Sneak Peek at Synapse! 2016

A message from the HAPS Synapse! director, Keely Cassidy
A message from the HAPS Synapse! director, Keely Cassidy

In the nervous system, a synapse is a structure that permits the passage of an electrical or chemical signal from one neuron to another. The word “synapse” was not widely used until the late 19th century, when physiologist Michael Foster coined the term in the seventh edition of his Textbook of Physiology with the assistance of Charles Sherrington, who is credited with developing and advocating the physiological concept of a synapse in the first place. It comes from the Greek synapsis (συνάπσις), meaning “conjunction” which is derived from both “together” (συν) and “to fasten” (ἅπτειν). (Sidenote:  For more information on the fascinating history of this simple word, see E.M. Tanseya’s “Not Committing Barbarisms:  Sherrington and the Synapse, 1897” in History of Neuroscience in 1997.)

This year at the HAPS annual conference, you will have the chance to attend the second annual Synapse! event in the main hall on Sunday 5/22 at 3:15pm. The name for this presentation format (designed specifically for HAPS) is meaningful, for a synapse is a dynamic location where information travels quickly. This is the goal of Synapse! itself – to provide a setting for knowledge to flow from presenters to audience and on, sparking new ideas and providing the potential for change. Last year we heard from many great speakers and their talks sparked conversations for days afterward. We know that many people attend the HAPS annual conference to hear about new, novel, and exciting developments in the field of A&P, and we are here to deliver.

Therefore, the Synapse! presentations this year will be delivered by a group of textbook authors who are also HAPS members. The theme is “You thought you knew X, but really…” with the goal of dispelling misconceptions and bringing awareness to recent discoveries in their respective fields or areas of interest. Rather than a long and in depth view of one topic, the Synapse! 2016 presenters will each provide dynamic five minute perspectives on a set of very diverse A&P topics.

Synapse! presenters and topics topics include:Slide1

  • Kerry Hull – “Lactic Acid: Friend or Foe?” will give us the ins and outs of lactic acid and muscle fatigue. Is it a metabolic villain, an innocent bystander, or a bit of both?
  • Robin McFarland – “Human Ancestors, Exercise, and the Brain” will focus on connections between recent brain research and exercise and patterns of activities of our hominin ancestors.
  • Judi Nath – “More Than You Bargained For: RAAS and the Transcending Role of ACE Inhibitors” will be a look at the relationship between the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for the treatment of hypertension. We’ll learn that the role of ACE inhibitors transcends their ability to lower blood pressure.
  • Mark Nielsen – “Muscle Patterns in the Body Wall” will describe the two distinct parts of the external oblique muscle and tell us which other muscles the superficial part of the external oblique is homologous with. You may be surprised!
  • Kevin Petti – “A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words!” will explore ideas about how to best utilize images in anatomy and physiology education when teaching complex topics.
  • Dee Silverthorn – “Isosmotic is Not Always Isotonic” will clarify once and for all the difference between osmolarity and tonicity. Several major resources have this wrong, and here we will be privy to the final word on this issue.

We are so excited to hear from these presenters, and learn more about their fields and areas of expertise. So don’t forget to come over to the main hall on Sunday 5/22 at 3:15pm to hear about all of the above topics at Synapse! 2016. Catch ya on the post-synaptic flipside!

More Cool Stuff on the HAPS Website!

A message from the HAPS Executive Director, Peter English.
A message from the HAPS Executive Director, Peter English.

Have you spent some time on the HAPS website lately? We are continually adding content, and just wanted to highlight five of the cool features.

HAPS Calendar – The HAPS website keeps track of events that require registration, but what about everything else? We have made a calendar that includes EVERYTHING. Events, deadlines, meetings, HAPS-I courses, and even the board and steering committee schedules. If it HAPS, it is on this calendar. And you can link it to any calendar program that supports the iCal format (which is pretty much every program out there). Want it on your phone? Easy.

Inquiry-based Activities – Murray Jensen has written a series of peer-reviewed activities for use in the classroom. They all use a guided inquiry methodology that many instructors find very successful. Take a look and see if they can help you.

A&P Learning Outcomes – The HAPS learning outcomes are fast becoming the gold standard among A&P classes across the US and the world. The outcomes are used in many books and online learning programs, and are among the first resources that new programs use to design their curriculum. The HAPS Comprehensive Exam is based on these learning outcomes.

Histology Challenge – We have over 100 histology challenges archived on the website! Many instructors use these in their classes to challenge students, and this is enough for many semesters of student challenges. The discussion associated with each set of photos is enough to keep you one step ahead of the students. And this is a members-only resource, so your students will never know where you keep getting these fabulous images.

HAPS Video – And how could we not mention the HAPS video? It clearly and concisely shows what HAPS is all about. Take a look and show it to your colleagues so that more people can share in the professional promotion that HAPS helps make happen. Oh, and the fun too!

Welcome to Atlanta: Part II

Hospitality R4
A message from HAPS Hospitality Committee Chair, Margaret Long

For those of you who are feeling adventurous and would like a truly unique experience, hop in a taxi or call an Uber and head to one of the many neighborhoods around Atlanta. Nearby Atlantic Station features a Publix grocery store, movie theater, BODIES the Exhibition, and many stores and restaurants. Downtown Decatur is a favorite of many Atlanta natives because of its many boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The family-friendly city of Decatur is featuring a fine arts exhibition at Agnes Scott College starting on May 24th. For a low key evening, you can attend the opening reception of the Fine Arts Exhibition. For dinner, sit down at the Zagat-rated Iberian Pig or Farm Burger, and sip a one of “Atlanta’s Best Cocktails” at Leon’s Full Service before strolling down the street to explore the area.

If you want to relax a little on the weekend, then you’re in luck! Atlanta is home to a huge variety of local craft brewers. Many Atlanta breweries offer beer tastings on Saturday afternoons. If this is up your alley, don’t miss out on touring Sweetwater, Red Brick, Red Hare, and Monday Night Brewing companies. After having a “Fu Man Brew” at Monday Night Brewing, or a Red Brick “Sacred Cow,” be sure to tell to tell your Uber driver to drop you off at Hankook Taqueria for authentic Korean barbeque tacos! If you can’t decide which brewery to try, head to one of the many Taco Mac locations around Atlanta. The restaurant features locally favorite chicken wings (their “TMI” sauce is only for the very brave of heart), and they have over 100 beers on draft and around 200 bottled varieties.

In your spare time, be sure to check out some of the many activities near the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The World of Coca Cola, Georgia Aquarium, and the National Center for Civil & Human Rights are all a brisk, half-mile walk from the conference hotel. For just a few dollars, a taxi or Uber driver can take you to Zoo Atlanta, the High Museum of Art, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and the MLK House and Museum.

For the HAPSters who are avid baseball fans…you’re in luck! Historic Turner Field is just a two mile ride away (20 minutes in Atlanta traffic). The Atlanta Braves will be playing the Milwaukee Brewers on May 24th, 25th, and 26th, at 7:10 pm each day. Be sure to get your tickets early (link here) and get to the game in plenty of time to grab a pretzel and a cold can of Sweetwater 420.

For more information, please contact me directly at Be sure to download the HAPS conference app closer to the time of the conference, and keep an eye out for our friendly HAPS Hospitality Volunteers!

See you in Atlanta!

You aren’t ready for Atlanta until you get your gear!

A message from Christie Canady, HAPS Annual Conference Committee and Animal Use Chair

Hello HAPSters!

We are becoming more excited by the day about this year’s annual conference!  There will be so many great speakers, workshops and activities, but the most anticipated event is your arrival.  Aren’t you ready to meet again this year with HAPS friends, collaborate on our favorite passion and enjoy some comaraderie?  

PinWhile you are preparing for your trip to Atlanta, be certain to place your order for conference memorabilia!  There is even a new memento item for this year’s conference….an annual conference pin.  This year’s pin is in the shape of our host state and features Skully in front of a peach tree with a skyline in the background.  This new annual memento could be a colorful addition to your conference badge or lanyard and would be the first edition of your HAPS pin collection.  This could be a new way to show your love for HAPS, as you add pins from 2016 into the future.  Your pin could also be enjoyed as a conversation piece when worn throughout the year.    

30_yrsAnnual conference t-shirts (both long and short sleeve) are also available, as well as wick away shirts and polos.  This year’s t-shirt is the 30th annual edition, and you certainly want to add it to your collection.  The annual conference tees (both long and short sleeves) pay homage to our past and celebrate this year’s 30th annual milestone.  This is a peek at a portion of the annual conference shirt.

Be certain to order your shirts and pins soon, so that you will be “in style” as you wear your HAPS gear during the conference!  Just go to: forward to seeing you in Atlanta!

Christie Canady
Annual Conference Committee