INSTITUTE NEUROSCIENCE GRADUATE PROGRAM TRAINEES (NGP)

GNTP Scholars 2023 Institute Neuroscience Graduate Trainees (NGP) 2023
Left to Right: Belle Krubitski, Tyler Sarovich, Andy Crider, Alina Dreps, and Tessa Dallo
GNTP Scholars 2022 Institute Neuroscience Graduate Trainees (NGP) 2022
Standing: Valorie Wiseman, Daniel Van Zant, Ty Roachford, & Claudia Alvarez/2021 sitting: Nahomie Brisseau, Brianna Saglimbeni, Kayleigh Biegler, Alejandra Quintero, & Luiza Sao Pedro Romero
GNTP Scholars 2021 Institute Neuroscience Graduate Trainees (GNTP) 2021
Right to left: Kylie Foster, Jennifer Giordano, Claudia Alvarez, Linda Petersen, Dr. Kate Guthrie, Dr. Randy Blakely, Gianna Cannestro, Bethany O'Donnellr
GNTP Scholars 2020 Institute Neuroscience Graduate Trainees (GNTP) 2020
Left to Right: Allison Walsh, Stephen Hoover, Madeline Martinez, Lindsey Pugh, and Claudius Osei
GNTP Scholars 2019 Institute Neuroscience Graduate Trainees (GNTP) 2019
Standing, Kori Citrin, Goksu Oz, Amanda Rojas, Amanda Rainey, Ryan Gallagher & Donald Holder; Kneeling 抖M女仆 Brain Institute - Dr. Randy Blakely, Executive Director, Dr. Kate Guthrie, Assistant Director for Educational Programs & Linda Petersen, GNTP Graduate Education Coordinator
GNTP Scholars 2018 Institute Neuroscience Graduate Trainees (GNTP) 2018
Standing: Yosun Yoon, Rachel St. Clair, Asal Nouri, Basak Kocaoglu, Alexandra Paz & Brian Escobar; Kneeling 抖M女仆 Brain Institute - Dr. Randy Blakely, Executive Director, Dr. Kate Guthrie, Assistant Director for Educational Programs, and Linda Petersen, GNTP Graduate Education Coordinator

INSTITUTE NEUROSCIENCE GRADUATE PROGRAM TRAINEES (NGP)

Andy Crider

Andy Crider

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2023
Mentor: Unassigned
Lab Rotation: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.
2nd Lab Rotation: Greg Macleod, Ph.D.
3rd Lab Rotation: Ning Quan, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
MS Neuroscience, Tulane University
BS Neuroscience/Cognitive-Computational, Ohio State University

鈥淢y goal is to improve the understanding of neurodegenerative disease progression by studying the brain's immune response. I obtained my undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Ohio State University, where I actively participated in research projects within Andy Fischer's lab, specifically focusing on retinal regeneration. During my time in the lab, I was deeply involved in projects centered around investigating cell fate changes and proliferation.

Furthermore, I successfully completed Tulane University's esteemed Neuroscience Master鈥檚 program. During my time there, I had the privilege of collaborating with Dr. Rebecca Solch-Ottaiano on her studies exploring the intricate relationship between diet, the resulting microbiome, and cognitive function as a way to identify risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

My interest in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) was sparked during my Master鈥檚 program at Tulane, as my advisors highly recommended it. The program further captured my attention due to its emphasis on students' growth through rotations and the vibrant collaborative environment fostered by the faculty and fellow students, as I experienced during my visit.鈥

Tessa Dallo

Tessa Dallo

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2023
Mentor: Unassigned
Lab Rotation: Greg Fields, Ph.D.
2nd Lab Rotation: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Biochemistry/Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

鈥淚 graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in Psychology. As an undergraduate and then as a post-baccalaureate, I worked as a research technologist in the labs of Drs. Anne Ruffing and Chuck Smallwood at Sandia National Laboratories. Here, I used genetic engineering and machine learning based approaches to study and develop energy efficient biofuels.

抖M女仆's NGP excited me because of the compelling research on its campuses, and I knew I wanted to join an interdisciplinary program with lab rotations. In particular, the NGP stood out for its highly collaborative campus located within a growing neuroscience hub. I am fascinated by studying the brain, one of the least understood organs. More specifically, I am motivated by the medical applications of neuroscience, researching therapeutic interventions for neurodegenerative diseases, and I hope to join a lab where I can pursue this mission.鈥

Alina Dreps

Alina Dreps

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2023
Mentor: Unassigned
Lab Rotation: Randy Blakely, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BA Biology/Spanish, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

鈥淎s an undergraduate, I majored in Biology and conducted research at Eckerd College. I worked with the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to study different compounds in their ability to ameliorate Alzheimer's pathology. I am particularly interested in studying neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Alzheimer's, and how factors such as diet and exercise influence the propagation of such diseases. My ultimate goal is to provide knowledge that could create new therapeutic outlets for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

I was attracted to the Ph.D. Neuroscience program at 抖M女仆 because of its multidisciplinary approach, the opportunity to collaborate with institutions such as Max Planck, and the unique resources available at this program.鈥

Belle Krubitski

Belle Krubitski

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2023
Mentor: Unassigned
Lab Rotation: Elan Barenholtz, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Cell & Molecular Neuroscience, Florida State University

"As an undergraduate, I majored in Cell and Molecular Neuroscience at Florida State University. During my time there, I assisted with several different research projects. The first project was looking into the effects that the parietal cortex and anterior thalamic nuclei have on connecting egocentric action to allocentric orientation toward a goal location in the environment. In the same lab, I assisted as well with looking at the coordination and memory of Alzheimer's versus sham rats. My interests include neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, sleep and memory, and machine learning.

I was attracted to the Ph.D. Neuroscience program at 抖M女仆 specifically for the outstanding faculty and cutting-edge research as well as collaboration with the Max Planck Institute. Additionally, I was also excited to have the ability to rotate and experience working in different labs and learning new techniques."

Tyler Sarovich

Tyler Sarovich

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2023
Mentor: Unassigned
Lab Rotation: Greg Macleod, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Kansas

鈥淚 received my BS in Behavioral Neuroscience from The University of Kansas. Throughout this time, I worked on a variety of projects relating to drug addiction and substance use disorder. Employing a wide range of neuroscience techniques such as whole brain imaging, microscopy, behavioral paradigms, and biochemical assays. My current research interest is centered on the molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, and Alzheimer鈥檚.

I was attracted to the NGP at 抖M女仆 because of its unique partnership with Max Planck as well as the ability to conduct research rotations during the first year."

KAYLEIGH BIEGLER

KAYLEIGH BIEGLER

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2022
Mentor: Patrick Grant, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Biology, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

"I am pursuing my research in Dr. Patrick Grant鈥檚 lab in the College of Medicine. Using yeast and human cells, I am investigating the epigenetic mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy in glioblastomas. As an Undergraduate, I majored in Molecular Biology with a minor in Marine Science and conducted research at Eckerd College and the University of Iowa. I used the model genetic organism, Caenorhabditis elegans, to investigate signal transduction and pathology. My interests ranged, including stem cell research, addiction, and diseases such as brain cancer, dementia, and strokes.

I was attracted to the Ph.D. Neuroscience Program because of their multidisciplinary approach. I rotated in labs with Dr. Randy D. Blakely, Dr. Andy Khamoui, and Dr. Patrick Grant. Since I am interested in several different branches of neuroscience, having this opportunity to have a lab rotation within each interest helped me find my specific path in neuroscience to focus my Ph.D. on. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with so many resources from several institutes, such as the Brain Institute and Max Planck."

ALEJANDRA QUINTERO

ALEJANDRA QUINTERO

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2022
Mentor: Julie Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Behavioral Neuroscience/Psychology, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL

"The lab rotations in the NGP allowed me to experience different types of research to secure the lab where I am currently pursuing my studies. Under the mentorship of Dr. Julie Pilitsis, I will be investigating neuromodulation interventions in patients with chronic pain conditions. During my first year I was also given the opportunity to rotate with Dr. Henriette van Praag and Dr. Carmen Varela.

As an undergraduate, I majored in Behavioral Neuroscience/Psychology at Nova Southeastern University. During this time, I worked on a research project aimed to investigate neural and behavioral differences in executive function between bilinguals and monolinguals as well as reveal the relationship between inhibition and linguistic balance. Recently, I have been particularly interested in understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms of neuromodulation interventions (e.g., spinal cord stimulation) in patients with chronic pain conditions and movement disorders.

I was attracted to the Ph.D. Neuroscience program not only because of its cross-disciplinary nature but also due to the unique two-way partnership between 抖M女仆 and Max Planck. Through NGP I look forward to collaborating across different areas of research and becoming involved in the numerous community outreach programs available through this institution."

TY ROACHFORD

TY ROACHFORD

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2022
Mentor: William Hahn, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Neuroscience & Behavior, 抖M女仆

"I gained a lot of experience in the lab rotations with Dr. Greg Macleod, Dr. Elan Barenholtz, Dr. William Hahn, and Dr. William Alexander in my first year in the NGP. At 抖M女仆 I intend to primarily study computational neuroscience, however I have great interest in experimental neuroscience methods.

Specifically, I have been investigating, and will continue to investigate, the idea that plasticity mechanisms in neurons are contingent on the level of "energy" (ATP/DP/MP) in the peripheral structures (axon/dendrites) of neurons. More generally, I am interested in Self-Organizing intelligent Ultra Low power technology. In other words, how to engineer and understand systems (biological/synthetic/mixed) which are able to organize themselves towards the achievement of a particular goal with as little power as possible.

The opportunity at 抖M女仆 for collaborations with Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI) in addition to 抖M女仆's strong multidisciplinary approach to neuroscience is what led me to pursue my graduate studies here. I greatly look forward to multidisciplinary collaborations in the future."

LUIZA SAO PEDRO ROMERO

LUIZA SAO PEDRO ROMERO

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2022
Mentor: Wen Shen, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Neuroscience & Behavior, 抖M女仆

"I was excited that I was able to experience three different labs in my rotations with Dr. Wen Shen, Dr. Jang (John) Wu, and Dr. Howard Prentice in my first year in the NGP. I am particularly interested in Neurophysiology, which studies the nervous system function. To be more specific, I am fascinated with studying synapses, which assist in neural communication, and neuroplasticity, concerning the change or reorganization of neural networks. I am also interested in the morphology of neurons, connecting their function to how they are structured. Currently, I am being mentored by Dr. Wen Shen while researching neurons in the mouse retina. Dr. Shen has been assisting me on using electrophysiology techniques, such as voltage clamp and patch-clamp, to study these retinal cells. My goal is to study the neural mechanism of a new subtype of neurons in the mouse retina that expresses the receptor tyrosine kinase by using Cre techniques and intravitreal injections of AAV-GFP to differentiate neuron morphology and different drugs to identify their function and synaptic activity.

I was attracted to the Ph.D. Neuroscience programs because of the ability to have lab rotations. I believe that with these rotations I will gain a lot of research experience and be able to learn new techniques that might assist in my research. In addition to that, I am excited to be part of the 抖M女仆 Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute community and participate in the growth of Neuroscience research. I hope you will consider being part of our program, and I am looking forward to the future neuroscientists that will join our community."

VALORIE WISEMAN

VALORIE WISEMAN

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2022
Mentor: Summer Sheremata, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Neuroscience & Behavior/Minor Psychology, 抖M女仆

鈥淯nder the mentorship of Dr. Summer Sheremata, I am researching human conscious awareness, visual short-term memory, and the correlations between them. I am interested in finding the influences vision, one of the oldest parts of the brain, has on the newer parts of the brain, such as the medial prefrontal regions, and vice versa. The goal of my research is to further scientific knowledge on human cognition, to contribute to the growing knowledge of human perception, and to find better therapies and treatments for those with cognitive and developmental disorders, ranging from Alzheimer鈥檚 disease to autism spectrum disorder. During my first year with the NGP I rotated in labs with Dr. Summer Sheremata, Dr. William Alexander, and Dr. Sammy Hong.

As I received my bachelor's degree from 抖M女仆, I already knew firsthand of the amazing opportunities 抖M女仆 offers. I was attracted to the Ph.D. Neuroscience program because of the close relationships between the Neuroscience Graduate Program, Herbert Wertheim Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute, and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. I chose the Neuroscience Graduate Program because of the interdisciplinary approach from the impressive list of the Brain Institute members."

DANIEL VAN ZANT

DANIEL VAN ZANT

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program NGP 2022
Mentor: Elan Barenholtz Ph.D. & William Hahn, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
BS Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

鈥淢y primary research interests are in understanding cognition using the human brain as a model system. I am especially interested in how complex cognitive processes can arise from simple interactions in arbitrary dynamic systems. I am working on using the paradigm of reservoir computing to shed some light on this. I am also working on a research grant to predict substance abuse trends by using machine learning on data scraped from online drug discussion forums.

During my first year, I was able to rotate with Dr. Barenholtz and Dr. Hahn, Dr. Dawei Li, and Dr. Behnaz Ghoraani. All of them are doing fascinating dry lab brain research which uses state of the art machine learning methods. Although my final choice of lab was Dr. Barenholtz and Dr. Hahn鈥檚 Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory (MPCR), I was glad to be able to make connections and learn some of the methods employed in multi-omics and biotechnology.

My favorite part of the NGP so far has been the many excellent events and networking opportunities. In addition to the events hosted by the Brain Institute I have also gotten the chance to attend many events through my affiliation with the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Center for Future Mind, Rubin and Cindy Gruber AI Sandbox, and the MPCR (all of which are hosted here at 抖M女仆). In the past year, I have gotten the chance to meet and learn from such great thinkers as Dr. Andre Fenton, Dr. Stephen Wolfram, and Dr. David Chalmers to name a few. 抖M女仆 also has an impressive network of complex systems and theoretical neuroscientists that are based right here at the university.鈥

CLAUDIA Alvarez

CLAUDIA ALVAREZ

Entered: Neuroscience Graduate Program 2022 (GNTP 2021)
Mentor: Henriette van Praag, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: The role of diet and exercise in modulation of adult neurogenesis, neuroinflammation and amyloid-beta pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer's Disease
claudiaalvar2021@fau.edu
BS Behavioral Neuroscience & Psychology, Randolph-Macon College

"I am investigating the role of diet and exercise in modulation of adult neurogenesis, neuroinflammation and amyloid-beta pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer鈥檚 Disease in Dr. Henriette van Praag鈥檚 lab. My particular interests include understanding the cellular mechanisms of oxidative stress that increase inflammatory markers in the brain and the potential mechanisms to reverse this damage and promote resiliency. In my undergraduate program, I worked in a research lab which used various mice models of stress to measure the effects on molecular markers of inflammation and resiliency, in the Hippocampus. I then found employment at Radius TBI of South Florida, where I was the Clinical Research Coordinator for an ongoing study on oculo-motor function as a non-invasive biomarker of mild cognitive impairment.

I was attracted to the Neuroscience program because of its multidisciplinary approach to the field of neuroscience. The structure of the program was very appealing, as it provides students with the opportunity to have a rotation within each of these approaches when making the decision of which PhD to further pursue."

INSTITUTE NEUROSCIENCE TRAINEES (GNTP)

GIANNA CANNESTRO

GIANNA CANNESTRO

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2021
GNTP Affiliate Program: Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Mentor: Jenny Wei, Ph.D.
gcannestro2015@fau.edu BS Biological Sciences, 抖M女仆
BA Health Sciences, 抖M女仆

Diversity in Science ~ Gianna earned the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship! This fellowship was created for students pursing doctorate degrees at Florida universities to build equity, diversity and inclusion for under representation of African American and Hispanic populations for those in pursuit of a career in research and teaching at a college or university level. This fellowship provides tuition up to $5,000 per year, and a $12,000 annual stipend.

"I am interested in studying haptic perception and pain and how they may alter and be altered by other brain activity. I have been working with 抖M女仆 faculty to present and publish work on somatosensation and it's confounds. In my first year with the GNTP I rotated in labs with Dr. Jenny Wei, Dr. Larry Toll, and Dr. Summer Sheremata, and will pursue my research in Dr. Emmanuelle Tognoli's lab. I am investigating how the sense of touch alters or is altered by other activities in the brain. By understanding the relationship between human touch perceptions and chronic pain. My goal is to further advance dynamic approaches to pain management. I chose the GNTP because of the Brain Institute's glowing reputation. Getting the chance to work alongside researchers from 抖M女仆 as well as Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute and Max Planck is a hard to pass up opportunity!"

GNTP Scholars 2021

KYLIE KEALOHA

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2021
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience
Mentor: Larry Toll, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
kyliefoster2021@fau.edu
BA Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, CA

"I am working on an experiment in Dr. Toll's lab testing a drug that is supposed to reduce drug self-administration in a food-choice paradigm. We are going to be analyzing these subjects' brains in many ways. As an undergraduate, I majored in Psychology and conducted research in Community Psychology and Neuropsychology at California State University, Long Beach. I am particularly interested in the epigenetics of families who experience generational cycles of substance abuse, specifically alcoholism. Although my research focus at 抖M女仆 will be the underlying biomechanisms of alcoholism, I believe in holistic solutions to issues which include both quantitative and qualitative investigation. My overall goal is to contribute to substance abuse prevention, intervention, and recovery. I rotated in labs with Dr. Lucia Carvelli, Dr. Robert Vertes, and Dr. Larry Toll, and will pursue my research in Dr. Toll's lab.

I was drawn to GTNP because there are a multitude of labs that emphasize interdisciplinary and collaborative research. I was also impressed by the level of involvement the Brain Institute has with the communities surrounding 抖M女仆. I came from an underserved area, and I am thankful that with GNTP, I will be in a position to help young students from similar communities."

GNTP Scholars 2021

JENNIFER GIORDANO

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2021
GNTP Affiliate Program: Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Mentor: William Hahn, Ph.D.
jgiordano2021@fau.edu
MA Psychology/Psychological Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
BA Psychology, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Jennifer in front of poster

"I received my BA in Psychology and MA in Psychological Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. During this time, I worked on a variety of research projects relating to traumatic brain injury and brain development using neuroimaging techniques, like EEG and fMRI. Recently, I have been interested in learning more about the aging process and the factors that influence neurodegenerative disease. I rotated in labs with Dr. Jenny Wei, Dr. Chad Forbes, and Dr. William Hahn, and will pursue my research in Dr. Hahn's lab. I was initially attracted to the GNTP because of its interdisciplinary approach and the opportunity to explore my research interests through lab rotations. The exceptional resources at 抖M女仆 combined with beautiful South Florida weather made the GNTP an easy choice!"

In this photo, I was presenting my lab's research during a poster session in 2019 at the Annual Conference for the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) that was held in Atlanta, Georgia.

GNTP Scholars 2021

BETHANY O'DONNELL

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2021
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience
Mentor: Erik Duboue, Ph.D.
bodonnell2021@fau.edu
BS Neuroscience/Environmental Biology Christopher Newport University, VA

"I obtained a dual Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Environmental Biology and have worked in multiple research settings in both fields. I worked in a neuroscience lab at CNU conducting research on learning and choice behavior in fish, have interned and volunteered with The MERR Institute in Delaware participating in marine life stranding and conservation research, rescue, and rehabilitation, and have even executed independent experiments in neuroeconomics and island biology. Having such a diverse background in research interests, I was drawn to the GNTP at 抖M女仆 for the unique ability to complete studies and research in similarly cross-sectional areas of neuroscience and ecology. Especially considering the strong partnerships 抖M女仆 has with Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute and Max Planck Institutes, the breadth of resources and opportunities to collaborate across fields far outweigh those of a typical graduate neuroscience program. During my first year I was in lab rotations with Dr. Erik Duboue's cavefish lab, and Dr. Salil Bidaye at MPFI. I will continue my research in Dr. Erik Duboue's lab."

GNTP Scholars 2021

STEPHEN HOOVER

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2020
Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Mentor: William Hahn, Ph.D. & Elan Barenholtz, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
shoover2016@fau.edu
BS Mathematics, 抖M女仆, Boca Raton, FL

Stephen is interested in computational neuroscience, specifically learning algorithms and artificial intelligence.

"I was attracted to the GNTP because of the freedom and resources to achieve my goals. My rotations were in the labs of Drs. William Alexander, William Hahn, Elan Barenholtz and with Dr. Sarah Stern @ Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI). Now that I've completed rotations, I am working on two projects. The first uses mathematics to predict and control the behavior of generally intelligent, artificial agents. The goal of this project is to use create constraints so that artificial intelligence (AI) systems are beneficial instead of dangerous. The problem I'm trying to solve has a wide range of applications in science and industry by making machine learning systems more reliable and safer to deploy. My second project uses computer vision and machine learning to increase the wellbeing of animals in a research setting while increasing efficacy of certain experiments that require animal subjects."

GNTP Scholars 2021

MADELINE MARTINEZ

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2020
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience
Mentor: Lawrence Toll, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
Neuroscience Student Organization Membership Coordinator
madelinemart2020@fau.edu
MS Neuroscience, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
BS Neuroscience & Cognitive Science emphasis Neurobiology, University of Arizona Madeline in the lab

"I am particularly interested in the neurobiological changes resulting from substance use, and the epigenetic component of addiction. I am currently working on generating a new transgenic rodent line that can be used to study the role of mu opioid receptors in addiction. My three lab rotations were in the labs of Drs. Lucia Carvelli, Ning Quan, and Lawrence Toll. The interdisciplinary and collaborate culture of the GNTP enticed me to apply, and I encourage you to as well!"

GNTP Scholars 2021

CLAUDIUS OSEI

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2020
GNTP Affiliate Program: Experimental Psychology
Mentor: Elan Barenholtz, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: In Pursuit of Perceptions: Priming Intervention during a Goal-Directed Behavioral Task
posei2020@fau.edu
BS Business Management & Real Estate, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Diversity in Science ~ From Football to Neuroscience Osei teaching

"As a former NFL football player, I am particularly interested in the cognitive interactions between brain and body that influence learning and executing goal-directed interceptive tasks. I use the theoretical framework of dynamical systems theory to explore the interactions between the nervous system鈥檚 top-down attentional mechanism and bottom-up exploratory behaviors that converge to the higher-level goal state. Specifically, I investigate the visual system鈥檚 invariant states that specify the most relevant environmental information to accelerate learning and improve performance during interceptive tasks. Ultimately, I intend to establish evidence-based training methods that efficiently and effectively improve learning outcomes for biological and artificial systems under the guidance of Dr. Elan Barenholtz. Osei football

Prior to starting my Ph.D. I spent 15 years as an athletic trainer and metabolic specialist, which inspired my passion for decision-making in complex environments such as athletic team competitions. During my first year I rotated in three labs with Drs. Elan Barenholtz, Carmen Varela, and Summer Sheremata. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the interdisciplinary approach to solving today's most pressing issues by consolidating psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. I am sure that the GNTP will foster your aspirations and provide you with the tools to impact your field of study."

GNTP Scholars 2021

LINDSEY PUGH

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2020
GNTP Affiliate Program: Experimental Psychology
Mentor: Dr. Alan Kersten
Thesis Topic: The Confidence-Accuracy Relationship in Eyewitness Testimony
President Neuroscience Student Organizaion
lpugh2020@fau.edu
BS Neuroscience, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA

"I am interested in metacognition, working memory, and emotion. My master's thesis looked at how emotionally charged objects (such as weapons) can affect the ability of viewers to remember certain aspects of an event. Currently, I am working on a follow up project to my thesis where we are adding a source component to investigate how source variability can affect the same memory components as my thesis investigated. I am also working on my comprehensive exams and formulating my dissertation project which will focus on the relationship between confidence and accuracy in terms of eyewitness testimony research in hopes to better understand how mistaken suspect identifications made by eyewitnesses to crimes can be avoided. My three lab rotations were in the labs of Drs. Summer Sheremata, Gizelle Anzures, and Alan Kersten. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the ability to rotate in labs and explore different interests along with the ability to collaborate with other labs on projects. This program is great because it allows you to experience lab atmospheres before choosing which lab to join. My interests changed drastically once I was exposed to research I hadn't originally considered!"

ALLISON WALSH

ALLISON WALSH

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2020
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience
Mentor: Randy D. Blakely, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: TBD
awalsh2020@fau.edu
Masters in Public Health MPH Environmental Health & Toxicology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
BS Animal Science & Marine Biology, Auburn University, AL

"My research interests in neuroscience are broadly-speaking, the interaction between our environment and health. My three GNTP lab rotations were in the labs of Drs. Erik Duboue, Randy Blakely, and Sarah Stern. I worked under Dr. Stern at MPFI for two semesters, investigating integrative circuits and complex behavior. The focus of our work was on the circuitry underlying feeding and its ability to be altered by environmental stimuli and stress. I moved to Dr. Blakely's lab in the spring 2022 semester to continue to pursue my research. As a neuroscience graduate student, I was attracted to the GNTP Ph.D. program at 抖M女仆 for the many opportunities it offers, such as the close working relationship to the first German Max Planck Institute in the US. The available resources have allowed me the chance to study neuroscience in multiple animal models with cutting-edge technologies, in a diverse and collaborative environment, while enjoying South Florida living."

GNTP Scholars 2021

KORI CITRIN

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2019
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience @ Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI)
Mentor: Yingxue Wang, Ph.D.
Thesis topic: Hippocampal Neuromodulatory Circuits
kcitrin2019@fau.edu
BS Psychology/Neuroscience, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT Kori Citrin lab

"I'm particularly interested in how and why the brain remembers certain events but not others. Under the guidance of Dr. Yingxue Wang at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), I am investigating the role of hippocampal neuromodulatory circuits in working memory. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the wealth of resources shared between 抖M女仆, MPFI, and Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute. This gave me the ability to work in three GNTP lab rotations on the Jupiter campus with Dr. Carmen Varela, Dr. Sathya Puthanveettil at Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute, and with my mentor Dr. Yingxue Wang at MPFI. While neuroscience is just one of many programs at other universities, at 抖M女仆 Jupiter campus, brain research is the focal point."

GNTP Scholars 2021

RYAN GALLAGHER

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2019
GNTP Affiliate Program: Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Mentor: William Alexander, Ph.D.
Thesis topic: Decision-Making and Cognitive Control
gallagherr2016@fau.edu
BS Neuroscience & Behavior/Biological Sciences, 抖M女仆, Boca Raton, FL Ryan Gallagher in lab

"I am particularly interested in value-based decision-making, reward processing and learning reinforcement. Currently under the tutelage of Dr. William Alexander, I am investigating how multiple informational cues are integrated to then be used in executing the appropriate behavior. I was attracted to the GNTP because of faculty and resources available that best allowed me to pursue my intellectual interests in lab rotations with Drs. Teresa Wilcox, Elan Barenholtz, and William Alexander. I hope you will consider joining our program!"

"I am working on fitting a computational model to data I had previously collected. The data was collected during a study that investigated learning rates and preferred sequencing of informational cues.

GNTP Scholars 2021

GOKSU OZ

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2019
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience @ Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI)
Mentor: Ryohei Yasuda, Ph.D.
Thesis topic: The Roles of PKM味 and the other PKC Isoforms in the Maintenance of Long Term Memory
goz2017@fau.edu
BA Psychology, 抖M女仆 Goksu Oz in MPFI lab

"I am interested in molecular basis of learning and memory. Currently under the tutelage of Dr. Ryohei Yasuda at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, I am investigating the compensatory role of PKC isoforms in the maintenance of long-term memory. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the unique training opportunity that it provides to the first year Ph.D. students not only at 抖M女仆, but also in globally known institutions like Max Planck and Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute. 抖M女仆 is a rapidly progressing public university, especially in the field of life sciences, and we have already started to see the impact of 抖M女仆 students and the alumni worldwide. I hope you will consider joining our GNTP team and contribute to this professional and supportive academic environment that the 抖M女仆 Brain Institute has created."

"In this lab photo, I am filling the tiny pores on the agarose gel to conduct gel electrophoresis, which is technique that is used to sort the molecules based on their size differences."

GNTP Scholars 2021

AMANDA ROJAS

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2019
GNTP Affiliate Program: Complex Systems and Brain Sciences
Mentor: Robert Vertes Ph.D.
Thesis topic: The role of the paratenial nucleus and reuniens nucleus of the midline thalamus in cognition and affect
arojas2016@fau.edu
BS Neuroscience & Behavior/Psychology, 抖M女仆, Boca Raton, FL Amanda Rojas in her lab

"I am particularly interested in the midline nuclei of the thalamus and the way they connect lower and higher order structures of the brain. Currently under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Vertes, I am investigating the role of the nucleus reuniens in cognitive tasks that are implicated in frontal lobe disorders, such as ADHD, schizophrenia, and addiction. Additionally, I have begun investigation of the paratenial nucleus of the dorsal midline thalamus, which is connected to notable structures like the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala. This is pioneering research as this nucleus has never been analyzed before. This preclinical research could point to these nuclei as possible areas of treatment in patients suffering from the aforementioned disorders. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the ability to rotate in labs with Drs. Henriette van Praag, Carmen Varela and my mentor Dr. Robert Vertes where I was able to gain new experiences, and integrate into the neuroscience community that 抖M女仆 has created with Max Plank. I hope you will consider joining our program." Amanda Rojas attending SfN2018

"In my lab photo, I'm conducting a chromogen reaction on brain tissue to visualize the spread of a DREADD (designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drugs) injection. This allows for the amplification of the fluorophore, and histology that is able to be appreciated by the naked eye."

"I attended and presented my research at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Conference that was held in San Diego, California in 2018; The highlight of my trip was meeting Dr. Trevor Robbins, University of Cambridge, when he came to my poster, and talked to me about my research!"

Poster Title: "Chemogenetic inactivation of nucleus reuniens impairs behavioral flexibility in an odor texture attentional set shifting task."

GNTP Scholars 2021

BRIAN ESCOBAR

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2018
GNTP Affiliate Program: Experimental Psychology
Mentor: Sang Wook Hong, Ph.D.
Thesis topic: Decoding of Face Stimuli in Basic Facial Expression and Anti-Expression Conditions
Neuroscience Student Organizaion Community Relations Officer
bescobar2018@fau.edu
BS Psychology, Pennsylvania State University Brain Escobar in lab

"I am particularly interested in Cognitive Neuroscience. Currently under the tutelage of Dr. Sang Wook Hong, I am investigating the neurological responses surrounding the processing of basic emotional faces and anti-expression stimuli and decoding such patterns. Currently, I am in the phase of collecting the behavioral data of my research, which will allow us to see how people classify basic expressions and their anti-expression counterparts. Soon we'll be collecting EEG data, that when combined with decoding techniques will allow us to examine if there is a nature and emotional value of anti-expressions in the brain. Work such as this will provide us insights into how robust the brain is regarding the processing and coding of faces. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the chance to gain guidance and support from multiple professors through GNTP lab rotations with Drs. Gizelle Anzures, Ed Ester and Sang Hong. The GNTP provides ready access to investigators, labs, and resources at not only 抖M女仆, but also MPFI, and Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute. If you are looking for high level training and research in neuroscience, I can't imagine any better place! I desperately needed to leave behind the frigid winters up north. I hope you will consider joining our program!

ALEXANDRA PAZ

ALEXANDRA PAZ

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2018
GNTP Affiliate Program: Integrative Biology/Neuroscience
Mentors: Erik Duboue, Ph.D.
Thesis topic: The characterization of a simple startle circuit in Astyanax mexicanus
paza2018@fau.edu
BS Biology, St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, New York Alexandra Paz in lab
Alexandra Paz in lab

"I have always been interested in both ecology and neuroscience. Working with my mentors, Dr. Johanna Kowalko and Dr. Alex Keene, I have been able to combine my two passions! I am currently utilizing the Mexican cavefish to investigate how environmental differences shape the evolution of behavior. Specifically, I study a highly conserved predator evasion response and the circuit that underlies it. Dr's. Keene and Kowalko left 抖M女仆 the summer of 2021, so I am continuing my research with Dr. Erik Duboue. I chose the GNTP because of the chance to work in an environment that values collaboration and brings together professionals from a variety of disciplines. I hope you'll consider joining us!"

"In my lab photo, I am using spinal microinjections to label and image the Mauthner neurons in 6-day old fish larvae. These neurons may look simple, but they perform the complex tasks of integrating sensory information and decision making! In our lab we utilize multiple cave and river populations of the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus, to investigate how environment shapes the evolution of behavior. In order to do this, we need a complete understanding of how exactly their habitats differ. We are working to characterize the microbial community living with the fish, the geochemistry of their host environment, and any biogeochemical linkages between these systems."

"We traveled to caves in the Sierra del Abra region of Mexico as part of an investigation into the various habitats of the Mexican cavefish. On this trip I traveled with a group of researchers from Oxford University and la Universidad Nacional Aut贸noma de M茅xico (UNAM) to the Pach贸n and Tinaja caves where we were able to observe the fish in their natural environments. In collaboration with the lab of Dr. Magdalena Osburn at Northwestern University, we are working to characterize the microbial community living with the fish, as well as the geochemistry of their environment. By gaining a more complete understanding of the fish's environments we are better able to contextualize the behavioral differences we study in the lab."

GNTP Scholars 2021

YOSUN YOON

Entered: Graduate Neuroscience Training Program 2018
GNTP Affiliate Program: Experimental Psychology
Mentor: Sang Wook Hong, Ph.D.
Thesis Topic: Individual Difference in Binocular Rivalry Dynamics
yyoon2018@fau.edu
MA & BA Psychology, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, South Korea YOSUN YOON in lab

"I am particularly interested in visual information processing, binocular rivalry, and brain imaging techniques. Currently under the instruction of Dr. Sang Wook Hong, I am investigating the mechanism of binocular rivalry by focusing on individual differences in rivalry dynamics. The GNTP provided me with being able to also work in a lab rotation with Dr. Edward Ester. I was attracted to the GNTP because of the fact that there are many opportunities to experience diverse research fields and various research facilities. This is a great program."

2023

GNTP Alumni

ASAL NOURI

Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences / GNTP Student
Postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Chad Forbes and Dr. Susan Schneider at 抖M女仆
Ph.D. Advisors: Dr. William Hahn, 抖M女仆, and Dr. Edward Ester, University of Nevada
Dissertation: Mechanisms of Selective Attention in Working Memory, Modeled from Human鈥檚 Alpha Band Oscillations

2020

GNTP Alumni

RACHEL ST. CLAIR

Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences / GNTP
Hi-tech start-up company in AGI
Ph.D. Advisor: Dr. Elan Barenholtz, Dr. William Han, and Dr. Susan Schneider
Dissertation: Preserving Knowledge in Simulated Behavioral Action Loops