University of Pittsburgh

Department of Neuroscience

Marlene Cohen receives 2015 McKnight Scholar Award

cohen

Congratulations to Marlene Cohen, a recipient of the 2015 McKnight Scholar Award. The Award is granted to young scientists in the early stages of establishing their own independent laboratories and research careers and who have demonstrated a committment to neuroscience. The Endowment Fund seeks to support innovative research designed to bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated. The McKnight Scholars will each receive $75,000 per year for three years.

 

Congratulations to Dr. Anthony A. Grace!

 

The William K. Warren Research Award is given every 2 years to a senior investigator, who has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of schizophrenia.

At the 2015 meeting of the International Congress of Schizophrenia Research,

Dr. Anthony A. Grace was named the recipient of the award for 2015.

 

Marlene Cohen receives 2015 University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award

cohen

Patrick Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor awarded a dozen Pitt faculty members with 2015 chancellor’s awards for research, teaching and service. In the junior scholar category, Marlene Cohen, assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience in the Dietrich school was awarded $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant in support of her research. Chancellor Gallagher recognized Marlene's research as “scientifically rigorous, highly creative and novel” work that is making a substantial impact on the field of sensory processing and perception. “Not only have you been extremely successful in obtaining funding for your research, but you have also amply demonstrated that you are an independent, creative and talented scientist who is emerging as one of the true leaders in your field,” he wrote. Read More...

 

Congratulations to Dr. Yan Dong!

Dr. Dong's research is featured in the Winter 2015 issue of the PITT magazine. According to the article, Dong and his research team "sought to explain the brain mechanisms of cocaine craving. The findings suggest that it may be possible to clinically manipulate certain brain neurocircuits to weaken post-withdrawal cocaine relapse."

Hot Metal Bridge Post-Baccalaureate Program adds Neuroscience as an option. Application deadline is April 30, 2014.

Please visit the School of Arts and Sciences' Diversity Initiatives HMB program page for more information.

 

Congratulations to Dr. Anthony Grace!

Dr. Anthony A. Grace, has been named the 2013 winner of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award. This award is presented for outstanding contributions to Neuropsychopharmacology by mentoring young scientists. Dr. Grace was presented with the award during the President's Plenary session at the Annual Meeting in Hollywood Florida. Congratulations Tony!

 

Congratulations to Dr. Bill Yates!

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Bill Yates, Professor of Otolaryngology and Neuroscience has been appointed as Editor of Journal of Neurophysiology, effective July 2014.

 

 

Matt Schaff Receives Goldwater Scholarship!

As reported in the Pitt Chronicle, April 2, 2012, Matthew A. B. Schaff, a junior majoring in neuroscience and economics, is one of three University of Pittsburgh Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences' students to be named a 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship winner for his exceptional independent research in the natural sciences. The students were nominated for the scholarships through the auspices of Pitt’s University Honors College.

Patricia White writes, "Schaff, a Pitt Honors Scholar from Strafford, Pa., is an undergraduate researcher in Pitt’s Neuropsychopharmacology of Nicotine Addiction Laboratory. He studies the reinforcement-enhancing effects of nicotine on rats through operant conditioning techniques under the direction of Alan Sved, a professor and chair in Pitt’s Department of Neuroscience, and Eric Donny, a professor in Pitt’s Department of Psychology.

Schaff also spent two summers conducting research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Neuropsychiatry Laboratory.

An intern/contractor at The Foundation for Biomedical Research in Washington, D.C., Schaff inaugurated the “Research Outreach Initiative,” which encourages scientists to perform K-12 outreach. He is a service volunteer in the Pitt Department of Biological Sciences and Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Mobile Science Lab Program. Schaff’s honors include the Center for Neuroscience Summer Undergraduate Fellowship and the University Honors College Fall Research Fellowship. He serves as president of the Pitt Neuroscience Club.

Schaff plans to earn a PhD in neuroscience and to conduct research on the causes of drug abuse, directing the focus of his future research toward understanding the way the brain processes and responds to rewarding stimuli, particularly commonly abused stimulants such as nicotine and cocaine. He hopes to teach at the university level".

 

Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair, March 30-31, 2012

Department of Neuroscience sponsored awardees for the 73rd Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair which took place at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA are David Shipe and Julia Reese.

Julia Reese, a junior from Freeport Senior High School in Freeport, PA, presented a project entitled, "Zebrafish Embryo Use to Test Rx Drugs" in which she conducted experiments to determine if zebrafish embryos can successfully identify drugs with potential human cardiotoxicity. The results indicated that zebrafish embryos were able to identify the human cardiovascular effects of the majority of the drugs, showing that they can possibly be used tas models for human drug research.

David Shipe, a sophomore from Freeport Senior High School, presented a project entitled "Excessive Breeding Affect Cognitive Ability of Mice?" in which he conducted experiments to determine and compare the cognitive ability of inbred, outbred and pet store mice.

 

 

 

Pitt News Release: January 18, 2012

Teenagers' Brains Make Them More Susceptible to Addiction, Depression Than Adults

As published by Drs. Bita Moghaddam and David Sturman in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science research "compared the brain activity of adolescents and adults in rats involved in a task in which they anticipated a reward". The study found "that not only is reward expectancy processed differently in an adolescent brain, but also it can affect brain regions directly responsible for decision-making and action selection". 

 

Dr. Edward Stricker, Dean of the University Honors College and Professor of Neuroscience, to deliver Honors College address - January 11, 2012

As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today Dr. Edward Stricker describes family influences on his life, his passion for education, his academic and research years and his plans to address the University community of the state of the Honors College.

Neuroscience in the News

Why Obama's Brain Mapping Project Matters

MIT Technology Review - April 8

Obama calls for $100 million to develop new technologies to understand the brain.

Do Brain Games Work?

Popular Science - April 8
A few new studies, including one meta-analysis, suggest brain games don't make you any better at anything but playing brain games.

Exercising body and brain boosts memory and thinking in older people, study shows

The Washington Post - April 8

Exercising body and brain may improve memory and thinking in older people.

Brain Scans May Reveal Early Signs of Schizophrenia

Psych Central - April 6

As much as a decade before most schizophrenia patients begin showing symptoms, brain scans may be able to detect signs of the disease.

Brain Shape Confirms Controversial Fossil as Oldest Human Ancestor

Scientific American - April 4

A seven-million-year-old skull found in the Djurab Desert in Chad may indeed represent the earliest known member of the human family.

Upcoming Seminars and Events

For a complete list of seminars please visit the CNUP Website.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

4:00 p.m.

Mark Laubach , PhD

Associate Professor of Biology

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience

American University

Seminar Title: Self-control and the medial prefrontal cortex

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

10:00 a.m.

Peter W. Kalivas, PhD

Professor and Founding Chair

Department of Neuroscience

Medical University of South Carolina

Seminar Title: Using synaptic plasticity to cure addiction

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Monday, May 4, 2015

2:00 p.m.

Paul J. Kenny, PhD

Ward-Coleman Professor and Chair

Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics

Icahn School of Medicine

Mount Sinai, New York

Seminar Title: Role for the habenula in nicotine reinforcement

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, March 24 , 2015

4:00 p.m.

Scott M. Sternson, PhD

Group Leader

Janelia Farm Research Campus

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Seminar Title: The neurobiology of need

Location: 169 Crawford Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Friday, March 6 , 2015

10:00 a.m.

Marina E. Wolf, PhD

Professor and Chair

Department of Neuroscience

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Seminar Title: Synaptic mechanisms maintaining persistent cocaine craving

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

10:00 p.m.

Mami Otaka

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Characterization of GABAergic projections from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens: Effects of dopamine and cocaine

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2:30 p.m.

Adrienne Taren

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Prefrontal regulatory mechanisms of mindfulness and stress reduction and links to markers of health

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

10:00 a.m.

Robert C. Malenka, MD,PhD

Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Stanford University School of Medicine

Careers in neuroscience: a pragmatic discussion

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2:30 p.m.

Peter A. Neumann

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Cocaine-based signaling changes in the nucleus accumbens, the lateral habenula, and the thalamus

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Jennifer Raymond , PhD

Associate Professor of Neurobiology

Associate Dean

Office of Faculty Development and Diversity

Stanford University School of Medicine

Seminar: Understanding both enhanced and impaired learning with enhanced synaptic plasticity

Location: A224 Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Monday, November 24, 2014

1:00 p.m.

Rowshanak Hashemiyoon, PhD

Chief of Behavioral Neurophysiology and Computational Neuroscience

University Hospital of Cologne

Department of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery

Cologne, Germany

Seminar: What the bleep is going on in the brain? Oscillations and brain states in Tourette Syndrome

Location: A221 Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

 

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Friday, November 21, 2014

1:30 p.m.

Masataka Watanabe, PhD

Asociate Professor

University of Toyko

Visiting Researcher, Max Planck Institute

Seminar: The history and the future of visual consciousness research

Location: A219A Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Departments of Neuroscience and Neurobiology Seminar:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Hagai Bergman, MD, PhD

Simone and Bernard Guttman Chair in Brain Research

Professor, Department of Medical Neurobiology (Physiology)

The Hebrew University

Jerusalem, Israel

Seminar: Computational physiology of the basal ganglia and their neurological and psychiatric disorders

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Sponsor: Departments of Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

11:00 a.m.

Jesse T. Wood

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: New insight into how VTA neurons encode information about serial actions

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Staci Bilbo , Ph.D.

Asociate Professor

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Departments of Psychology & Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Duke University

Seminar: Microglial colonization of the developing brain: Implications for long-term neural and behavioral function

Location: A224 Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

M.S. Thesis Defense:

Monday, July 21, 2014

9:00 a.m.

Rachel Schassburger

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Nicotine self-administration in adolescent male ans female rats

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Monday, July 2, 2014

4:00 p.m.

James Herman , Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and

Director of the Laboratory of Stress Neurobiology

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Seminar: Rethinking stress biology: Neuroplasticity, adaptation and pathology

Location:A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

10:00 a.m.

James W. Maniscalco

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Metabolic tuning of neural, neuroendocrine, and behavioral responses to stress

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

 

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Monday, June 2, 2014

1:30 p.m.

Maria A. Tsiarli

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Dissecting the role of the glucocorticoid receptor in embryonic cortical developement: Insights from in utero glucocorticoid exposure

Location: 1395 Biomedical Science Tower

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

 

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Monday, June 2 , 2014

10:00 a.m.

Jeffrey Tasker, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

Catherine and Hunter Pierson Chair in Neuroscience

Director, Neuroscience Program

Tulane University

Seminar: Stress plasticity of the noradrenergic activation of the HPA axis: Rapid glucocorticoid actions

Location: 2nd Floor Audirorium, Learning Research Development Center

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

4:00 p.m.

John Williams, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Vollum Institute

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine

Oregon Health and Science University

Seminar: Dendrodendritic dopamine transmission in the ventral midbrain

Location: A224 Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Michael J. Higley, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurobiology

Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair

Yale School of Medicine

Seminar: Shedding light on GABAergic inhibition in neocortical dendrites

Location: 169 Crawford Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Robert Vertes, Ph.D.

Professor of Neuroscience

Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences

Florida Atlantic University

Seminar Title: Limbic circuitry of the midline thalamus

Location: 169 Crawford Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Monday, February 17, 2104

4:00 p.m.

Thomas Blanpied, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Physiology

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Seminar Title: Postsynaptic molecular organization and kinase dynamics at single, living synapses

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

 

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, Febraury 4, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Jason MacClean, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

The University of Chicago

Seminar Title: Defining functional microcircuitry in neocortex

Location: 169 Crawford Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

4:00 p.m.

Eric Klann, Ph.D.

Professor

Center for Neural Science

New York University

Seminar Title: Dysregulated translational control in neurodevelopmental disorders

Location: 169 Crawford Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Departments of Neurobiology and Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

4:00 p.m.

Edward M. Callaway, Ph.D.

Professor, Systems Neurobiology Laboratories

Audrey Geisel Chair in Biomedical Science

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

La Jolla, CA

Seminar Title: Of mice and monkeys: A journey into the visual system

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research and Development Center

*Light refreshments to follow in Learning Research and Development Center

Sponsor: Departments of Neurobiology and Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

4:00 p.m.

Cecilia Flores, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Psychiatry

McGill University

Seminar Title: dcc and the adolescent maturation of the medial prefrontal cortex

Location: A224 Langley Hall

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

 

Master of Science Thesis Defense:

Monday, June 24, 2013

10:00 a.m.

Jessica E. Galgiani

Department of Neuroscience

University of Pittsburgh

Seminar Title: Vermis-cingulate cortex interconnections: A cerbro-cerebellar circuit in the rat

Location: 4075 Biomedical Science Tower 3

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense:

Monday, June 3, 2013

10:00 a.m.

Gil D. Hoftman

Center for Neuroscience

Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences/Neuroscience

Seminar Title: Development of Cortical GABA Circuitry: Identifying Periods of Vulnerability to Schizophrenia

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, LRDC

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

 

Monday, June 3, 2013

4:00 p.m.

Pat Levitt, Ph.D.

Provost, Professor, and Director

Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute and Chair

Department of Cell & Neurobiology

Keck School of Medicine

University of Southern California

Seminar Title: The Neurobiology of Social Behavior Development

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, LRDC

Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience