Specialty Journal Clubs

Second-year PhD students are required to participate in a Journal Club or group meeting and present a paper at least once per semester. Can't find a JC you want below?  Instructions for starting a new Specialty Journal Club can be found on the NGG's Canvas site.


Behavioral Interest Group (BIG)  

Research Focus: Behavioral Interest Group (BIG) discusses papers, data, and concepts relevant to neuroscience and behavior. We are not a traditional journal club but rather a discussion group. Participants (either individuals or self-made teams) are “discussion leaders” who present no more than 30/60 minutes allotted, and who solicit feedback and comments on whatever they are presenting. Presentation topics may include a specific journal article, but are encouraged to rather address a broader concept (like “incubation of craving”, “memory consolidation”, “mouse models of mania”). BIG also serves as an excellent audience for those who want to present pilot data or get feedback on troubleshooting attempts, specific aims, thesis proposals, job talks, and even “thought” experiments. To encourage discussion, presentations are short; at least one-half of the hour is expected to be discussion. Neuroscientists of all levels of training are welcome to attend. However, attendees must present at least once a year.

Contact: Kim Christian (kchristi@pennmedicine.upenn.edu) and Amelia Eisch (eisch@icloud.com)

Interest Areas: Behavioral Neuroscience

Meeting Details: Meetings are held bi-weekly on Tuesdays from 12:00 – 1:00 pm via Google Meet, September 1 – December 22, 2020.

(Last Updated November 2020)


Cell Biology in Neuroscience Journal Club (CBNJC)

Research Focus: The goal of this journal club is to take a discussion-based approach to developing a more robust understanding of the pathways and that underly neuronal and glial function at the cellular level. This is important because there are many ways in which neurons and glia repurpose typical cellular components and pathways to serve their specialized functions. Further, we know that neurons and glia are selectively vulnerable to mutations that disrupt pathways regulating vesicular and RNA trafficking, homeostasis, localized protein synthesis, protein and organelle quality control, and degradative pathways such as mitophagy and lysophagy, which lead to neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disorders. Presenters choose a recent paper of interest to interactively discuss with the group. Postdocs are also welcome to present their original research.

Interest Areas: Cell biology of neurons and glia, autophagy/specialized autophagy (such as mitophagy), mitochondrial function, molecular motors, the cytoskeleton, and intracellular transport and trafficking, neurodevelopmental dysfunction, neurodegenerative diseases (ALS, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.).

Faculty Advisor: Erika Holzbaur (holzbaur@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Contacts: If interested please contact Jules Riley (juriley@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Meeting: Starting September 2021, meet weekly on Thursdays from 12PM-1PM in the conference room on the 7th floor of CRB (CRB702) or tune virtually if you prefer


Center for Neurobiology and Behavior (CNB) Journal Club

Research Focus:  This journal club covers a wide range of behavioral neuroscience topics, but is primarily focused on psychiatric disorders, ranging from drug addiction to schizophrenia. This journal club is attended by students, post docs, and PIs with diverse research interests.

Interest Areas:  Drug addiction, depression, schizophrenia, energy balance, stress, anxiety, sleep, etc.

Contacts: If interested please contact Darrell Eacret (deacret@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Meeting: Thursdays at 4pm in the TRL 2nd floor conference room, or virtual depending on regulations

Schedule: 9/2/21, 9/23/21, 10/14/21, 11/4/21, 11/18/21, 12/2/21 and 12/16/21

F.M. Kirby Center Research Club 

Research Focus: Retinal and macular degeneration, retinal differentiation, retinal physiology, genetic basis of retinal disease, gene therapy for ocular disease

Contact: Jean Bennett (jebennet@pennmedicine.upenn.edu, 215-898-0915) 

(Last Updated November 2020)


Glia Journal Club

Research Focus: Glia in health and disease

Contact:  If interested please contact Akshata Almad (almada@chop.edu)

Interest Areas: Astrocyte, oligodendrocyte, microglia, schwann cells, neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment

Meeting Details: Biweekly on Mondays at 2 PM online. 


Ion Channel Journal Club

Research Focus:  The Ion Channel Journal Club is devoted to critically reviewing and discussing recent papers in the ion channel field. It includes a wide range of ion channel topics from basic biophysics and physiology to cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience and clinical applications. It is widely attended by faculty, students, and postdocs from departments of Physiology, Pathology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Psychiatry, from institutes such as IHGT, CHOP, HUP and IME, and from Jefferson, Temple, and Drexel Universities. Given the fact that here at Penn we have some of the experts in the field working on K channels, Na channels, Cl channels, IP3 receptor channels, Ca channels, neurotransmitter receptor channels, we have the distinctly unique opportunity for a high level of stimulating discussion.

Interest Areas:  All aspects of ion channels, including biophysics (electrophysiology), structure of ion channels, molecular biology, physiological roles, channelopathies, sensory transduction, thermosensing, nociception, regulation by lipids, Ca2+, and other physiological modulators. The channels discussed include ligand-gated channels, voltage-gated channels, and mechanosensitive channels, those at the plasma membrane of cells, as well as those lurking in intracellular organelles.

Contact:  If interested please reach out to Carol Deutsch (cjd@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Meeting Details: Meetings will be held online using BlueJeans at 9:30 am starting September 23, 2021 ; see the schedule here. Instructions for joining can be found here.


Neuroinflammation and Neurovirology Journal Club

Research Focus: Molecular and Cellular pathways to neurodegeneration in response to Viral Infection or inflammation: Roles for astrocytes, neurons and microglia.

Contact: Kelly Jordan-Sciutto (jordank@upenn.edu, 215-898-4196)

Meeting Details: Thursdays at 3 pm via BlueJeans 

(Last Updated November 2020)


Opioid Journal Club

Research Focus: Founded in Spring 2019, the "Opioid Discussions Journal Club" welcomes researchers at all levels (undergraduate through faculty) to participate in biweekly discussions of opioid-related research. At each meeting, we typically discuss one new research article on any of the following opioid-related topics led by a discussion leader (or co-leaders): abuse / addiction, developmental effects, pain, neurocircuitry, anatomy / physiology, roles in learning & memory and other behavior. In addition to traditional journal club format, we welcome presentation of opioid-related data collected from local Penn/CHOP labs. To view a list of articles discussed during prior meetings, please visit our journal club's Google Sheet.

Contact: Dr. Steven Simmons (steven.james.simmons@gmail.com)

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Amelia Eisch (eisch@icloud.com)

Interest Areas: Opioid-related research topics including but not limited to: abuse / addiction, developmental effects, pain, neurocircuitry, anatomy / physiology, roles in learning & memory and other behavior.

Meeting Details: For Fall 2020, meeting frequency will remain once every two weeks but the specific day may change. 

(Last Updated November 2020)


Small Model Systems (SMS) Journal Club

Research Focus: Small Model Systems Journal club is small but mighty, just like our model organisms! Come visit us for biweekly discussion on recent papers on neurobiology in Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish, and more. This journal club is open to all (beginners, students, techs, post-docs, etc.) regardless of experience or area of research (that's right rodent people can join too). We will meet virtually to start every other Friday from 11am to 12pm with hopes of moving in-person in the spring. If you are interested in joining, but the current time does not work for you please let us know and we will try to find a time to accommodate everyone. We are particularly interested in having new students (1st, 2nd, and 3rd years) join!! This is a great way to learn more about the field and a perfect group to practice with for things like rotation talks, candidacy exam, and first conferences since our older students have been in your shoes!! 

Don't miss out on this opportunity to continue building your SMS network See schedule and sign up to present here:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/140Ce9v46RJvHoc1Jwr_64gDrup1s3lgsDZNdPE1TwUI/edit#gid=0

Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jini Naidoo

Contact:  If interested please reach out to Mara Cowen (mara.cowen@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Meeting Details: Every two weeks via Zoom starting September 2021


Traumautic Brain Injury (TBI) Journal Club

Research Focus: Cellular pathophysiology and biomechanical disruption of neural circuits after traumatic brain injury

Contact: If interested please reach out to Kryshawna Beard (kryshawnab@gmail.com)

Meeting Details: Starting September 2021; Third Thursday of each month, 9:00 – 10:00 am


Updated September 2021