Author Archives: ions

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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Neurosciences Distinguished Lecture Series

The Neurosciences Distinguished Lecture Series invites the highest profile speakers in the neurosciences to UMass that represent the largest breadth of the neurosciences.

Seminars are held Wednesdays at 4pm in 222 Morrill Science Center as part of the Neuroscience and Behavior Seminar Series.

The line up for the Spring Semester is:

Feb 13 
Archana Venkataraman

Johns Hopkins University
“Generative Models to Decode Brain Pathology”
Host Xian Du, Mechanical Engineering

March 20
Charles Lieber
Harvard University
Host: Jun Yao, Electrical and Computer Engineering

April 10
Marlene Behrman
Carnegie Mellon University
Host: David Huber, Psychological and Brain Sciences

April 24
Jeff Lichtman
Harvard University
“Connectomics: What, How, and Why”
Host: Paul Katz, Biology



Neurosciences Faculty Forums – Spring 2019

The Neurosciences Faculty Forum is a lunchtime group that meets twice a month. It gives faculty members and post-docs from across the UMass campus a chance to meet and discuss their research ideas in an informal setting. Powerpoint slides are discouraged (maximum of 3). The goal is to increase understanding and look for areas of cooperation and collaboration.

If you are interested in presenting your work, sign up with this Doodle Poll.

This semester, the focus is on Neuroengineering. The goal is to have a neuroscientist and an engineer present their work so that we can find areas of overlap for collaboration.

To see the upcoming Neuroscience Faculty Forums go to Events.


UMass Neuroscience Publications – Dec. 2018

What’s new for ‘”university of Massachusetts” AND amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed.

  • Beery AK. Inclusion of females does not increase variability in rodent research studies. Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2018 Oct;23:143-149. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.06.016. Epub 2018 Aug 2. PubMed PMID: 30560152; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6294461.
  • Goodwin NL, Lopez SA, Lee NS, Beery AK. Comparative role of reward in long-term peer and mate relationships in voles. Horm Behav. 2018 Dec 7. pii: S0018-506X(18)30330-1. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2018.10.012. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30528833.
  • Chen XJ, Liu LL, Wang Y, Yang TX, Huang J, Li K, Zeng YW, Cheung EFC, Shum DHK, van Amelsvoort T, Chan RCK. Neural correlates of the effect of implementation intention on prospective memory. Psych J. 2018 Dec 5. doi: 10.1002/pchj.257. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30520271.
  • Mantua J, Grillakis A, Mahfouz SH, Taylor MR, Brager AJ, Yarnell AM, Balkin TJ, Capaldi VF, Simonelli G. A systematic review and meta-analysis of sleep architecture and chronic traumatic brain injury. Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Oct;41:61-77. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2018.01.004. Epub 2018 Feb 2. Review. PubMed PMID: 29452727.
  • Doan SN, DeYoung G, Fuller-Rowell TE, Liu C, Meyer J. Investigating relations among stress, sleep and nail cortisol and DHEA. Stress. 2018 Mar;21(2):188-193. doi: 10.1080/10253890.2018.1429398. Epub 2018 Jan 26. PubMed PMID: 29373934.
  • Mott M, Luna VM, Park JY, Downes GB, Epley K, Ono F. Expressing acetylcholine receptors after innervation suppresses spontaneous vesicle release and causes muscle fatigue. Sci Rep. 2017 May 10;7(1):1674. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01900-3. PubMed PMID: 28490756; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5431962.

Katz receives NIH BRAIN Iniative award

UMass Neurosciences Director, Paul Katz received a $3.5 Million grant from the NIH Brain Initiative to lead a team of researchers from four universities to study the brain of a nudibranch.  The grant is entitled “A 5-dimensional connectomics approach to the neural basis of behavior” because it examines the brain 3 dimensions of space and 2 dimensions of time: real time and developmental time.  Continue reading


Sarah Pallas joins UMass Biology

Dr. Sarah Pallas recently accepted a position to join the Biology Department and the Neuroscience and Behavior graduate program at UMass. Dr. Pallas was previously at Georgia State University. Her research is aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying development and plasticity of sensory pathways in the brain. Dr. Pallas is the 6th recent hire into the growing Neurosciences community at UMass.


Five new assistant professors join the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program

The Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program welcomes five new Assistant Professors. They epitomize the diversity of backgrounds and approaches in the Neurosciences. Two of the faculty members are in Biology, one in Psychological Brain Sciences, one in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and one in Communication Disorders. Each of them is recruiting PhD students for the coming year.

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