University of Pittsburgh

Department of Neuroscience

Past News, Events and Seminars

2008 Events and Seminars

Department of Neuroscience Seminar Series

December 3, 2008

Wednesday, 1:00 p.m.

A219 Langley Hall

Hans-Rudolph Berthoud, Ph.D.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Louisiana State University

Seminar Title:  TBD

More Info »

Department of Neuroscience Seminar Series

November 25, 2008

Wednesday, Noon

A219B Langley Hall

Stefano Vicini, Ph.D.
Professor Department of Physiology and Biophysics
Georgetown University Medical School

Seminar Title: Tonic GABA-Activated channels controls striatal output neurons

More Info »

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense: Shawn E. Kotermanski

November 24, 2008 2:00 p.m.

Center for Neuroscience - School of Arts and Sciences/Neuroscience
University of Pittsburgh

Seminar Title: Mechanism of block and behavioral effects of the NMDA receptor antagonists memantine and ketamine

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Pitt's Annual Nordenberg Lecture in Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry, November 20, 2008, to Focus on Issues Arising From Advances in Science

Stanford professor to deliver noon lecture titled “The Social Consequences of Advances in Neuroscience: Legal Problems, Legal Perspectives”

Henry T. “Hank” Greely, Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law in Stanford University Law School, will deliver the annual Mark A. Nordenberg Lecture in Law, Medicine, and Psychiatry

Noon Nov. 20, 2008 in the University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Building's Teplitz Memorial Courtroom, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

For additional information, see the University of Pittsburgh press release.

Pitt Research Identifies New Target in Brain for Treating Schizophrenia

November 10, 2008, the University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Chronicle:

A study published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences shows that orbitofrontal cortex responds to current and experimental antipsychotic drugs.

Research from the University of Pittsburgh could expand the options for controlling schizophrenia by identifying a brain region that responds to more than one type of antipsychotic drug. The findings illustrate for the first time that the orbitofrontal cortex could be a promising target for developing future antipsychotic drugs-even those that have very different mechanisms of action. The study was published during the week of Nov. 12 in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, with a print version here.

Dr. Bita Moghaddam, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences and the paper's lead author, found that schizophrenia-like activity in the orbitofrontal cortex-a brain region responsible for cognitive activity such as decision making-could be triggered by the two different neurotransmitters linked to schizophrenia: dopamine and glutamate. Brain activity was then normalized both by established antipsychotic medications that regulate only dopamine and by experimental treatments that specifically target glutamate.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar Series

October 29, 2008

Wednesday, 1:00 p.m.

A219 Langley Hall

Patricio O’Donnell, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Seminar Title: Periadolescent maturation of dopamine actions in the prefrontal cortex in normal rats and in developmental models of schizophreniza

More Info »

Society for Neuroscience:  Neuroscience 2008

November 15-19, 2008

Washington, D.C.

At the 38th annual meeting scientists will congregate from around the world to exchange ideas and information addressing the diverse field of neuroscience through lectures, symposia, and workshops.

Neuroscience 2008 website.

University of Pittsburgh :  Homecoming Weekend Festivities

October 23-26, 2008

University of Pittsburgh campus

2008 Family Weekend

Join the School of Arts and Sciences for an open house and reception with light refreshments. Arts and Sciences faculty, assistant deans, academic advisors,and staff will be on hand to welcome students and families from 3–5 p.m. in Room B4 of Thaw Hall.


Welcome Back Reception  

To kick off a weekend of fun festivities, the Pitt Alumni Association is hosting a welcome reception for all Pitt alumni on Friday, October 23, 2008, 6–8:30 p.m. in the Commons Room of the Cathedral of Learning.  The event will conclude with a fantastic laser and fireworks display at 9:30 pm on Bigelow Boulevard between the William Pitt Union and the Cathedral of Learning.

Football Game

The Pitt Panthers host the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers at noon, Saturday, October 24, 2008, at Heinz Field. 

For additional information on all activities scheduled visit the Family Weekend 08 and the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association website.

Department of Neuroscience

Oct 14 2008 1:00 p.m.

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Marc A. Sommer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Department of Neuroscience
University of Pittsburgh

Seminar Title: Circuits for cognition in the primate brain

More Info »

Science 2008: Scanning the brain

From the University Times, Volume 41, Number 4, October 9, 2008

Julie A. Fiez, Pitt associate professor of psychology and of neuroscience, was one of three featured speakers on October 3rd, 2008.

“Can Functional Brain Imaging Be Used to Inform Educational Practice?”

Fiez focused on the link between neuroscience and education, based on her brain-imaging research. “In pursuing this research, what struck me is how enthusiastic teachers were about this connection,” she said. “At the same time, many of them seemed very naive and not necessarily in line with current thinking in neuroscience.”

Science 2008:  On Our Watch

The University of Pittsburgh's eighth annual celebration of science and technology.

October 2-3, 2008

Alumni Hall

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA  15260


Also featured will be symposium sessions; exhibits; poster sessions; a career development workshop; science-as-art gallery; networking opportunities, including the always popular technology showcase, supplier show and responsible conduct of research workshop.

For more information: Science2008.

22nd Annual CNUP Retreat

The Center for Neuroscience

September 19–21, 2008
Oglebay Resort & Conference Center, West Virginia


To register, please email Patti Argenzio.

Healthy Minds Across America

A national day of free public forums on the progress and promise of mental health research. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008, 1–4 p.m.

Presented by NARSAD, The World's Leading Charity Dedicated to Mental Health Research and in partnership with the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.

Frick Fine Arts Bldg. Auditorium

650 Schenley Drive

Pittsburgh, PA  15260




Free and open to the public.  Please RSVP to email

Download a poster for Healthy Minds Across America.

2008 CINP-Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award

From the University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Chronicle, July 21, 2008:

Anthony Grace, a professor of neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology in Pitt’s Department of Neuroscience, received the 2008 CINP-Lilly Neuroscience Basic Research Award for his research into the biological bases of psychiatric disorders.

The award is presented by the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to a researcher younger than 55 who has made significant contributions to the understanding of the nervous system. Grace accepted the award July 13 in Munich at CINP’s 26th congress. CINP is the world’s sole global organization dedicated to neuropsychopharmacology.

The CINP-Lilly award acknowledges Grace’s work to determine the modes of action of psychiatric drugs by creating models of neuron activity that expose the biological and chemical roots of mental disorders. The award pertains in particular to his research into the neurobiology of schizophrenia and the resulting interplay between medication and the brain’s neurotransmitters.

School of Arts and Sciences Snapshot Newsletter

June, 2008

Nathan Urban, University of Pittsburgh Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh alumni, and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University is featured in the June 2008 issue of the School of Arts and Sciences Snapshot Newsletter for his research on scent sensations. 


Faculty elected to Senate committees

From the University Times, Volume 40, Number 18, May 15, 2008

Winners of seats on the 15 University Senate standing committees were announced this week. Voting by members of Faculty Assembly for the three open positions on each committee concluded May 9.  Linda M. Rinaman, professor of neuroscience, was elected to the Benefits and Welfare Committee.

The Art of Mentoring

From the University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Chronicle, April 27, 2008:

Donald DeFranco, Professor of Pharmacology, Chemical Biology, and Neuroscience, was one of four members of the University of Pittsburgh faculty to receive the 2008 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, an honor that recognizes faculty for their mentoring of doctoral students. 

The awardees were selected from 31 nominations made by Pitt doctoral students and faculty.

Dr. DeFranco has made significant contributions to the graduate experience of all pharmacology students as the current graduate director. A number of projects in his laboratory are focused on examining the molecular basis of neuronal cell death. He has implemented a student journal club where students sponsor the presentation of a paper by the weekly invited visiting seminar speaker and later meet with the visiting scientist to discuss the paper. Throughout the past 23 years, DeFranco has advised 17 doctoral students and is currently advising three others. His students have been very successful in securing tenure-stream or postdoctoral positions at distinguished medical schools.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar Series

April 9, 2008

Wednesday, noon

A219 Langley Hall

Richard Palmiter, PhD

University of Washington

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Seminar Title: Dopamine: Roles in motivation, learning and reward

More Info »

Department of Neuroscience Seminar Series

March 26, 2008

Wednesday, noon

A219 Langley Hall

John Lisman, PhD

Brandeis University

Seminar Title: CaMKII and the molecular basis of synaptic memory

More Info »

Department of Neuroscience Seminar Series

March 5, 2008

Wednesday, noon

A219 Langley Hall

Leslie Ungerleider, PhD

National Institutes of Mental Health

More Info »

Doctoral Students without Borders

From the University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Chronicle, January 22, 2008

To train scientists of the future, Pitt rethinks what a graduate program in the life sciences should be....

PhD training in the Center for Neuroscience is highlighted in this article with quotes by Dr. Alan F. Sved, co-director of the CNUP and professor and chairman of the Department of Neuroscience, and Beth Siegler Retchless, doctoral student in the program.