CNUP: Center for Neuroscience


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Oct 22 2015

PITT NEWS RELEASE: October 13, 2015
Pitt's Yan Dong Earns Award for His Investigation of Addiction

Will receive the Waletzky Award at Neuroscience 2015

His research into how drugs such as cocaine can hijack the brain’s circuitry, leading to addiction, has earned University of Pittsburgh neuroscientist Yan Dong the Society for Neuroscience’s Jacob P. Waletzky Award.
“I am deeply honored receiving this prestigious award,” Dong says. “I greatly appreciate the Waletzky family for their vision in promoting basic research in drug addiction.”
Read More ...

Sep 9 2015

Biology and Control of Nausea and Vomiting
October 23-24, 2015

Biology and Control of Nausea and Vomiting 2015 will bring together current leaders in the field of nausea and emesis research, including basic and translational scientists and clinicians who treat patients who pervasively suffer from these conditions. The proposed conference is intended to provide an optimal forum to discuss the biology and treatment of nausea and vomiting from a wide variety of perspectives, with the primary goal of formulating a consensus on new avenues of research and clinical approaches that will move the field forward. Continuing Education Credits (a maximum of 11.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™) are available for attending the meeting.
The conference will include six primary oral sessions, in addition to a scientific poster session and reception.

Aug 26 2015

Welcome New CNUP Graduate Students!

See pics of all the new students

Aug 10 2015

Basal ganglia- and Cerebellar-Thalamic Contributions to Motor Control in Non-Human Primates -

A Postdoctoral position is available at the University of Pittsburgh to study functions of the circuits that connect cerebellar- and basal ganglia-recipient regions of thalamus and the motor cortex. The project will study the task-related activities of identified cell types and circuits using multi-electrode single unit recording, electrophysiologic, and inactivation techniques in behaving monkeys. We seek a creative motivated scientist with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, biomedical engineering or a related field. Experience in motor control research, non-human primate neurophysiology, and the statistical analysis of neuronal data analysis is preferred. This is a full-time NIH-funded position with university benefits. The position offers exceptional facilities, resources and opportunities for interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and career development. The successful candidate will have frequent opportunities to interact with other faculty and labs of the Systems Neuroscience Institute (PI’s include Drs. Peter Strick, Andy Schwartz, Aaron Batista, Charles Bradberry, and Omar Gharbawie), those in the large neuroscience communities at the University of Pittsburgh and at nearby Carnegie Mellon University. To apply, please send a statement of research interests, CV and names of two references to: Robert S. Turner Dept. of Neurobiology and System Neuroscience Institute Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition University of Pittsburgh

Jul 13 2015

CNUP faculty member Dr. Elias Aizenman, receives the 2015 William E. Brown Outstanding MSTP Mentor Award

In recognition of extraordinary performance and achievement in mentoring, the annual recipient of this award is elected by the MSTP students and faculty. The award is named in honor of William E. Brown, PhD, who demonstrated all of the qualities of a truly great mentor throughout his stewardship as co-director of the University of Pittsburgh / Carnegie Mellon University Medical Scientist Training Program. The recipient of this award is announced at the MSTP annual retreat.

Jul 9 2015

Save the Date: MNTP Summer Symposium on Health Neuroscience

Dear Colleagues, We are writing to cordially invite you to attend an exciting one-and-a half day symposium on Health Neuroscience, sponsored by the Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program, the Brain Institute, and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. The symposium will feature investigators conducting cutting-edge research focused on the interplay between physical health and brain structure and function in humans and nonhuman animals. Invited speakers include: - Elliot Berkman (University of Oregon) - Naomi Eisenberger (UCLA) - Andreana Haley (University of Texas at Austin) - Connor Liston (Weill Cornell Medical College) - Tor Wager (University of Colorado, Boulder) Symposium themes will focus on the neurobiology of stress, emotion, cognition, chronic physical illness, health behaviors, and social influences on health across the lifespan. The symposium will also feature local faculty from Pitt and CMU, and there will be a reception to foster interaction among faculty and trainees. More details will follow. Space will be limited. Register at: Sincerely, Pete Gianaros, University of Pittsburgh Kirk Erickson, University of Pittsburgh David Creswell, Carnegie Mellon University Tim Verstynen, Carnegie Mellon University

Jul 1 2015

Pitt News Release: June 29, 2015
Why Does the Teen Brain Value Reward Over Risk? Maybe it's not the dopamine rush

Why does the promise of a reward - basically any kind of fun - cause teens to hurl caution into the wind?
Contemporary scientific theory suggests that teenagers are risk takers because they crave the feel-good rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. That theory, however, has been based on a long line of studies on the adult brain.
The University of Pittsburgh's Dr. Bita Moghaddam and her research group have taken a look at the teen brain - the teen rat's brain, specifically - and found that scientists' presumptions may be off base.
"The adolescent brain doesn't work the way we think it does," she says. "we have a set of predictions about it that keep proving to be wrong, that they seek pleasure because dopamine is more active. This study shows that may not be the case."
Read More ...

May 27 2015

The Seventh International Workshop on Statistical Analysis of Neural Data (SAND7) Website:

Confirmed keynote speakers: Gyorgy Buzsaki (NYU) Marlene Cohen (University of Pittsburgh) Adrienne Fairhall (University of Washington) Bruce Rosen (Harvard, MGH) Mark Schnitzer (Stanford) Sebastian Seung (Princeton) This workshop series is concerned with analysis of neural signals from various sources, including EEG, fMRI, MEG, 2-Photon, and extracellular recordings. It aims to define important problems in neuronal data analysis and useful strategies for attacking them; foster communication between experimental neuroscientists and those trained in statistical and computational methods encourage young researchers, including graduate students, to present their work; and expose young researchers to important challenges and opportunities in this interdisciplinary domain, while providing a small meeting atmosphere to facilitate the interaction of young researchers with senior colleagues. The organizers are Emery Brown, Elizabeth Buffalo, Rob Kass, Liam Paninski, Sri Sarma and Jonathan Victor.

Apr 16 2015

CNUP faculty member Anthony A. Grace, PhD receives William K. Warren Research Award

The William K. Warren Research Award is given every 2 years to a senior investigator, who has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of schizophrenia. At the 2015 meeting of the International Congress of Schizophrenia Research, Dr. Anthony A. Grace was named the recipient of the award for 2015.

Mar 18 2015

CNUP Faculty member Marlene Cohen receives 2015 University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award

Patrick Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor awarded a dozen Pitt faculty members with 2015 chancellor’s awards for research, teaching and service. In the junior scholar category, CNUP faculty member, Marlene Cohen, assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience in the Dietrich school was awarded $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant in support of her research. Chancellor Gallagher recognized Marlene's research as “scientifically rigorous, highly creative and novel” work that is making a substantial impact on the field of sensory processing and perception. “Not only have you been extremely successful in obtaining funding for your research, but you have also amply demonstrated that you are an independent, creative and talented scientist who is emerging as one of the true leaders in your field,” he wrote. Read More...

Mar 18 2015

CNUP Faculty member Kirk Erickson receives 2015 University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award

Patrick Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor awarded a dozen Pitt faculty members with 2015 chancellor’s awards for research, teaching and service. In the junior scholar category, CNUP faculty member, Kirk Erickson, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the Dietrich school was awarded $2,000 cash prize and a $3,000 grant in support of his research. Chancellor Gallagher said that Erickson's research is notable for its methodological rigor as well as for its broad public health implications. “You have had an impact in the training of neuroscience. Your graduate and undergraduate classes on the fundamentals of neuroscience and specifically fMRI have consistently received outstanding student reviews and changed the culture of training in your department,” Gallagher wrote. Read More...

Mar 18 2015

Pitt Establishes Brain Institute to Unlock Mysteries of the Brain, Discover Novel Therapies

The University of Pittsburgh is creating a new Institute that aims to unlock the mysteries of normal and abnormal brain function, and then use this new information to develop novel treatments and cures for brain disorders. The new Institute will function like a Bell Labs for brain research and provide a special environment to promote innovation and discovery. The goal is to enable investigators to perform high-risk, high-impact neuroscience that will transform lives.

“Pittsburgh has earned well-deserved respect as one of the world’s leading centers for groundbreaking research in neuroscience,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “We have the intellectual firepower to take a lead role in the nationwide effort to revolutionize the understanding of the brain. The creation of our Brain Institute reflects the high priority that we have assigned to this important work and will position Pitt for even higher levels of impact and achievement in the years ahead. It also will strengthen our ongoing local, national and international research efforts, such as the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, which is a joint program with Carnegie Mellon University.”


Mar 11 2015

Post-Doctoral Position Division of Pediatric Neurology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

The laboratory of Dr. Sharyl Fyffe-Maricich has a postdoctoral position available immediately to study central nervous system (CNS) myelin development and myelin repair in mouse models of Multiple Sclerosis in the Division of Pediatric Neurology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The laboratory’s research program is focused on the role of ERK MAP kinase signaling in the regulation of genes important for the differentiation and maturation of oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for generating CNS myelin. This position will allow exciting opportunities for publication, collaborative research, attendance at scientific meetings and overall career development. This position is funded by an NIH R01 grant and salary will be commensurate with the NIH scale for postdoctoral fellows.

Interested candidates are encouraged to send a short write up of their research/laboratory experience together with their latest CV to Dr. Sharyl Fyffe-Maricich (

Qualifications: We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral associate with a PhD in neurobiology, developmental biology, genetics or molecular biology. Relevant knowledge and skills include experience with transgenic mouse models, histological techniques, microscopic imaging, cell culture techniques, and molecular biology. Most importantly, we are seeking an individual who can work independently, is enthusiastic about acquiring new knowledge and skills, and is a strong communicator. Candidates should have the ability to work independently, think critically and creatively and function as part of a team. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required.

Feb 9 2015

Post-Doctoral Position Available Molecular Neurobiologist and Neurophysiologist

We are looking for two postdoctoral scientists (molecular neurobiologist and neurophysiologist) to join a group studying pathogenesis of neurological diseases using novel transgenic and knockout zebrafish models.

If interested please contact: Edward A. Burton, MD, DPhil