UMass Neuroscience Publications – September 2020

Buju Dasgupta

This month’s featured researcher is Nilanjana “Buju” Dasgupta, who is a professor in Psychological & Brain Sciences, the Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences, and Director of the Institute of Diversity Sciences. Her research focuses on implicit bias. This month, she appeared in Pubmed as an author on a paper entitled, “Open science, communal culture, and women’s participation in the movement to improve science

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in Septmeber. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. You can click on the PubMed ID to find the publication.

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Director’s Channel September 2020

IONs Director, Paul Katz

As the tragedy of COVID-19 continues to spread, we are learning to adapt to our new online lifestyle. In the spring, our seminar speakers all canceled because they were hoping to be able to visit in person the following year; the idea of giving a virtual talk was not appealing. Now, all of those speakers have agreed to give remote seminars. As a result, we have an incredible lineup for the 2020-2021 Distinguished Neuroscience Lectures. These lectures are presented as part of the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program Seminar Series.

I am especially thrilled that next month, Erich Jarvis will be giving three talks in collaboration with the College of Natural Sciences Distinguished Scientist and Engineer Lecture Series and also in collaboration with the Fine Arts Center at UMass. Erich has a very interesting history as a dancer and as a Black scientist, which he will be sharing along with his incredible research on vocal learning.

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UMass Neuroscience Publications – August 2020

This month’s featured researcher is Melinda Novak. Melinda is a professor in Psychological and Brain Sciences. She is one of the founders of the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program. Her research has centered around neuroendocrinology and stress. She and her long-term collaborator and colleague, Jerry Meyer wrote a review paper, which was published this month in Developmental Pyschobiology and summarizes work on non-invasive measurements of stress in newborns.

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in August. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. You can click on the PubMed ID to find the publication.

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Director’s Channel August 2020

Paul Katz, IONs Director

Science has an essential role is to play in modern society. Science is the engine that allows the economy to grow; it creates the innovation for new devices and new knowledge for that improves lives. Currently, we are depending upon science to develop a vaccine to rescue us from the COVID-19 pandemic. But developing the vaccine is only one step towards ending the ongoing tragedy; recent polls found that as few as 50% of Americans are willing to be vaccinated. Science is not enough, people need to be able to understand the knowledge that is gained through science and trust its application.

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Student Spotlight

Ellen Rodberg

This month’s student spotlight is on Ellen Rodberg. Ellen is a 2nd year NSB graduate student in Elena Vazey’s lab in the Biology Department, where she works on the role of the Locus Coeruleus in stress responses. This past month, she published a single-author “Journal Club” review in the Journal of Neuroscience, titled, “Stress-Induced Increases in Locus Coeruleus Norepinephrine Underlie Extinction Learning Deficits”. Ellen transferred to UMass from the University of Michigan and was previously an undergraduate at UMass.

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UMass Neuroscience Publications – July 2020

Dr. Rebecca Ready

This month’s featured researcher is Rebecca Ready. Rebecca is a Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and of the American Psychological Association and heads the Aging, Emotion, and Cognition Lab here at UMass. This month she had a paper appear in PubMed in which a team validated testing measure to determine outcomes of patients with Huntington’s Disease.

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in July. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. You can click on the PubMed ID to find the publication.

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Update from NSB Anti-Racism Action Teams and Focus Groups

Continuing the anti-racism work here on campus, the Neuroscience and Behavior community is making great strides with 5 teams that have worked with trainees within their respective focus groups. Open communication, supportive dialogue and the recognized need for change are driving the teams and trainees to continue this progress. Working with these focus groups has allowed for listening, learning, and brainstorming between faculty team members and trainees. Transparency and communication regarding progress remains a steadfast goal, along with easing the burden of the trainees within the focus groups. Using the student petition as a guideline, they are striving for strengthening scientific growth and mentorship alongside an increased call for social justice within our NSB program, and as an academic community as a whole. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about the work being done, please contact Luke Remage-Healey (healey@cns.umass.edu) or Heather Richardson (hrichardson@cns.umass.edu).

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Director’s Channel, July 2020

Humans, as a species, have a remarkable capacity to adapt rapidly to environmental challenges by cooperating in groups. Our group identities are based on shared norms and beliefs that get reinforced by the group. However, these beliefs are not necessarily egalitarian, fair, or even humane. Our country is currently facing several challenges simultaneously: COVID-19, economic collapse, systemic racism and police brutality. These crises are being exacerbated by clashes of beliefs fostered by different groups: partisanship, anti-science beliefs, xenophobia, nationalism, and racism. We need to combat these beliefs if we are going to adapt and thrive as a society.

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Anti-racism in the NSB Community

The Neuroscience and Behavior (NSB) Graduate Program, in conjunction with the other Interdepartmental Graduate Programs (IDGP) and departments in the College of Natural Sciences, has initiated efforts to combat anti-Black racism and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. A group of IDGP students, led by NSB student president Wayne Barnaby and colleagues, launched a petition to the Chancellor and Provost to demand structural changes to support the UMass Black and Brown Community. Neuroscience community members are urged to read and sign the petition, and share it widely throughout our networks.

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