BYU’s Neuroscience Club = Service, Leadership, and Support


Brigham Young University is full of clubs, programs, and service opportunities that help students get involved with their major, peers, and community. As the Fall 2016 semester approaches, individuals in the Neuroscience Major have the opportunity to join the Neuroscience Club, or NeuroClub for short. With meetings every Tuesday and a group of officers and professors that want to make your experience at BYU the best it can be, there’s no better place for Neuroscience majors to go to find opportunities for service, leadership, and support!

Here’s everything you need to know about the Neuroscience Club:

How it Helps You


The NeuroClub’s purpose as described by the President Kaitlyn Williams is, “to enhance and broaden neuroscience student’s awareness of practices and applications in the neuroscience field while providing opportunities for service, leadership, and support in their education.” The club focuses on helping students answer: “Where can I go? What can I do? And why is it important?” in regards to their educational and career pursuits.

What it Does

For Fall of 2016, the NeuroClub has big plans for its members! With a focus on careers, each month the club will be hosting 3 activities in which students can learn more about where they can go with a neuroscience degree. These activities include:

  • Guest speakers with a neuroscience background that have chosen various career paths
  • Casual dinner meetings with professors to get to know them as well as have the opportunity to ask them questions
  • Service and Volunteering
  • Tutoring
  • And of course games and other fun activities to build lasting friendships!

Where to Find out More


To kick off the fun for Fall 2016, check out the club’s opening social on Thursday, September 1 from 12-2pm in the south quad of the SWKT! There will be food, desserts, games with prizes, and so much more. Come out to meet the club officers, find out about upcoming activities, and be there for the big reveal of the club’s NEW t-shirt design! Watch out for NeuroClub officers visiting your classrooms this week and don’t forget to vote! And there’s even more fun planned in 2017 with Brain Week in March.

Why join?

Because membership in it:

  • looks great on applications and resumes
  • builds relationships
  • provides research opportunities
  • provides ideas for career paths
  • provides service opportunities
  • helps you make an impact

Get Involved

The only requirement for membership in the club is that you are a declared Neuroscience major and have a passion for it! So make plans to go to the club’s opening social and then check out the Neuroscience Center, Facebook page, and Website. Still looking for more information? You can always email the club at

Check out the NeuroClub today!

PAMs: Better Treatment for Alzheimer’s?


Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America, and one of the most expensive, costing us 172 billion dollars annually. We know that there is no cure, yet. But is there a way to slow its progression? A new type of substance is being tested for its effectiveness could eventually serve as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases. It’s called a PAM.

What are PAMs?

Positive Alosteric Modulators (PAMs) offer a new kind of solution to an old problem: aging brains with weakening inter-cellular communication. PAMs may help strengthen communication at weakening synapses within the brain. And they would do so in a unique way.

BYU PhD neurology student Doris Jackson provides a simple analogy to explain how PAMs function. “The receptor on a neuron is like a door. And a substance called an agonist is like the key that opens the door; while an antagonist locks the door, or blocks the neurotransmitters.” This opening and closing of doors is how cells communicate. If you have a neurologically degenerative disease like Alzheimers, you have unhealthy connections between neurons, meaning the “doors” have moved farther apart, making it more difficult for signals to pass through. “A lot of pharmacological drugs just add more agonists to the system (i.e. more keys that open the door),” says Jackson. “So more doors are opening; even when they’re not normally supposed to open.” PAMs, however, do not act as a key. They don’t open doors, rather, they open them wider, or keep them open longer.



“When we use PAMs,” says Jackson, “We’re keeping the normal opening and closing of the doors the same. All of that is functioning normally, but we allow a greater response to occur.” So PAMs may allow for a more natural, and potentially more effective treatment for ailments in the brain. 



PAMS and the Bigger Picture of Alzheimer’s Research

PAMs have shown lots of potential for becoming a part of Alzheimer’s treatment medications in the future, although studies are still in the preliminary stages. They are also being used to differentiate between different subtypes of receptors—which may lead to the creation of medications with less severe side effects.

Jackson, along with Marcel Killpack Hall, a lead researcher on a student team studying PAMs at BYU, presented their findings at our recent Mary-Lou Fulton Mentored Research Conference, taking first place in the division of Neuroscience.

“Currently,” says the Alzheimer’s Association, “there are five FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s—temporarily helping memory and thinking problems in about half of the people who take them. But these medications do not treat the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s. In contrast, many of the new drugs in development aim to modify the disease process itself, by impacting one or more of the many wide-ranging brain changes that Alzheimer’s causes.”

The possible implications of this Jackson and Hall’s mentored research are exciting to consider, especially in light of the increased body and momentum of research into predicting and treating Alzheimer’s disease.


Have you or anyone you know been affected by Alzheimer’s? What do you think about this research?





Celebrate Your Brain During Brain Awareness Week March 14-20

What do you know about your brain?


This week is Brain Awareness Week, and BYU’s Neuroscience Club  wants to help you  learn all about your brain, and touch some sheep brains.

Brain FHE

To kick off the week, all BYU Students and families are invited to attend a special Family Home Evening event. Come learn about your nervous system from Dr. Brown and Dr. Kirwan. They will provide presentations on neuro-anatomy, sensation, and perception that people of all ages can understand. Get there early because last time we ran out of seats!

When: Monday, March 14 @ 7pm

Where: SWKT 250

Learn more about this event here.


Impaired Basketball @ WILK Booth

Come to the WILK any day this week for lunch and shoot a basketball while wearing drunk goggles!

Good luck.

When: Monday-Friday: 11am-1pm

Where: WILK Terrace

Touch Sheep Brains!

That’s right. You heard us.


The Neuroscience club is asking for volunteers to help teach K-12 children across the valley about the brain throughout the week. To do so, they’ll be using sheep brains. Join them, and YOU’LL be using sheep brains.

You do NOT need any prior knowledge of the brain to participate – the club will teach you everything you need to know.  To volunteer, you can sign up on this google doc.

BYU Neuroscience Video Competition

BYU’s Neuroscience video competition

Opens: Friday Feb 26, 2016

Closes: Friday April 1, 2016 @ 11:59pm

All current BYU students are invited to participate

Rules will be identical to the SfN Video Competition rules


  1. Email byuneuroclub@gmail.comwith the subject Video Competition Submission with an unlisted link to your video on Youtube
  2. Must include “BYU Neuroscience Video Competition” in the subject line
  3. Video must abide by the Honor Code to enter

Prizes will  be awarded for first, second and third place videos 

Prizes will be Visa prepaid gift cards

1st place: $150

2nd place: $100

3rd place: $50

Submissions will be judged by BYU Neuroscience faculty.

The winners will be announced at the BYU Neuroscience Club closing activity on April 7, 2016.

*All submissions shall become the property of the college of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, and may be used in club, department, or college communication channels.

Here are a few video examples to get your brain going:

Neuroscience & Emotions

The Neuroscience of Love

What is a Synapse?

Best of luck!