Amanda Woerman joins Neuroscience and Behavior

New Neuroscience Faculty

New Neurosciences Faculty: Amanda Woerman (Biology), ChangHui Pak (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Jennifer Mack (Communications Disorders), Stephanie Padilla (Biology), Bruna Martins (Psychological & Brain Sciences), Karine Fenelon (Biology), Sarah Pallas (Biology)

Dr. Amanda Woerman will be joining the Biology Department in the fall of 2019 and will be a member of the Neuroscience & Behavior graduate program. It is worth noting that Amanda is the 7th woman hired into the Neurosciences in the last two years.  Amanda earned my doctorate in Molecular Medicine at The George Washington University in 2013. She is currently an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. She works in the laboratory group of Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner. Her research is focused on investigating protein misfolding and spreading in neurodegenerative disease, with an emphasis on the frontotemporal dementias (FTDs) and the movement disorder multiple system atrophy (MSA).  When she joins UMass, she plans to expand on her previous work by focusing on developing assays that differentiate and characterize disease-causing a-synuclein and tau strains. This could lead to personalized approaches to treating these neurological diseases.


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

IONs Director’s Channel – March 2019

As we move into March, we feel the hope and optimism of spring and growth. Offers of admission are about to be sent to prospective graduate students and new faculty members. We can feel the neurosciences growing and expanding with new people, new findings, and new connections. The Neuroscience and Behavior graduate program had a very exciting recruitment open house. We are hopeful of seeing an exciting new crop of PhD students in the fall. In addition the Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program is in the process of its recruitment event. We are concluding two faculty searches for new Neurosciences faculty members, one in the Biology Department and one in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department.  The Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program is concluding it search for the next Darwin Fellow. Stay tuned for these exciting developments. March is Brain Awareness Month and neuroscience students, postdocs and faculty will be participating in outreach events in Holyoke among other places. Finally, we have wonderful line up of speakers this month including Neurosciences Distinguished Lectures, Charles Lieber and Thalia Konkle as well as NSB students. Please consider supporting IONs with a small donation to help us grow and show your support for the Neurosciences at UMass.


IONs Director’s Channel – Feb 2019

Paul Katz, Director

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it is full of Neurosciences events at UMass. In line with our focus on neuroengineering, I am pleased to announce a new mechanism to initiate collaborative research in neuroengineering – the Innovation Marketplace. Faculty are encouraged to pitch ideas, which will be judged by an audience. The top three proposals will be awarded $1000 microgrants on the spot and developed into Seed Grant proposals through workshops.

We have an incredible line up of speakers this month (see Events). Several of them mesh well with our emphasis this spring in Neuroengineering. Continue reading


Innovation Marketplace

The innovation marketplace is a place to pitch an idea for a collaboration to obtain a Neuroengineering seed grant.

The goal is to find new avenues of collaboration between neuroscientists and engineers.

Faculty are invited to submit a pitch by filling out an online form. The pitch is simply a short explanation of a problem that they have identified that could be solved with collaboration. For example, a neuroscientist may have identified the need for a new tool. Or an engineer may have designed a tool and is interested in finding new uses for it. Similarly, this could extend to analytic methods or devices.  Continue reading


Neuroengineering Seed Grants

Neuroengineering is the combination of fields of neurosciences and engineering. It includes the development of devices or methodology to monitor brain activity as well as therapeutic devices that help overcome neurological conditions. It could also encompass new means of utilizing the brain’s activity.

Goal: Initiate new collaborative work in Neuroengineering. The proposal should lead towards new external funding in the field of neuroengineering.

Award Amounts: $10,000 – $30,000. Anticipated total funding, $100,000. Funds can be used for anything except faculty teaching buyout. Funds are awarded only to UMass Amherst faculty members. Continue reading


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.

Continue reading