University of Pittsburgh

Department of Neuroscience

Current News, Events and Seminars

2011 Events and Seminars

Department of Neuroscience Seminar

December 15, 2011

Thursday, 9:30 am

Cyriel Pennartz, Ph.D.
Faculty of Science, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences
University of Amsterdam

Seminar Title: Orbitofrontal mechanisms for learning and decision-making
Location: A219B Langley Hall
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

PhD Dissertation Defense: Nelson Totah

December 14, 2011

Wednesday, 9:30 am

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Title: Prefrontal control of attention and modulation by the ventral tegmental area

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar

December 13, 2011

Tuesday, Noon

Stephen D. Meriney , Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience

University of Pittsburgh

Seminar Title: Functional Organization of the NMJ Transmitter Release Site and the Treatment of Neuromuscular Disease
Location: A219B Langley Hall
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar

November 28, 2011

Monday, 4:00 pm

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Barry Waterhouse, Ph.D.

Title: Making better scientists through chemistry: norepinephrine, psychostiumlants, and cognitive enhancement?

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

PhD Dissertation Defense: Witold Lipski

November 28, 2011

Monday, 11:00 am

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Title: TBA

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

 

Neuroscience 2011

SfN Annual Meeting

November 12-16, 2011

Washington, DC

 

Neuroscience Reunion Reception

Monday, November 14, 2011

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel

14th and K Streets, NW

Washington, DC

Sponsor: Department of Neuroscience, Department of Neurobiology,

CNBC, and CNUP

 

HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY TO US!

It was on October 20, 1986 that the Department of Neuroscience was formed. On this day we recognize staff, Barbara Cohen and Frank Valentich, who join faculty German Barrionuevo, Anthony Grace, Edward Stricker, and David Wood as original members of the department.

Pictured: Edward Stricker, David Wood, German Barrionuevo and Anthony Grace

 

 
 
 
NextGen: Science 2011:

October 6-7, 2011

Thursday, 8:00 a.m.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

September 19, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Yan Dong, M.Sc., PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Program of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Washington State University

Seminar Title: Cocaine-Induced Synaptic Re-Organization: a Rejuvenation Hypothesis

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

Tenure-Track Faculty Positions
Department of Neuroscience, School of Arts and Sciences

Applications are invited for tenure-track positions at the level of Assistant Professor starting September, 2012, pending budgetary approval.  Individuals whose research is in the area of molecular and cellular neuroscience are especially encouraged to apply, though other areas will be considered as well.  Collegial interactions and collaborative research are widespread within the Department of Neuroscience (http://www.neuroscience.pitt.edu/), and across the extensive neuroscience community found in Pittsburgh.  Our integrative research environment is exemplified by the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (http://cnup.neurobio.pitt.edu/) and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/), which bridge the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.  The successful candidate will be expected to establish an independent research program and participate in teaching neuroscience to undergraduate and graduate students. 

            Applicants should send electronic copies of curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research accomplishments and goals, and the names and contact information for three references, via email to: nrosci1@pitt.edu.  For full consideration, application materials must be received by October 1, 2011. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled. The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.  Women and members of minority groups under-represented in academia are especially encouraged to apply. 

Building a Better Antipsychotic Drug by Treating Schizophrenia's Cause

As reported by a University press release on August 23, 2011, Dr. Anthony A. Grace, Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and professor of psychology in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychiatry in the Pitt School of Medicine, is the senior author of a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience. The paper reports "progress in understanding how drugs act on dopamine-producing neurons; could enable them to create more targeted treatments". Co-authors are postdoctoral associate Kathyrn Gill and former postdoctoral associates Pierangelo Cifelli and Ornella Valenti.

This study is also featured in the Pitt Chronicle, September 6, 2011.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar

September 19, 2011

Monday, 9:30 am

Location: 219B Langley Hall

Yan Dong, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Program of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Washington State University

Candidate for Faculty Position, Department of Neuroscience

Title: Cocaine-Induced Synaptic Re-Organization: a Rejuvenation Hypothesis

M.S. Defense: Janani Subramanian

August 12, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Location: A219B Langley Hall

Title: Object Selectivity in Dorsal Visual Stream

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

PhD Dissertation Defense: Allison A. Curley

August 5, 2011

Friday, 9:30 am

Location: S100A Biomedical Science Tower

Title: Cortical Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase 67 Expression in Schizophrenia: Defining the Deficit

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar

August 4, 201

Thursday, 4:00 pm

Location: 2nd Floor Auditorium, Learning Research Development Center

Schahram Akbarian MD. PhD

University of Massachusetts Schoool of Medicine

Seminar Title: Epigenetic Signatures in Autism - A Study on Histone Methylation Landscapes in Developing and Diseased Prefrontal Neurons

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

Grant Awarded to Dr. Pauline Belujon

On July 15, 2011, Dr. Pauline Belujon, a Research Assistant Professor with Dr. Anthony Grace, was awarded funding from NARSAD, The Brain amd Behavior Research Fund. The 2010 NARSAD Young Investigator Award is for a project entitled Deep Brain Stimulation of the mPFC and Ketamine Work in Similar Manners to Restore Limbic System Balance in an Animal Model of Stress-Induced Depression. This study focuses on the mechanisms underlying both deep brain stimulation in the medial prefrontal cortex and ketamine administration in the treatment of depression. Such studies will provide important insight into the development of novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of affective disorders.

Pitt Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience Edward M. Stricker Named University Honors College Dean, Effective July 1

The Department of Neuroscience is very pleased to report that Dr. Ed Stricker has been announced as the Dean of the University Honors College.

As reported by Pitt's News on May 16, 2011, Dr. Stricker " a renowned neuroscience scholar and educator who currently serves as Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neuroscience and who, throughout his career at the University, has been known for his commitment to instilling in students his appreciation of and enthusiasm for the development of the life of the mind—has been named dean of Pitt’s University Honors College (UHC). His appointment is effective July 1, 2011".

As noted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 17, 2011, Dr. Stricker succeeds Dean Alec Stewart who passed away in 2010. Chancellor Mark Nordenberg praised the career of Dr. Stricker calling him "a renowned neuroscience scholar and educator who is dedicated to fostering in students appreciation of and enthusiasm for intellectual pursuits".

PhD Dissertation Defense: Ranmal Samarasinghe

June 15, 2011

Wednesday, 11:15 am

1095 Biomedical Science Tower

Title:Neo-Classical Glucocorticoid Receptor Action Regulates Gap Junction Intercellular Communication and Neural Progenitor Cell Proliferation
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

June 14, 2011

Tuesday, 4:00 pm

A224 Langley Hall

Stephen Hammes, PhD

University of Rochester

Seminar Title: Novel Mechanisms of Androgen Signaling: What can a Frog's Ovary tell us about a Man's Prostate"

PhD Dissertation Defense: Kristen Stedenfeld

June 7 , 2011

Tuesday, 10:00 am

A219B Langley Hall

Title: Preclinical Evidence for the Efficacy of Angiotensin Receptor Antagonism in a Rodent Model of Vulnerability to Comorbid Deression and Cardiovascular Disease
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

June 6, 2011

Monday, 4:00 pm

A219B Langley Hall

Randall R. Sakai, PhD

University of Cincinnati

Seminar Title: Can Stress Make you Fat?

Probing the Brain Power of Pitt Neuroscience - May 23, 2011

As reported in the Pitt Chronicle on May 23, 2011, "

University of Pittsburgh neuroscience faculty work to unlock the brain’s remaining secrets, attracting considerable research support to the University, primarily from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)".

Pictured: Dr. Susan Amara and Dr. Alan Sved

 

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

May 20, 2011

Friday, 3:00 pm

A224 Langley Hall

Terrence Stanford, PhD

Wake Forest University

Seminar Title: Monkey See, (Monkey Decide), Monkey Do: Probing the Timecourse of Perceptual Decision and Motor Choice

PhD Dissertation Defense: SooYoon Shin

May 20, 2011

Friday, 10:00 am

2nd Floor Auditorium, LRDC

Title: Role of the Primate Basal Ganglia in Eye Movements
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

PhD Dissertation Defense: Paul Middlebrooks

May 18, 2011

Wednesday, 10:00 am

2nd Floor Auditorium, LRDC

Title: Neuronal Correlates of Metacognition in Frontal Cortex
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

May 17, 2011

Tuesday, 4:00 pm

A219B Langley Hall

Stefan Everling, PhD

University of Western Ontario

Seminar Title: Neural Control of the Superior Colliculus by the Prefrontal Cortex

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

May 6, 2011

Friday, 10:00 am

A219B Langley Hall

Carlos Lois, PhD

University of Massachusetts

Seminar Title:  Synapse Formation During Assembly of Brain Circuits

PhD Dissertation Defense: Daniel Jimenez

May 5, 2011

Thursday, 9:00 am

A219B Langley Hall

Title: Cognitive Activity-Dependent Survival and Integration of Adult-Born Neurons in the Mouse Olfactory Bulb 
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

PhD Dissertation Defense: Sashi Marella

May 2, 2011

Monday, 1:00 pm

A219B Langley Hall

Title: Stochastic Synchrony and Phase Resetting Curves: Theory and Applications
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

May 2, 2011

Monday, 10:00 am

A219B Langley Hall

Xiao-Jing Wang, PhD

Yale University

Seminar Title: Dynamics and Computations of a "Cognitive-Type" Neural Circuit

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

April 19, 2011

Tuesday, 4:00 pm

A219B Langley Hall

Rae Silver, PhD

Department of Psychology

Barnard College of Columbia University

Seminar Title: Studies of Plasticity in Neurons, and Resilience and Robustness in Circuits of the Brain's Clock

Pitt Neuroscience Student Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship - April 4, 2011

Wen Xu, a University of Pittsburgh Honors College junior majoring in neuroscience in the School of Arts and Sciences, has been named a 2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship winner for her exceptional independent research. Xu, from McCandless Township, Allegheny County, Pa., plans to pursue an MD/PhD degree. Her career goals include conducting translational research related to neural plasticity and regeneration after injury. She is the 35th Pitt student to have won a Goldwater Scholarship since 1995.

See the full article from the Pitt Chronicle.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar: CANCELLED

April 4, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Shelly B. Flagel, PhD

University of Michigan

Seminar Title: Parsing the Neurobiological and Behavioral Processes Underlying Stimulus-Reward Learning

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

March 28, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Anne-Marie M. Oswald-Doiron, PhD

Carnegie Mellon University

Seminar Title: Interactions Between Synaptic Timescales and Behaviorally Relevant Cortical Rhythms

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

March 22, 2011

Tuesday, 10:00 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Barry Setlow, PhD

McKnight Brain Institute

University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL

Seminar Title: Drugs of Abuse and Decision-Making: Insights from Animal Models

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

PhD Dissertation Defense: David A. Sturman

March 21, 2011

Monday, 12:00 noon

A219B Langley Hall

Title: Neural Correlates of Adolescent Behavior
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

March 16, 2011

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Thomas Stalnaker, PhD

University of Maryland

Seminar Title: The Prefrontal Cortex and Mechanisms of Flexible Behavior

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

March 15, 2011

Tuesday, 4:00 p.m.

A219B Langley Hall

James A. Mazer, PhD

Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Seminar Title: Shifting Attention: Target-Dependent Tuning and Coordinate Systems for Spatial Attention

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

PhD Dissertation Defense: J. Patrick Mayo

March 15, 2011

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

2nd Floor Auditorium, LRDC

Title: Neuronal encoding of brief time intervals in the visual system
Sponsor: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

March 14, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Megan E. Williams, PhD

University of California, San Diego, CA

Seminar Title: Investigating the Molecular Basis of Synaptic Specificity in a Developing Neural Circuit

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

March 3, 2011

Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Dion K. Dickman, PhD

University of California, San Francisco, CA

Seminar Title: Dysbindin and the Molecular Mechanisms Controlling Homeostatic Synaptic Plasticity

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

Grant Awarded to Dr. Jon Johnson - March 1, 2011

Congratulations to Dr. Johnson who has been awarded an NIH R21 grant entitled, Role NR1/2C and NR1/2D NMDA Receptors in Cortex Function and Memantine Action. The research proposed focuses on how inhibition in the brain is controlled, and how memantine, a drug used to treat Alzheimer's disease, affects inhibition. Understanding how memantine helps patients with Alzheimer's disease may lead to the design of improved treatments.

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

February 28, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Wei Lu , PhD

University of California, San Francisco, CA

Seminar Title: Single-Cell Genetic Analysis of Glutamate Synaptic Receptors

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

February 21, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Jesse M. Gray, PhD

Harvard Medical School

Seminar Title: How Do Transcriptional Networks Rewire Neuronal Circuits?

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

February 16, 2011

Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Kevin J. Bender, PhD

Oregon Hearing Research Center and Vollum Institute

Oregon Health and Science University

Seminar Title: A Novel Role for Calcium in Neuronal Signaling

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

Department of Neuroscience Seminar:

February 7, 2011

Monday, 9:30 a.m.

A219B Langley Hall

Linnaea E. Ostroff , PhD

Center for Neural Science

New York University

Seminar Title: Structural Changes at Lateral Amygdala Synapses with Fear and Safety Learning

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

Dr. Moghaddam and co-author David Sturman, predoctoral student, are published in the Journal of Neuroscience - January 26, 2011

As reported by the University of Pittsburgh press release and the PittChronicle, Pitt Researchers Find Adolescent Brains Over-Process Rewards, Suggesting Root of Risky Behavior, Psychological Disorders.

Dr. Moghaddam and David Sturman, a predoctoral student (MD/Phd) in the lab, "observed the disparate reactions to reward in individual neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region that weighs payoff and punishment to plan and make decisions". This exciting research " could reveal the biological root of the teenage propensity to considerrewards over consequences and explain why adolescents are more vulnerable to drug addiction, behavioral disorders, and other psychological ills".

Alzheimer's Association Grant Awarded to Dr. Nadezhda Povysheva - January 1, 2011

Dr. Povysheva, a Research Assistant Professor in Dr. Jon Johnson's lab, received a 2010 New Investigator Research Grant from the Alzheimer's Association. Dr. Povysheva's research project, Somatostatin-Positive Interneurons as a Novel Target of Anti-Alzheimer Drugs, proposes to test whether memantine and other drugs may promote cellular activity in Alzheimer's by blocking the functions of inhibitory nerve cells called somatostatin-positive inhibitory interneurons.


Grant Awarded to Gil D. Hoftman - January 1, 2011

We congratulate Gil D. Hoftman, an MD/PhD student with Dr. David Lewis, who has been awarded an NIMH National Research Service Award entitled Developmental Trajectories of Prefrontal Cortical GABA Neurons and Schizophrenia.

Gil's four year project will examine the developmental trajectories of key components of prefrontal cortical circuitry that are sensitive to cannabis use and are altered in schizophrenia.