Baylor College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine

Tenth Annual McNair Scholar Symposium

Graciela Gutierrez


Houston, TX -

Understanding the role neuronal activity plays in certain types of brain cancer development and progression will be the focus of this year’s 10th annual McNair Scholar Symposium at Baylor College of Medicine.

The symposium was created by The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, and is managed by the McNair Medical Institute, to support collaboration and share research among the McNair Scholars and the Texas Medical Center institutions. The Foundation identifies and recruits the best and brightest physician-scientists in neuroscience, with a focus on neuromodulation.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Michelle Monje, professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. She will present a lecture titled, “Synaptic integration of brain cancer into neural circuits: new frontiers for neuromodulation.”

Monje is a leader in her field, investigating the development of healthy and cancerous cells in the brain as well as the role communication plays between neurons and cancer cells during cancer pathophysiology. Monje and her team are credited with discovering that neuronal activity regulates the myelin-forming glial cells, which insulate and protect neurons, fine-tuning circuit dynamics and influencing neurological function. They also discovered that neuronal activity similarly regulates glial malignancies, driving glioma progression through both paracrine factors and electrophysiologically functional neuron-to-glioma synapses.

This year’s McNair Symposium keynote lecture will be held Sept. 27 in the Alkek Building at Baylor College of Medicine, room N315, from 10-11 a.m.

A poster presentation for McNair Scholar labs and McNair M.D./Ph.D. Scholars will begin at 9 a.m. in the Alkek Lobby.

Register for the event at

Baylor currently has 11 active McNair Scholars and 12 McNair M.D./Ph.D. Scholars. The newest McNair Scholar, Dr. Kara Marshall, assistant professor of neuroscience, was named earlier this year. Read more about her work here.


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