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Life sciences/Cell biology/Cellular physiology/Cell responses/Stress responses

On the final day of the 2013 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, Ashli Allen, a senior at Fort Valley State University in Georgia, stood smiling beside her poster and began to summarize her research to two scientist judges.

Well before young children arrive for the first day of school, their brains have undergone an extraordinary process of development. At birth, the brain weighs about 400 grams and has 100 billion neurons. By the age of 2, at 1100 grams, it is about 80% the size of an adult brain. At some early stages of development, the brain is adding up to a half-million neurons per minute, and by age 3, it in will have 1000 trillion neuron connections.