PBS Student Wins Award at Graduate Poster Session

Jin Hyung Cheong from the Chang Lab in PBS was one of five students to receive an award for his poster at the annual Dartmouth Graduate Poster Session.  In all, 57 graduate students shared their work at the session.  Read more about Jin's research and the other poster session winners in the full article at the Dartmouth News site, Graduate Poster Session Celebrates Students' Research.

PBS Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Congratulations to PBS graduate students Nicole DeAngeli and Sarah Herald who both received 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards.  Nicole is a PhD candidate in Professor David Bucci's lab and her research focuses on the role of the retrosplenial cortex and postrinal cortex in learning and memory.  Sarah is a PhD candidate in Professor Brad Duchaine's lab and her research focuses on higher-level vision and social perception.  Of the 2,000 NSF Fellowships awards for 2017, three went to Dartmouth students.

Read more about the fellowship program and Nicole and Sarah in the feature by the Dartmouth School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, Three Dartmouth Graduate NSF GRFP Recipients.

Why ‘Don’t Even Start’ Doesn’t Work With Teenagers

Researcher David Bucci flips the neural switches to replicate an “adolescent brain.”

January 10, 2017 by Bill Platt
Originally published in the Dartmouth News.

As parents of a teenager can tell you, adolescents don’t always think about risks before they act, whether it is venturing onto thin ice on a dare or spending the weekend watching an entire Star Wars marathon before starting a project that’s due Monday.

For many years psychologists and researchers have observed this behavior and linked it to data showing that the part of the brain that regulates impulsivity—the prefrontal cortex—is not yet fully developed in adolescents, while the deeper reward-seeking part of the brain, called the nucleus accumbens, develops more rapidly, leaving teens with less control over impulses.

Now Dartmouth researchers have identified and altered the precise neural circuits that control reward-seeking impulses and risk-assessment controls, effectively flipping the switches to create an “adolescent brain” in adult rats.

Do we have free will?

Professor Thalia Wheatley and Professor Peter Tse tackle this question in an episode of Closer to Truth, a program that airs on many PBS stations.  The episode is one in a series entitled Big Questions in Free Will.  Interviews with Professor Wheatley and Professor Tse highlight their research in this interesting field of study, including a clip of Professor Wheatley performing an experiment involving hypnosis.  The full episode is also available on YouTube.

Alireza Soltani Wins the Best Poster Award

A recent work from the Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (CCNL), led by Alireza Soltani, has won the Best Poster Award during the 2016 Society for Neuroeconomics annual meeting in Berlin. The work, titled “Contributions of neural adaptation to value-based and perceptual choice,” is focused on understanding how neural adaptations at different timescales affect choice behavior. 

State-of-the-Art fMRI Brain Scanner Arrives at Dartmouth

August 29,2018 by Joseph Blumberg

Researchers are welcoming the arrival of a new fMRI scanner, the latest in a series of scanners dating back to 1999, when the Dartmouth became the first liberal arts college in the nation to own and operate a functional magnetic resonance imaging device strictly for research purposes.

The new scanner, weighing more than 26,000 pounds, was lowered into its bay beneath Moore Hall last month, in the home of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS).

“This is a big deal,” says James Haxby, the Evans Family Distinguished Professor and director of both the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Brain Imaging Center. “We are extremely excited about getting this new scanner. It will be in use seven days a week, from early morning to late at night.”

Dartmouth-Led Research on How Attention Works in the Brain Receives NSF Award

A collaborative research project on the neural basis of attention, to be led by Peter Ulric Tse, professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth, has been awarded $6 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project will strive to unravel how attention works in the brain. 

The project establishes a consortium of 14 neuroscientists from four universities: Dartmouth College and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, N.H.; Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont.; Brown University in Providence, R.I.; and the University of Nevada, Reno.

Researchers will aim to develop a greater understanding of focused attention, which is critical to countless daily tasks, from operating machinery to maintaining safety in high security settings. The goal of the project is to develop a unified model of attention that applies across multiple domains, from single cells to large brain circuits.

David Bucci Named to Endowed Chair

Every year Dartmouth names a few of its top faculty to endowed professorships, recognizing their scholarship, teaching, and service to the College community as models of Dartmouth’s liberal arts ideal.  This year, six members of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences have been appointed to endowed chairs, including David Bucci, Chair of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.  Professor Bucci now holds the Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professorship in Psychological and Brain Sciences and Human Relations.

Rapuano awarded NSF GROW Fellowship

Kristina Rapuano, a PBS graduate student, was recently awarded a Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) fellowship from the National Science Foundation to conduct research with Morten Kringelbach at Aarhus University in Denmark.  The fellowship is awarded to active recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program to enhance professional development through research at world-leading science institutions overseas.  Kristina’s research interest focuses on how the brain transforms sensory information from the external world into mental representations of hedonic pleasure.  She recently co-authored a commentary in the journal Brain (Kringelbach & Rapuano, 2016) highlighting the need to explore the temporal dynamics of brain network activity to better understand the neurobiology of reward and hedonic processing.  Her fellowship at Aarhus University with Dr. Kringelbach will afford Kristina an opportunity to apply her theoretical ideas in ways not possible at Dartmouth College.

Carolyn Parkinson is 2016 Hannah T. Croasdale Award recipient

Carolyn Parkinson, who completed her PhD with Thalia Wheatley this past year, has been selected as this year's recipient of the Hannah T. Croasdale Award.  This award is made to a graduating PhD student at Dartmouth who “best exemplifies the qualities of a scholar, possessing intellectual curiosity, a dedicated commitment to the pursuit of new knowledge, a strong interest in teaching, and a sense of social responsibility to the academic community.”