News & Announcements

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

Podos and Remage-Healey publish Nature paper on swamp sparrows

A team of researchers including Jeffrey Podos, Biology, and Luke Remage-Healey, Psychological & Brain Sciences, reported in Nature the discovery in the forebrain HVC of sensorimotor “bridge” neurons in swamp sparrows that simultaneously and selectively represent two critical learning-related schemas: the bird’s own song, and the specific tutor model from which that song was copied. Read More: Nature

NSB Graduate Student, Daniel Vahaba, Publishes Findings in eNeuro

Daniel Vahaba

NSB doctoral candidate Dan Vahaba recently published a paper in the open-access journal eNeuro titled, "Sensory Coding and Sensitivity to Local Estrogens Shift during Critical Period Milestones in the Auditory Cortex of Male Songbirds". Dan's work, co-authored by fellow NSB grad student Matheus Macedo-Lima, reveals an age-dependent shift in auditory processing and lateralized sensitivity to neuroestrogens that tracks vocal learning milestones in developing songbirds. Read More

LSGRC 7th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium, Friday, November 17!

LSGRC 7th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

The 7th annual UMass Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium will be held on Friday, November 17. The event brings together graduate students from all areas of life sciences research at UMass to present their work in both talks (9:00am - 5:00pm, Life Sciences Laboratories Building, Room S340) and a poster session/lunch (12:30pm - 2:00 pm). This event is open to everyone who wants to learn about the fantastic life sciences work going on at UMass! The schedule for presentations is available on the LSGRC facebook page.

UMass Amherst Neuroscientists Receive $2.36 Million Grant to Improve Brain Research Tools

photo of Rosie Cowell and Dave Huber

Cognitive neuroscientists Rosie Cowell and David Huber at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a four-year, $2.36 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new computational tool that will help researchers in interpreting functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) of the brain and improve accuracy in relating fMRI data to neural responses in the brain.   (Read more)

Bekki Spencer Receives $2.64 Million from NIH for Preschooler Sleep Study

photo of rebecca spencer

Neuroscientist Rebecca Spencer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a five-year, $2.64 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore, in a series of laboratory and preschool-based studies, whether mid-day napping benefits learning in young children and helps them cope with emotions. Improving early education can enhance child development and school readiness, factors that are known to have lifelong effects on physical and mental health, she notes. Read more...

Chaia Flegenheimer Awarded CRF Dissertation Fellowship

Chaia, a fourth year doctoral student in the NSB Program, is the recipient of a $10,000 Dissertation Fellowship. Chaia studies, with the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Jennifer McDermott, the development of attention systems and its relationship to social cues in typically and atypically developing populations. Over the next year Chaia's work will explore the behavioral and neural effects of implicit stereotype threat on task performance and engagement in young women, and the protective impact of the Stereotype Inoculation Model (SIM). Chaia hopes her work will help researchers and educators better understand the extent to which the SIM can protect against stereotype threat effects, and help implement it to lessen gender disparities in STEM fields.

Agnes Lacreuse wins $443,755 award from NIH

photo of Agnes Lacreuse

Agnes Lacreuse, Associate Professor in the Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program, recently received an R21 award from the National Institutes of Health to develop a primate model for menopausal symptoms. The title of the award is "Sleep, hot flashes and cognition: a non-human primate model for menopausal symptoms." The award is for $443,755 covering the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

Li Awarded $1.6 Million NIH Grant to Study Inner Ear Signal Processing

Geng-Lin Li, biology, recently was awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to study auditory signal processing in the inner ear. His findings will expand basic understanding of hearing and could lead to better hearing protection. He says, “Our inner ear can process sensory signals with remarkable precision, but it comes with the cost of vulnerability, making it very easily damaged by noise and by aging. As we advance our basic understanding of hearing and satisfy our curiosity, new approaches could arise, allowing us to design better protection for people who work in a noisy environment.” (Read more...)

Janna Mantua receives award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Photo of Janna Mantua

Janna Mantua has received an award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that will fund her post-doctoral fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Janna will be studying how sleep and traumatic brain injury (i.e., concussions) interact to impact emotional resilience and readiness in military and civilian populations. 

Plastics Compound BPS Alters Mouse Moms’ Behavior and Brain Regions--UMass Amherst Study Finds Impaired Behavior in Pregnant and Lactating Mice

In the first study of its kind, environmental health scientist Laura Vandenberg and neuroscientist Mary Catanese at the University of Massachusetts Amherst examined the effects of the compound bisphenol S (BPS) on maternal behavior and related brain regions in mice. They found subtle but striking behavior changes in nesting mothers exposed during pregnancy and lactation and in their daughters exposed in utero. Read more...