Category Archives: Uncategorized

Student spotlight – Sarah Winokur

Neuroscience and Behavior PhD student, Sarah Winokur, received three awards to support her dissertation research: The Dissertation Fellowship from the Center for Research on Families, The Psychological and Brain Sciences Department’s Rayner Memorial Fund Award, and The UMass Amherst Graduate School’s Dissertation Research Grant. Sarah is in her 5th year of the NSB program, working on her dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Mariana Pereira to explore the neurobiological underpinnings of disturbances to maternal behavior. This funding will help support studies that specifically investigate neurogenetic and hormonal factors that contribute to deficits in maternal behavior, cognition, and motivation. Long term, Sarah aims to work in academia where she can continue researching social relationships and how they impacted by depression and anxiety at the neurobiological level, while also sharing her love for neuroscience with students and through outreach.

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UMass Neurosciences Publications – Sept 2019

This month’s featured researcher is Eric Bittman. Eric is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology. His lab studies the molecular and neural bases for circadian rhythms. His most recent paper appears in the Journal of Biological Rhythms. He recently showed how certain gene alleles alter the function of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus in ways that may contribute to changes in circadian rhythms.

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in June. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. Continue reading

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Andrea Silva-Gotay awarded D-SPAN NIH award

Neuroscience and Behavior graduate student Andrea Silva-Gotay was awarded the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award. She was one of eleven awardees picked from a nationwide pool of applicants. This grant will support the completion of Silva-Gotay’s doctoral dissertation in the Richardson lab for up to 2 years as well as the transition to a neuroscience postdoctoral research position for up to 4 years. Continue reading

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Emily Rothwell awarded NIH postdoc fellowship

Postdoctoral associate Emily Rothwell was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein
National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) to investigate preclinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease,
including sleep, altered emotion regulation, and cognitive decline.
Rothwell conducts her research in the lab of Agnes Lacreuse with a non-human
primate model that naturally develops Alzheimer’s-like neuropathology
during aging. Continue reading

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UMass Neurosciences Publications – August 2019

This month’s featured researcher is Dr. Rebecca Ready. Dr. Ready is a professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She works on the assessment of emotion regulation in healthy aging adults and in clinical populations, including Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. She studies emotion reactions in the lab and in daily life and is interested in how individual differences, such as executive functions, memory, and personality affect emotion regulation outcomes.  She is a member of the Center for Research on Families and the Center for Personalized Health Medicine. She has had 5 papers appear recently in PubMed (see below).

Here’s what else is new for ‘ ”University of Massachusetts” AND Amherst AND neuroscience’ in PubMed. These publications appeared on line in June. They are just a fraction of the research that occurs on campus. Continue reading

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The NSB Program Retreat

The Neuroscience and Behavior Program had a fun and productive retreat. Students, postdocs, and faculty met at an idyllic spot in Vermont where they shared a day of discussions about student and post-doc success and how to navigate a life in science. There was a fun Minute of Science competition, where contestants gave a 60 second talk and were judged on arbitrary criteria. Faculty then headed out while students continued to commune over the next day. Here are some images from Melise Edwards.

 

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Lacreuse studying a natural model of Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Agnes Lacreuse is giving Fitbits and touchscreens to small monkeys called marmosets to observe their activity and cognitive decline as they age. This might give her information about the progression of the devastating Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in humans, for which there is no treatment even after decades of research. New animal models are being developed to address the failures of past research conducted almost exclusively on mice. Lacreuse is taking a more natural approach. Continue reading

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UMass researchers find sex differences in cognition of middle-aged marmosets

In a paper recently published in the journal e-Neuro, NSB doctoral recipient Matthew LaClair and his advisor Agnes Lacreuse, examined what is a highly controversial topic in humans, by turning to the nonhuman primate, the common marmoset. The investigators asked whether biological sex modulates some aspects of cognitive performance as well as neural connectivity measures. They identified sex differences in cognitive flexibility that are correlated with sex-dependent patterns of resting brain networks.  The findings support the idea that cognitive sex differences may have identifiable intrinsic neural correlates. Investigating the dynamics of cognitive sex differences and associated brain networks across the lifespan may shed a new light on sex-specific cognitive disorders. Continue reading

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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:

 

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