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Graduate student to meet with Nobel laureates

March 07, 2011

Nobel winners will meet this summer with graduate students and young researchers from around the world to exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks.

A coveted spot at the prestigious 61st annual Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany was awarded to Arizona State University psychology graduate student Joshua Talboom. He is working towards his doctoral degree in the Behavioral Neuroscience Division of the Department of Psychology, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The 2011 scientific meeting, held June 26 to July 1, will focus on medicine and physiology. The laureates lecture on topics related to medicine/physiology in the mornings and join students and researchers for informal small group discussions in the afternoons. Participants will also enjoy the picturesque island city of Lindau, a medieval city near the Swiss Alps and rich in central European culture.

“The Lindau Meeting will afford me the opportunity to meet Nobel laureates and students from around the world,” says Talboom. “I believe that these new networks of colleagues and friends will enrich me in innumerable ways that will stay with me throughout my life.”

Talboom faced stiff competition to secure a spot at the meeting. Over 17,000 students applied globally. After a rigorous multi-stage selection procedure, 588 young researchers from 80 countries were chosen to participate. Joshua Talboom is one of 91 American graduate students selected and the only one from ASU.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is sponsoring 80 of the U.S. doctoral students, including Talboom. ORISE is one of more than 160 worldwide scientific institutions referred to as Academic Partners by the Nobel Laureate Meeting. 

Heather Bimonte-Nelson, an associate professor and director of ASU’s Behavioral Neuroscience Program initially nominated Talboom. “Josh is an absolute superstar,” she says. “I nominated him because of his vast knowledge spanning many levels of neurochemistry, neurobiology and cognition, and his tireless work ethic to perform the most stringent science possible. As his mentor, I could not be more proud of his accomplishments!”

In ASU’s Bimonte-Nelson Memory and Aging Laboratory, Talboom researches cognitive and brain changes that occur during aging. He has co-authored several journal articles on the role that hormones play in brain function and cognition, one of which is in the top ten of cited articles for the last three years for the prestigious journal, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Talboom hopes that his research will contribute to the discovery of behavioral methods and pharmaceuticals that can enhance learning and memory. “The ultimate goal is improving the quality of life in our ever-growing aging population,” he says.

The chance to meet, brainstorm and discuss science with Nobel laureates and other researchers from around the world will be a boon to his work, he says. “I believe that I will gain a deeper understanding of science, and be able to take a more interdisciplinary approach in my thinking and scientific pursuits.”  

“We are incredibly proud of Josh,” says Keith Crnic, foundation professor and chair of Clinical Psychology. “We couldn’t be more pleased for this opportunity for him, and to have such an amazing student showcase the excellence possible at ASU.”