Author Archives: ions

UMass Neurosciences Publications – April 2019

This month’s featured researcher is Annaliese Beery, who is graduate faculty in Neuroscience & Behavior at UMass and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Smith College. She studies the neural basis for affiliative behaviors, which help support social groups. Her PhD student, Nicole Lee, who is a co-author on a recent paper was the co-recipient of the Vincent Dethier Award.

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

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Workshop on Methods in Systems Neuroscience and Neurotechnology

UMass Amherst Campus Center Auditorium
1 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003

This workshop is part of the UMass Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference, which focuses on Neuroengineering this year. The main goal of this workshop is to bring together neuroscience and engineering researchers to discuss modern techniques in neurotechnology.  The intended audience is students (graduate and undergraduate), postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff who have interests in learning about or implementing new technology in their neuroscience research.  In particular, we will discuss viral vector techniques, open-source strategies in electrical and optical neural monitoring and manipulation, and design of experimental tools and techniques.  In addition to hearing about the latest work in systems neuroscience and neurotechnology, time will be provided for discussion with experts about how to incorporate these techniques into your own research, so attendees should come prepared to ask questions and participate in discussion.

Free on-site Registration.

Specific goals include Continue reading


UMass Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference Focus on Neuroengineering

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
University Campus Center Auditorium
1 Campus Way, Amherst MA 01003

This conference brings together neuroscientists and engineers to find areas of overlap for collaboration. It includes new approaches for visualizing and recording from neurons, manipulating gene expression in neurons, and understanding brain function. Speakers will also talk about interfaces between the brain and the rest of the body and the mechanical forces on neurons. The conference is preceded by a morning workshop on Methods in Systems Neuroscience and Neurotechnology.

Registration is free and open to faculty, students, and staff from UMass and other universities,. It features two keynote speakers: Andrew Barto (UMass) and Steven McCarroll (Harvard) and five local speakers. There will be an evening poster session for anyone to present their neuroscience or engineering research regardless of topic.

Download Conference Program (pdf file)
Download Poster Abstracts (pdf file)

Abstract submission is closed. There will be on-site registration.


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NSB Student Awards

Congratulations to recipients Neuroscience & Behavior annual awards.

Vincent Dethier

Vincent Dethier

Although all of the NSB students are outstanding. Each year awards are presented to recognize particular achievements. The Vincent Dethier Award pays tribute to an NSB graduate student, honoring academic and research performance as well as contributions that enhance the quality of the NSB Program.  The award consists of a certificate, a cash award, and a book – To Know a Fly by Vincent G. Dethier, the first Graduate Director of the NSB program. This year there was a tie for the prize: Adaeze Egwuatu and Nicole Lee. The Gold Neuron award, which celebrates an exciting finding from any graduate student in the NSB program in the past year, was awarded to Joseph Dwyer. The Early Career Award, which recognizes a1st or 2nd year PhD student who demonstrates excellence in academics, research, and/or outreach, was given to Phoenix Quinlan.

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IONs Director’s Channel – April 2019

IONs Director: Paul Katz

Spring is in the air here in Amherst. The Neurosciences continue to grow. We are very pleased to welcome Amanda Woerman to the Biology Department. Amanda is the 7th woman neuroscientist hired in the last 2 years. The growth in the neurosciences is not over as we are waiting to hear about the results of other faculty searches. We also have an excellent new crop of PhD and fast-track MS students joining the Neuroscience and Behavior Program this fall. April is an exciting time for seminars. IONs is pleased to host two Neurosciences Distinguished Lectures: Marlene Behrmann on April 10 and Jeff Lichtman on April 24th. In addition, NSB is hosting Frank Grasso for the Annual Kay Fite Lecture on April 3rd. For the first time, the Initiative on Neurosciences will be participating in the #UMassGives campaign. Please donate just a little to show your support.


Give to IONs for #UMassGives: April 29-30

Your donation to the Initiative on Neurosciences (IONs) for #UMassGives will help fund opportunities for UMass undergraduates to participate in exciting brain research. 

If you give during our Power Hour on April 30th from 2:00 – 3:00, you put us in the running for extra funding.

The Initiative on Neurosciences (IONs) is promoting the growth of brain research at UMass. There are researchers in many different colleges and departments dedicated to understanding the brain and helping to cure neurological diseases and conditions. Continue reading


Student Spotlight – Francesca Walsh

This month’s student spotlight is on MS student Franchesca Walsh. Fran is an MS student working with in Youngbin Kwak’s lab. She is interested in neuroeconomics. Together with her advisor and co-author Erik Cheries, she recently published a commentary entitled, “‘Incentive hope’ and the nature of impulsivity in low-socioeconomic-status individuals” in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Cambridge University Press) in which they respond to Anselme and Gunturkun’s Incentive Hope Hypothesis. This motivation mechanism theory brings together neuroscience literature on reward uncertainty and decision making with biology field observations of animal foraging behavior. Continue reading


UMass Neurosciences Publications – March 2019

The featured researcher is David Moorman,  who is an assistant professor in the department of Pyschological & Brain Sciences. Dr. Moorman had 3 publications appear on PubMed this month. His research examines how neuronal ensembles encode reward. He uses cutting edge techniques to optically record and stimulate neurons while animals are behaving.

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


Amanda Woerman joins Neuroscience and Behavior

New Neuroscience Faculty

New Neurosciences Faculty: Amanda Woerman (Biology), ChangHui Pak (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Jennifer Mack (Communications Disorders), Stephanie Padilla (Biology), Bruna Martins (Psychological & Brain Sciences), Karine Fenelon (Biology), Sarah Pallas (Biology)

Dr. Amanda Woerman will be joining the Biology Department in the fall of 2019 and will be a member of the Neuroscience & Behavior graduate program. It is worth noting that Amanda is the 7th woman hired into the Neurosciences in the last two years.  Amanda earned my doctorate in Molecular Medicine at The George Washington University in 2013. She is currently an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. She works in the laboratory group of Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner. Her research is focused on investigating protein misfolding and spreading in neurodegenerative disease, with an emphasis on the frontotemporal dementias (FTDs) and the movement disorder multiple system atrophy (MSA).  When she joins UMass, she plans to expand on her previous work by focusing on developing assays that differentiate and characterize disease-causing a-synuclein and tau strains. This could lead to personalized approaches to treating these neurological diseases.


NSB Writing Space

A person is more productive when they write outside of the lab and when they have an allotted time to put towards only writing”.  – Anonymous

Need to be in the company of others to inspire writing? Join students and post-docs in a space to write.
Come and go as you please, but put this time aside to write.

  • Tuesdays 8:00 – noon in the French Hall Library (Bagels and Coffee provided)
  • Wednesdays 8:00 – noon in Room 15b Bartlett Hall