Author Archives: ions

IONs Director’s Channel – September 2019

Paul Katz, Luke Remage-Healey, and Kirby Deater-Deckard clowning around.

What a fantastic academic year this is shaping up to be. There are so many exciting events coming up and so much great neuroscience research happening at UMass. Registration is now open for the Center for Neuroendocrine Studies Symposium on Gregarious Hormones: Steroids and Social Behavior.  The line up for the 2019-2020 Neurosciences Distinguished Lectures is phenomenal The first speaker is Larry Young from Emory University. In addition, check out the list of great Wednesday seminars in the Neuroscience and Behavior program. Continue reading

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UMass Neurosciences Publications – August 2019

This month’s featured researcher is Dr. Rebecca Ready. Dr. Ready is a professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She works on the assessment of emotion regulation in healthy aging adults and in clinical populations, including Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. She studies emotion reactions in the lab and in daily life and is interested in how individual differences, such as executive functions, memory, and personality affect emotion regulation outcomes.  She is a member of the Center for Research on Families and the Center for Personalized Health Medicine. She has had 5 papers appear recently in PubMed (see below).

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in August. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. Continue reading

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The NSB Program Retreat

The Neuroscience and Behavior Program had a fun and productive retreat. Students, postdocs, and faculty met at an idyllic spot in Vermont where they shared a day of discussions about student and post-doc success and how to navigate a life in science. There was a fun Minute of Science competition, where contestants gave a 60 second talk and were judged on arbitrary criteria. Faculty then headed out while students continued to commune over the next day. Here are some images from Melise Edwards.

 

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Lacreuse studying a natural model of Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Agnes Lacreuse is giving Fitbits and touchscreens to small monkeys called marmosets to observe their activity and cognitive decline as they age. This might give her information about the progression of the devastating Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in humans, for which there is no treatment even after decades of research. New animal models are being developed to address the failures of past research conducted almost exclusively on mice. Lacreuse is taking a more natural approach. Continue reading

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IONs Director’s Channel – August 2019

Katz lab members in Woods Hole.

A beautiful summer in New England is quickly drawing to a close. For me, it was a time to take my lab to Woods Hole to visit the MBL. Now as we start to think of fall, some of our new Neuroscience and Behavior graduate students are already here and working in labs through the new OnRamp program initiated through the Interdepartmental Graduate Programs. This gives new students the opportunity to ease into the rigors of graduate school before classes start. Students have been meeting other students, taking training classes and going to summer seminars. Speaking of summer seminars, our final three Neuroscience Summer Seminars are this month:  Aug 7th  – Kirby Deater-Deckard, Aug 14th – Sarah Pallas, and Aug 21st – Mariana Pereira.  Continue reading

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UMass Neurosciences Publications – July 2019

This month’s featured researcher is the UMass Director of Neurosciences, Paul Katz. His lab studies the neural basis of behavior. Three of his recent papers appeared in PubMed this month.  His recent commentary in Current Biology explores how often Life Scientists display a bias in their choice of experiments and their understanding of evolution. His work shows that different levels of biological organization undergo separate evolutionary history. In particular, his recent Journal of Neuroscience paper showed that the same neuron in different species have dramatically different functions in neural circuits that produce the same behavior. Another paper, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy, which appeared in PubMed this month showed convergent evolution of neural circuits and behaviors.  Katz is leading a collaborative team of researchers from four universities that form the Berghia BRAIN project to use high throughput methods to study the neural basis of behavior in a sea slug.

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in July. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. Continue reading

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IONs Director’s Channel – July 2019

Paul Katz and Luke Remage-Healey at the NSB picnic enjoying a special dessert.

It’s summer and the fun never ends. We’re really pleased to hear that Dr. Ilea Karatsoreos has accepted a faculty position in Psychological and Brain Sciences. That further strengthens the great group of neuroendocrinologists at UMass.  Research is going strong across campus, which you can read about here. The Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series is in full swing. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about the research on campus. If you’re looking for other things to do this summer besides enjoying the beautiful weather in the valley, go cheer the NSB grad student softball team, Spikes ‘n Strikes.

 

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UMass researchers find sex differences in cognition of middle-aged marmosets

In a paper recently published in the journal e-Neuro, NSB doctoral recipient Matthew LaClair and his advisor Agnes Lacreuse, examined what is a highly controversial topic in humans, by turning to the nonhuman primate, the common marmoset. The investigators asked whether biological sex modulates some aspects of cognitive performance as well as neural connectivity measures. They identified sex differences in cognitive flexibility that are correlated with sex-dependent patterns of resting brain networks.  The findings support the idea that cognitive sex differences may have identifiable intrinsic neural correlates. Investigating the dynamics of cognitive sex differences and associated brain networks across the lifespan may shed a new light on sex-specific cognitive disorders. Continue reading

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