well as travel grants, here are some guides and resources that you may find helpful:



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