Wonn Pyon wins the first place Robert Levitt Award

Wonn Pyon wins the first place Robert Levitt Award ($1000 prize) after a presentation and question/answer session hosted by the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Oak Hammock (a retirement community associated with the University of Florida).

The competition was open to any graduate student or postdoc that is conducting research related to aging. After a first round of presentations, participants were narrowed down to five presenters who were asked to attend a question/answer session about their work. Wonn is a graduate student in the laboratories of Drs. Jen Bizon and Barry Setlow.

wonn pyon
Wonn Pyon, UF Graduate Student

“It was my privilege to bring my lab’s work on how healthy aging affects the way that we make risky decisions. It was an exciting opportunity for me to highlight the work we are doing to figure out how the brain is changing outside of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By having a better understanding of healthy aging, we are better equipped to notice when things are going wrong,” says Pyon.

Most recently, Pyon has successfully confirmed the expression of calcium indicator, GCaMP7f, in his genetically-modified rats. Pyon describes the confirmation as a “small step forward” in the project which is ultimately looking to record the activity of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of rats performing our lab’s risky decision making task.

Pyon says, “While it’s not a particularly enormous feat by any means, it was an important step forward in my project and highlights a collaborative effort between individuals of my own lab and others at UF.”