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University of Rochester Expo 2017: Chas and Ashley go all in!

Monday, April 24, 2017

photo of Ashley Bui presenting at the University of Rochester Expo 2017 photo of Charles Pfeifer presenting at the University of Rochester Expo 2017

Hard work and enthusiastic presentations by our undergraduates, Charles (Chas) Pfeifer and Ashley Bui, were on view at the annual University of Rochester Expo. Chas and Ashley’s abstracts were accepted earlier in the month, and on April 21, 2017, they presented to a packed crowd. Ashley’s poster was entitled: Projections from the Temporal Cortex to the Basal Nucleus of the Amygdala in the Macaque Create a Gradient of Visual Input. Chas put together a presentation entitled: Dual Neural Connections from Amygdala to the ventromedial (BA25) and dorsomedial (BA24,32) Prefrontal Cortex in the Macaque. Both of these students’ work was based on 2 semesters of Independent Study in our laboratory. Both plan on graduate school in the near future. Ashley will be at SUNY Binghamton in the Neuroscience program, and Chas is taking a research assistant position prior to choosing a program. Thanks to all faculty who attended and gave feedback to our students!

Study Shed New Light on Brain’s Decision-making Process

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Image of a floor map reading stop, look and listen

New research reveals the complex circuits involved in regulating the neurotransmitter dopamine in our brains. Traditionally thought to be limited to reward seeking, the new study shows that parts of the ‘emotional’ brain may also manipulate dopamine to help us pay attention and react to new information in the environment.

The study, which appears in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, was led by Julie Fudge, M.D., with the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neuroscience.

The research focuses on an area of the brain called the amygdala, which is known to be important for social and emotional development and behaviors. The amygdala receives sensory information – sight, sound, and smells – and processes it by combining it with information stored in our memories. It evaluates changes or new information to help determine whether it is worthy of our attention or if it can be ignored. The new study shows that one way the amygdala can accomplish this is by communicating with the brain’s dopamine producing cells.

Read More: Study Shed New Light on Brain’s Decision-making Process

Ashley Bui to present research in Tennessee

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ashley, a senior majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Psychology, will present data from her 2 semesters of Independent Study in the laboratory this spring. Her abstract was selected for the Proceedings of the 31th National Conference on Undergraduate Research, held this year at the University of Memphis School of Public Health in Memphis on April 6-7. Her poster is entitled: Projections from the Temporal Cortex to the Basal Nucleus of the Amygdala in the Macaque Create a Gradient of Visual Input.

Congratulations to all UR undergraduates selected to present at the meeting!

Join us in congratulating Giovanna Braganza!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Our former summer intern, Giovanna Braganza, recently won a Women’s Leadership Award granted from the Susan B. Anthony Center and the Rochester Women’s Leadership Committee. Giovanna collected data on thalamic inputs to the extended amygdala during her summer with our lab, and is planning a career in medicine with a focus on women’s health.

Read More: Join us in congratulating Giovanna Braganza!

Mother’s Touch May Extend to Brain Development

Thursday, January 5, 2017

child and momA new study sheds light on changes in the brain that may explain why young infants who are placed in an orphanage or foster care often struggle with social relationships later in life.

The findings, which were published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, come from a team of researchers led by Julie Fudge, M.D., with the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neuroscience.  The scientists revisited data from a study involving monkeys that took place more than a decade ago at the University of Pittsburgh and was designed to observe the behaviors of newborns that were separated from their biological mothers and raised by another group of females.  The original study noted that these monkeys differed in their social interactions – such as grooming, huddling together, and normal aggression – compared to those that were raised by their mothers.

Like humans, monkey’s brains are not fully developed at birth and the animals are dependent upon the nurturing of caregivers for many months early in life.  Fudge and her colleagues wanted to see if there could find an association between the absence of a primary caregiver and biological changes in the brain that could explain the lasting social impairment observed in the monkeys.

Read More: Mother’s Touch May Extend to Brain Development