Category Archives: Uncategorized

Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series

This summer, we will have our inaugural Neurosciences Summer Seminar Series featuring UMass faculty and post-docs. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the work going on here at UMass. Seminars will be at noon in 423 Tobin Hall. Bring your lunch! Hang out afterward and talk to the speaker.

Line up of speakers:

  • June 12th – Emily Rothwell 
  • June 19th – Rebecca Spencer
  • June 26th – Eric Bittman
  • July 3rd – Marcela Fernandez
  • July 10th – Joe Bergan
  • July 17th – Lisa Sanders
  • July 31st – Rosie Cowell
  • Aug 7th  – Kirby Deater-Deckard
  • Aug 14th – Sarah Pallas
  • Aug 21st – Mariana Pereira

 

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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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Andrew Barto presented UMass Neurosciences Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Andrew Barto has been selected to receive a UMass Neurosciences Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering research into reinforcement learning. The award will be presented to him by Chancellor Subbaswamy after his lecture at the UMass Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Conference on May 28th. Dr. Barto is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass.  He is perhaps best known for an influential book, which he co-wrote with Richard Sutton, called “Reinforcement Learning” (MIT Press). The book, which is now in its 2nd edition is considered almost a sacred text by neuroscientists studying the neural basis learning as well as engineers and computer scientists who work on artificial intelligence.

The extent to which Dr. Barto is loved and admired by researchers around the world is obvious in the tributes that are pouring in as a result of this announcement. If you would like to add your words to this website praising Dr. Barto’s contribution, send them to ions@umass.edu.

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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

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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

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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

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IONs Director’s Channel – Jan 2019

Neuroscience is booming at UMass Amherst.  2018 was a great year and I am very excited about everything that we have coming up for 2019 including Seed Grants, Faculty Forums, a Distinguished Lecture Series and a Neuroscience conference on neuroengineering.

In this past year, we hired SIX new faculty members in neuroscience in four different departments. It is worth remarking that they are all women! Five are assistant professors: Karine Fenelon and Stephanie Padilla in Biology, Changhui Pak in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bruna Martins in Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Jennifer Mack in Communication Disorders. The latest addition to our Neurosciences faculty is a senior hire, Sarah Pallas in Biology.

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