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Student Seminars and Defenses


NSC 503 Seminars

Cody McKee; Luke Shaw - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Kerry O'Banion, Jon Mink

Student Moderator:  Greg Reilly

 Oct 25, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Guest Speaker: Dr. Adriana DiPolo

Dr. Adriana DiPolo - Professor

Department of Neuroscience, University of Montreal
Axe neurosciences, CRCHUM

Dr. Adriana Di Polo's laboratory focuses on the pathobiology of retinal ganglion cells, the neurons that convey visual information from the retina to the brain via their axons in the optic nerve. Loss of vision in glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, is caused by the death of retinal ganglion cells. At present, there is no cure for glaucoma and current treatments are often insufficient to stop disease progression. We seek to understand the mechanisms underlying retinal ganglion cell death and to develop novel therapeutics to preserve and restore vision.

Student Moderator:  Kate Andersh

 Nov 01, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Jingyi Yang; Mark Stoessel - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Andrew Wojtovich, Gail Johnson

Student Moderator:  Alesha Usuki

 Nov 08, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Fei Shang; Silei Zhu - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Ania Majewska, Adam Snyder

Student Moderator:  Cody McKee

 Nov 22, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Estephanie Balbuena; Julia Granato - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Dave MacLean, John Olschowka

Student Moderator:  Anjali Sinha

 Nov 29, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Leslie Gonzalez; Lia Calcinez Rodruiguez; Alexis Fiedler - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Rock Libby, Laurel Carney

Student Moderator:  Luke Shaw

 Dec 06, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Catalina Guzman; Mark Osabutey; Sean Lydon - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Harris Gelbard, Krystel Huxlin

Student Moderator:  Jingyi Yang

 Dec 13, 2021 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Fara Zakusilo; Alesha Usuki - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Ken Henry, Manual Gomez-Ramirez

Student Moderator:  Emily Przysinda

 Jan 10, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Dennis Jung; Bingyu Sun - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Paul Kammermeier, Amy Kiernan

Student Moderator:  Fei Shang

 Jan 24, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Lelo Shamambo; Tori Popov - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Anne Luebke, Chris Pröschel

Student Moderator:  Silei Zhu

 Jan 31, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Jay Gonzalez-Amoretti; Amy Bucklaew - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Keith Nehrke, Jennifer Hunter

Student Moderator:  Dennis Jung

 Feb 07, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Guest Speaker: Dr. Andre Fenton

Andre Fenton, PhD - Professor, NYU

Professor of Neural Science

I study how brains store experiences as memories, and how the expression of knowledge activates information that is relevant without activating what is irrelevant. My laboratory uses molecular, electrophysiological, behavioral, engineering, and theoretical methods to investigate these fundamental and interrelated issues in neuroscience.

In work with Todd Sacktor's laboratory, we identified protein kinase M zeta (PKMzeta) as a key molecular component of long term memory. PKMζ is a persistently active kinase that maintains enhanced electrical communication at the synapses between neurons. We discovered PKMζ's role in long-term memory storage by infusing ZIP, a selective inhibitor of PKMζ, into specific brain areas. Long-term memory for a particular place was erased after infusing ZIP into hippocampus a day, even a month after rats learned a place avoidance task. Importantly, ZIP did not alter baseline synaptic activity nor did it impair the rat's ability to relearn and remember the same information if it was retrained after the erasure. Subsequent work has shown that PKMζ is involved in memory storage in many parts of the brain. Our initial work on PKMζ and memory was selected as one of the ten "Breakthroughs of the Year 2006" by the editors of Science, and received substantial attention in the popular media, including the New York Times. We are continuing to study PKMζ's role in the synaptic organization of memory and in maintaining memory-related brain activity.

Neural coordination
We are investigating the role of the hippocampus in controlling how we choose relevant information to process, by studying the interaction of memories and neural activity in signaling information from multiple spatial frames. While rats and mice solve problems that require using relevant information and ignoring distractions, we make recordings from multiple sites and use computational tools to decode information from these recordings about cognitive variables like current location, memory, attention, and cognitive control. Evidence from this work suggests that neural activity is exquisitely coordinated on multiple time scales from milliseconds to minutes, so that neurons that represent the same information discharge together in time, but are desynchronized when representing conflicting information. We are studying specific disturbances of this neural coordination in rat and mouse models of schizophrenia, intellectual disability, autism, depression, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

Recording electrical brain activity
We have developed an inexpensive, miniature, wireless digital device for recording electrical brain activity from rats that have spontaneous seizures and abnormalities of neural coordination. By making recordings that last days to weeks, we can characterize abnormalities in the coordinated electrical activity that leads up to seizures. Our goal is to learn whether this activity underlies cognitive impairments, and whether behavioral and pharmacological interventions can attenuate the neural and cognitive abnormalities. Together with business and engineering partners, we have developed our brain-recording technology for medical applications.

Student Moderator:  Uday Chockanathan

 Feb 14, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Bryan Crum; Mike Gianetto - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Krishnan Padmanabhan, Mark Noble

Student Moderator:  Mark Stossel

 Feb 21, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Dennisha King; Evan Newbold - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Ed Freedman, Marc Schieber

Student Moderator:  Michael Duhain

 Feb 28, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Guest Speaker: Dr. Shane Liddlelow

Shane Liddlelow, PhD - Asst. Professor

Neuroscience Institute @ NYU
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology

Our work focuses on the mechanisms that induce different forms of reactive astrocytes, and how these reactive cells interact with other cells in the CNS in a positive or negative way. We use high throughput single cell and bulk RNA sequencing, and spatial transcriptomics to investigate the heterogeneity of astrocytes in multiple species. We also take advantage of genetic engineering and modern in vitro modeling to interrogate disease mechanisms and interaction with other CNS cells that change between health and disease.

Student Moderator:  Linh Le

 Mar 14, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Paige Nicklas; Abigail Sawicki - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Duje Tadin, Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez

Student Moderator:  Jo Fritzinger

 Mar 21, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Ari Seldowitz; Yanya Ding - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Margot Mayer-Pröschel, Jean Bidlack

Student Moderator:  Sarah Yablonski

 Mar 28, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Guest Speaker: Dr. Emily Corderre

Emily Coderre, PhD - Asst. Professor

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorder
Univ. Vermont

Dr. Coderre studies the cognitive neuroscience of language using neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Her research examines the cognitive processes underlying language in both typically-developing populations and in special population such as bilinguals and individuals with autism. She is particularly interested in how we understand the meaning of language during word, sentence, and narrative comprehension, and in how such understanding is impaired in autism. Her work aims to better understand the mechanisms of language deficits in autism in order to design more effective treatment interventions.

Student Moderator:  Kathryn Toffolo

 Apr 04, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Bryan Redmond; Thomas Delgado - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Vera Gorbunova, Suzanne Haber

Student Moderator:  MaKenna Cealie

 Apr 11, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Sean Lydon; Estephanie Balbuena - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Dragony Fu, David Dodell-Feder

Student Moderator:  Caitlin Sharp

 Apr 18, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Catalina Guzman; Leslie Gonzalez - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Ian Fiebelkorn, Greg DeAngelis

Student Moderator:  Matt Adusei

 Apr 25, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Lia Calcinez Rodruiguez; Julia Granato - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Ruchira Singh, Marissa Sobolewski

Student Moderator:  Jay Gonzalez-Amoretti

 May 02, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.

NSC 503 Seminars

Alexis Fiedler; Mark Osabutey - PhD Candidate

Faculty Evaluators:  Martina Poletti, Jude Mitchell

Student Moderator:  Amy Bucklaew

 May 09, 2022 @ 4:00 p.m.