Category Archives: Director Channel

Director’s Channel – December 2019

Paul Katz, IONs Director

It’s the end of the year already and, depending on who you ask, the end of the decade. Time to take stock of the last year in UMass Neurosciences. Check out the highlights from 2019. It’s been a very successful year with many amazing discoveries and awards. This year IONs focused on creating bridges between Neuroscience and Engineering. We hope to continue to build those bonds as we look for opportunities to cooperate. Please take a moment to fill out this short survey regarding Neurotechnology collaborations.

The coming year has some exciting events including the annual Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference on May 11th, which will feature Thomas Sudhof as the keynote speaker. The focus this year is on “Neural Connectivity: from Synapses to Behavior”. Other events will be announced in the new year so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of the winter season here in New England.

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Director’s Channel – November 2019

Neuroscience Director Paul Katz with his dogs.

November is a glorious month in Amherst. The leaves are in full color, the air is crisp, and research is in full swing. We have three really exciting Neuroengineering seminars this month including a Distinguished Lecture by Ed Boyden of MIT, the co-inventor of optogenetics and the Alexander Lecture by Michael Dickinson of CalTech. The renovations on the new Neuroscience wing of Morrill Science Center are now complete. Check out the pictures and story. There are many exciting new projects in the works. Continue reading

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IONs Director’s Channel – October 2019

The fall is a beautiful time of year in New England and the neurosciences are thriving. The latest class of Neuroscience & Behavior Grad students have settled in and are thriving. The Center for Neuroendocrine Studies Symposium was a big success, featuring several inspiring speakers from across the country. Mark your calendars for the Annual Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference on May 11, 2020. Coming up sooner is the Western Mass Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience Conference on Oct 15th. This is a chance to practice your poster presentation or just see all of the great work that will presented at the annual SfN meeting in Chicago. Here is a list of all of the UMass presentationsContinue reading

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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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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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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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IONs Director’s Channel – June 2019

Barto award

UMass Neurosciences Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Andy Barto by Neurosciences Director Paul Katz and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

May was an exciting time for the Neurosciences at UMass and more is planned for the summer like the inaugural Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series.
The Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference was a great success and started a conversation on campus between the neurosciences and engineering. The Workshop on Methods in Systems Neuroscience and Neurotechnology,  laid out some of the newest techniques for understanding complex brain circuitry. Andy Barto was awarded a UMass Neurosciences Lifetime Achievement Award by Chancellor Subbaswamy. Tributes to Andy poured in from leaders in the fields of Machine Learning and Reinforcement learning.  Here is just a small sample.  Continue reading

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IONs Director’s Channel – May 2019

IONs Director: Paul Katz

As we enter May, there are many exciting developments to announce. The annual UMass Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference will be held at the end of the month on Tuesday May 28th. This year it will have an emphasis on Neuroengineering and features two keynote speakers and 5 shorter talks from UMass faculty and faculty from Worcester Polytechnical Institute. In the morning leading up the lectures, there will be a Workshop on Methods in Systems Neuroscience and Neurotechnology. In the evening there will be a poster session, which is not limited to neuroengineering, but open to all students, postdocs, and faculty to present their neuroscience-related research. Registration is free, but the deadline is May 10th. At the conference, Chancellor Subbaswamy will be presenting keynote speaker Andrew Barto with a UMass Neurosciences Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering research into reinforcement learning. Continue reading

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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.

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IONs Director’s Channel – March 2019

As we move into March, we feel the hope and optimism of spring and growth. Offers of admission are about to be sent to prospective graduate students and new faculty members. We can feel the neurosciences growing and expanding with new people, new findings, and new connections. The Neuroscience and Behavior graduate program had a very exciting recruitment open house. We are hopeful of seeing an exciting new crop of PhD students in the fall. In addition the Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program is in the process of its recruitment event. We are concluding two faculty searches for new Neurosciences faculty members, one in the Biology Department and one in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department.  The Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program is concluding it search for the next Darwin Fellow. Stay tuned for these exciting developments. March is Brain Awareness Month and neuroscience students, postdocs and faculty will be participating in outreach events in Holyoke among other places. Finally, we have wonderful line up of speakers this month including Neurosciences Distinguished Lectures, Charles Lieber and Thalia Konkle as well as NSB students. Please consider supporting IONs with a small donation to help us grow and show your support for the Neurosciences at UMass.

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