Welcome Meghan Meyer!

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Meghan Meyer to the faculty.  Meghan completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University.  Meghan will be moving to Hanover in July, 2017 to assume her position as an assistant professor. 

Face recognition and law enforcement

Professor Brad Duchaine discusses research demonstrating substantial individual differences in the ability to recognize faces and the implications of this variation in the June 2015 edition of the American Psychological Association's monthly newsletter Psychological Science Agenda.

Heidi Meyer Predoctoral Research Award

Heidi Meyer recently received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.  This award is part of a family of grants provided by the United States National Institutes of Health for training researchers in the behavioral sciences and health sciences. They are a highly selective and very prestigious source of funding for doctoral and postdoctoral trainees. This award will allow Heidi to pursue research related to the mechanisms underlying the development of inhibitory behavior in rats. In particular, the experiments to be carried out under this award will incorporate viral mediated gene delivery systems (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs; DREADDs) as a mechanism for temporary modulation of targeted brain regions relevant to proactive inhibition. Additional experiments will also elucidate the behavioral factors that contribute to the delayed ability to withhold behavior observed during adolescence. Investigating the link between neurobiological and behavioral development may inform the identification and development of new treatments for addiction and neurodevelopmental disorders.

SOCIETY FOR SOCIAL NEUROSCIENCE INAUGURAL FELLOWS

The Society for Social Neuroscience is delighted to announce the inaugural class of S4SN Fellows. The Board of Directors selected 12 Fellows who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of social neurosciences over their careers. The 2015 class of S4SN Fellows are:

Human Models of social neuroscience

  • Antonio Damasio, University of Southern California
  • Todd F. Heatherton, Dartmouth College
  • John T. Cacioppo, The University of Chicago
  • Ralph Adolphs, California Institute of Technology
  • Jean Decety, The University of Chicago
  • Patricia K. Kuhl, University of Washington

Animal models of social neuroscience

  • Stephen J. Suomi, NIH/NICHD
  • Michael J. Meany, McGill University
  • Bruce S. McEwen, The Rockfeller University
  • C. Sue Carter, The Kinsey Institute & Indiana University
  • Larry J. Young, Emory University
  • Carmen Sandi, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Dartmouth PBS PhD Graduate Holds New Endowed Chair in Marketing

Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the Land O'Lakes Foundation announced September 3 it will invest $25 million in University of Minnesota academics and Gopher Athletics. This is one of the largest single corporate commitments in the University's history and the largest commitment ever made collectively by Land O'Lakes, Inc. and the Land O'Lakes Foundation.

As part of the landmark gift, the organization pledges $2.5 million to establish the endowed Land O' Lakes Chair in Marketing, a position to be held by Professor of Excellence in Marketing Kathleen Vohs. In 2000, Kathleen Vohs earned her PhD while working in Todd Heatherton's Lab, Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences.

"Today's announcement underscores our commitment to educational excellence and further strengthens our investment in the pipeline of talent from the University of Minnesota," says Christopher Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and Carlson School of Management Board of Overseers member.

Alessandro Pizzo wins Neuroscience Fellowship

The Society for Neuroscience Professional Development Committee has selected Alessandro Pizzo as a Neuroscience Scholars Program (NSP) Fellow.  Alessandro is currently a graduate student in Professor David Bucci’s laboratory.  As an NSP Fellow, Alessandro joins 14 other graduate trainees from across the country who will participate in  career development and networking opportunities to promote their future success.  Fellows will be paired with a mentoring team consisting of a senior mentor, a peer mentor, and a seasoned neuroscientist to discuss  the fellow’s research, career plans, and overall experience.  As part of the program, each Fellow also receives two years of complimentary SfN membership and waived abstract submission fees as well as a travel award to attend the SfN annual meeting for two years.  Enrichment funds are also provide up to $1,500 to support allowed professional development activities for two years.  Funding for this program has been supported by  the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for over 30 years.

NEW STUDY POINTS TO A BRAIN REGION KEY TO CONTEXTUAL MEMORIES

An important aspect of memory is the ability to recall the physical place, or context, in which an event occurred. For example, in recalling emotionally charged events such as the September 11 terror attacks or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we remember not only the event but also where we were when it happened. Indeed, in discussing such events with others, we often ask, “Where were you when … ?” Processing “where” information is also important for mundane events such as remembering where you parked your car.

Travis Todd Postdoctoral Fellowship Award

Dr. Travis Todd, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Professor David Bucci’s laboratory, has received a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.  Dr. Todd’s grant, entitled “Cortico-hippocampal Contributions to Context and Extinction Learning,” will focus on how a part of the brain known as the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is involved in forming memories about fear-provoking stimuli.  Importantly, this work will also emphasize the neural substrates of fear extinction, an animal model of cue-exposure therapy in humans.  This research will provide a deeper understanding of cue-exposure therapy, a commonly employed therapy used to treat a variety of human disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD, anxiety related disorders, phobias). Further, by investigating a brain region (the retrosplenial cortex) that is known to be compromised in human disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, the proposed experiments may inform clinical practice and treatments for these disorders.

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