NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

First ‘Porter Day’ Celebrated, To Become Yearly Event

Firestein gives the keynote presentation
Columbia University neurobiologist Dr. Stuart Firestein gives the keynote presentation.

The NIH community recently celebrated the inaugural “Porter Day.” 

Presented by the Porter Users Group and held in the Bldg. 35 atrium, the event aimed to celebrate science and foster community in the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center (PNRC) by showcasing its people, science and art. 

The event, held on Apr. 23—Shakespeare’s birthday, was conceptualized by a group of research fellows looking for a way to engage with their peers following the pandemic.

The afternoon featured a busy roster of activities: an art gallery displayed STEM-related artwork by talented NIH’ers; scientific posters showcased the research of 80 PNRC research fellows; attendees enjoyed musical performances by classical pianist Dr. Tracey Rouault and Antonio Ulloa and Andrew Martinelli of the Latin Music Club; a photographer offered free professional headshots and more. 

The main event of the afternoon, a keynote presentation by Columbia University neurobiologist Dr. Stuart Firestein, discussed the importance of ignorance, failure, uncertainty and optimism in scientific exploration. Firestein also moderated a panel discussion of NIH experts following the lecture.

Firestein and Role chat
During a break in Porter Day action, Firestein catches up with longtime friend Dr. Lorna Role, senior investigator and lead in the Laboratory of Circuits, Synapses & Molecular Signaling in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center.

Photo:  Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

PNRC officially opened in March 2014. The structure is dedicated to Porter, a former congressman and staunch supporter of biomedical research and the NIH mission, who passed away in 2022. 

PNRC is a state-of-the-art facility that brings together neuroscientists from 10 institutes and centers across NIH to spur new advances in our understanding of the nervous system in health and disease.

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The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)