News & Announcements

Past news and announcements are shown below. Current news is shown on our homepage.

Amarylis Velez-Perez joins Office of Professional Development Advisory Board

Current NSB student Amarylis Velez-Perez has accepted an invitation to be part of a newly formed Office of Professional Development created by UMass Graduate School Dean John McCarthy.  She is one of the students in the advisory board 'representing' neuroscience graduate student interests and needs.

The UMass Amherst Graduate School has created the Office of  Professional Development to help train graduate students in portable skills that are essential for success regardless of discipline or line of work. The OPD also introduces students to a broad range of career options, both inside and outside the academy.

Daniel Vahaba paper published in Behavioural Brain Research

Current NSB student Daniel Vahaba had a paper accepted and published in the September 1st edition of the Behavioural Brain Research journal. 

Vahaba, DM, Lacey, WH, Tomaszycki ML (2013). "DSP-4, a noradrenergic neurotoxin, produces sex-specific effects on pairing and courtship behavior in zebra finches." Behavioural Brain Research 252C: 164-175.

Rosie Cowell a recipient of the Cermak Award

This summer, new NSB faculty member Rosie Cowell was awarded the "Cermak Award" by the Memory Disorders Research Society.   This award is for a post-doctoral researcher (which she was at the time of nomination) to travel to the MDRS meeting and give a short lecture. It comes with travel award of $500.  Congratulations to Rosie!

NSB faculty member Rebecca Spencer and NSB student Lauri Kurdziel featured in the September 2013 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Sleep Research Finds Daytime Naps Enhance Learning in Preschool Children

In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, research psychologist and NSB faculty member Rebecca Spencer, with student Kasey Duclos and current NSB student Laura Kurdziel, offer the first study results showing that classroom naps support learning in preschool children by enhancing memory. The findings have attracted international attention.

Lauri Kurdziel chosen for a Young Investigator Presentation

Current NSB student Lauri Kurdziel was chosen for a Young Investigator Presentation at the Pediatric Sleep Medicine Conference (November 2013).

The 14th annual symposium of the Center for Neuroendocrine Studies will be held Friday, October 25, 2013

The theme of this year's symposium is:

The Brain in Transition: Hormone Actions Throughout the Lifespan.

There is a superb lineup of speakers for this year's symposium, including Drs. Robert Denver, Steve McCormick, Cheryl Sisk, Alexander Kauffman, and Pauline Maki.  See: for more information.

In addition to speakers, there is a poster session forcontributed abstracts and five Career Development Workshops.  Topics in the past have included: Finding a Graduate Program and Mentor, Navigating the Funding Mechanisms of the NIH and NSF, Work/Life Balance, Jobs Outside the Academy, and Disseminating Your Research.

Symposium organizers:

Jason Breves, PhD

Mary K Holder, PhD

Ben Pawlisch, PhD

Luke Remage-Healey, PhD (CNS Faculty advisor)

To register, visit the web site at

3rd annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium 11/22/13

The 3rd annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium will be held on Friday, November 22nd, 2013 in the Campus Center. Oral  presentations will be held from 9:30am-4pm in Campus Center 101, followed by poster presentations on the 11th floor from 4:30-6pm.

The symposium showcases the diversity of graduate research in the life sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst. The symposium provides a diverse forum to present new data or to prepare research to be presented to a broader audience.

Current graduate students are invited to submit abstracts for a 15 minute talk or for a poster presentation.

Awards will be presented for best talk and best poster at the end of the symposium.

Please submit your abstract (no more than 200 words) to no later than 11:59pm on Monday September 30th.Please include 'ABSTRACT' and note your program affiliation in the subject line of the email and note whether the presentation is a talk 
or a poster.

Abstracts will be reviewed by October 7, and decisions emailed on October 8.

NSB Students Amanda Krentzel, Emily Manoogian and Amy Ryan Awarded 2014 Graduate Dissertation Research Grants

Current NSB students Amanda Kentzel, Emily Manoogian and Amy Ryan are recipients of 2014 Graduate Dissertation Grants awarded by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Graduate School.  These funds should assist Amanda, Emily and Amy in their research and progress towards their degrees.  Congratulations to Amanda, Emily and Amy!

Professor Jeffrey D. Blaustein a recipient of a 2013-2014 Samuel  F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Award

Jeffrey Blaustein, NSB Director and Professor in NSB and Psychology, is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Award.  The University of Massachusetts Amherst Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowship Awards consist of a cash award of $3,500 and a year's leave of absence to enable award recipients to concentrate on research, and scholarly or creative activity. Selection of the awardees was based on demonstrably outstanding accomplishments and potential for continued excellence in research and scholarly or creative activity. Congratulations to Jeff!

Jason Breves awarded a "Research Recognition Award" from the American Physiological Society

Jason Breves, postdoc and associate member of the NSB program, recently received word that he was awarded a "Research Recognition Award" from the American Physiological Society. 

The Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section Research Recognition Award recognizes meritorious research by young investigators who participate in the Experimental Biology Meeting. Candidates must have completed their Ph.D. within the past 10 years, be a member of APS, and must present a talk or poster at the 2013 EB Meeting. The subject matter can be any topic that deals with comparative and evolutionary physiology.  Jason will receive a $500 award plus reimbursement of the advanced registration fee for attending the 2013 Experimental Biology meeting in Boston. He will also be a guest of honor at the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology Section Dinner on Monday, April 22 in Boston.

Congratulations to Jason!