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News and Announcements
Connor Lab Publishes in Current Biology
MBI Director and Professor Ed Connor’s lab recently published a research article in Current Biology. The paper shows that a channel in the ventral visual pathway carries information about the orientation of floors, ceilings, and corners that could be used to understand the direction of gravity in scenes and predict how objects will behave under the influence of gravity.
Kristina Nielsen Ph.D. Receives Whitehall Foundation Award
MBI Assistant Professor Kristina Nielsen was awarded a prestigious, 3-year research grant from the Whitehall Foundation. The title of the grant is “Which tuning dimensions define columns in the ventral pathway?” Dr. Nielsen’s group will use two-photon microscopy to investigate the functional micro-organization of visual area V4.
Congratulations to Natalie Trzcinski, Ph.D.
Natalie Trzcinski, a graduate student of Steve Hsiao and Ed Connor, successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation and presented her research in a public seminar on November 13, 2015. Her thesis seminar was titled "Mechanisms and Perceptual Consequences of Experience-Dependent Somatosensory Plasticity.” Congratulations, Natalie!
Kirkwood Lab Publishes in Neuron
MBI Professor Alfredo Kirkwood's lab published a recent paper in the journal Neuron. Their work used physiological and computational approaches to investigate synaptic mechanisms of reward-based learning.
Kaiwen He, Marco Huertas, Su Z. Hong, XiaoXiu Tie1 Johannes W. Hell, Harel Shouval, Alfredo Kirkwood (2015) Distinct Eligibility Traces for LTP and LTD in Cortical Synapses. Neuron (in press, available online).
See media coverage at the following links;
MBI Researchers Awarded CRCNS Grant
Professors Ernst Niebur and Veit Stuphorn were awarded a new 4-year grant from the NIH-NSF Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience program. The project, funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, is entitled “Neural mechanisms of decision-making: From value-encoding to preference formation and reversals.” The researchers aim to understand multivariate decision making in human and non-human primates.
MBI Scientists Publish in Neuron
The Knierim laboratory published a new paper in Neuron that investigates neural mechanisms of memory encoding and retrieval in the hippocampus. The authors show a topographical gradient of associative memory computation along the CA3 transverse axis of the hippocampus.
Lee H, Wang C, Deshmukh SS, Knierim JJ. Neural Population Evidence of Functional Heterogeneity along the CA3 Transverse Axis: Pattern Completion versus Pattern Separation. Neuron. 2015; 87:1093-105
Stuphorn Lab Receives NIH Grant
MBI Associate Professor Veit Stuphorn received a new 4-year grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke titled “Neural Mechanisms of Behavioral Control.” The project will investigate the prefrontal mechanisms of continuous self-control; that is, the ability to resist temptation, forgoing easy, immediate rewards that lead to suboptimal or negative long-term outcomes.
MBI Researchers Receive Aging Award in Collaboration with PBS Department
Professors Alfredo Kirkwood and James Knierim recently received 5-year grants from the National Institute of Aging to study the neural processes underlying memory loss that occurs during normal and abnormal aging. The awards are part of a Program Project Grant entitled “Cognition and Hippocampal/Cortical Systems in Aging” led by Dr. Michela Gallagher of the JHU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
MBI Researcher Receives JHU Discovery Award
James Knierim of MBI and Noah Cowan of the JHU Department of Mechanical Engineering received a 2015 Johns Hopkins University Discovery Award for a collaborative project to use engineering approaches to investigate how animals create and maintain an internal, “cognitive map” of the environment (the brain’s “inner GPS.”
Nielsen Lab Awarded Grant from JHU Science of Learning Institute
MBI researcher Kristina Nielsen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, and Joshua Vogelstein, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, were awarded a 2-year research grant for their proposal titled “Learning causes changes in the state-space of local cortical networks.” The project combines two-photon calcium imaging in animals learning an orientation discrimination task with a state-space analysis approach. The investigators hope to identify fundamental learning mechanisms that arise from large-scale neural networks.
Congratulations to Yoonju Cho, Ph.D.
Yoonju Cho, a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering program, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation from Steven Hsiao’s lab and presented her thesis seminar on July 10, 2015. Her seminar was titled “Tactile Perception of Three-Dimensional Shapes.” Congratulations, Yoonju!
New Grant Awarded to Connor Lab
The Connor lab was recently awarded a new 4-year NIH R01 research grant from the National Eye Institute. The grant, titled “Shape Learning: Computational Changes in Chronically Studied Neural Populations,” is a collaborative project with David Leopold of the National Institute of Mental Health. The Connor and Leopold labs will work jointly to investigate neural mechanisms of visual shape discrimination using long-term, chronic recordings from large ensembles of neurons in high-order visual cortex.
Somatosensory Lab publishes in Neuron
A research article from the Somatosensory Lab of MBI appeared in the journal Neuron. This work revealed that neurons in all subdivisions of primary somatosensory cortex encode cutaneous and proprioceptive stimuli. This study highlights distinct neural mechanisms of multimodal processing in the somatosensory system.
Vernon B. Mountcastle 1918-2015
(photo credit Johns Hopkins Medicine)
The Krieger Mind/Brain Institute mourns the loss of one of the giants in neuroscience research. Vernon Mountcastle, long-time faculty member of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, was a founding member and a driving force behind the creation of the Mind/Brain Institute, as well as a valued mentor to many current and former scientists at the institute.
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