Category Archives: Events

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.

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.

Register for the workshop, the conference and the poster session.
No registration fee.

Registration deadline is May 10th, 2019

Register now.

Local Keynote Speaker

Andrew Barto

Professor Emeritus
College of Computer and Information Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Can Machine Learning tell us anything about
the neurobiological basis for learning?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is much in the news these days, with most of the attention due to the success of machine learning (ML) algorithms. Some of the most impressive AI systems rely on learning by multi-layer, or “deep”, artificial neural networks (ANNs). Despite the fact that ANNs were inspired by networks of real neurons, their correspondence to real neural networks remains superficial, and the ML algorithms they use are motivated by mathematical theory rather than by neuroscience. After briefly explaining the most common ML algorithms, I argue that while some popular algorithms are unlikely to tell us much about the neurobiological basis of learning, other algorithms correspond to neural data in surprising ways that have been enormously useful in making sense of data. I conclude by describing directions suggested by these correspondences that remain to be explored.

Keynote Speaker

Steve McCarroll

Dorothy and Milton Flier Professor of Biomedical Science and Genetics
Department of Genetics
Harvard Medical School

Keynote speaker sponsored by Models to Medicine, Institute of Applied Life Sciences.

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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


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

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. Continue reading


Ofrenda Competition for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Ofrendas or offerings are traditional in some communities, particularly in Mexico and northern Central America as way of commemorating deceased loved ones.

Students are invited to build displays in the memory of an important person in their field of study who has passed on.

Participants will receive a free Memory Stick. A $100 gift certificate to the UMass campus store will be awarded for the most evocative ofrenda.

Deadline for on line registration is Oct 22nd.

If you are interested in participating, please register here.
(You must log in with your UMass e-mail. If you have a problem with logging in, contact

The Ofrendas must be displayed Oct 29th – Nov 2nd for the UMass Week of Memory and Forgetting.

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