Skip to content

Upcoming Seminars 2023-2024

Tuesdays, EHSEB 1730 or Alumni Hall - 2:00-3:00 P.M.

(All Seminars are in-person unless noted;  check back for updates)

September 19

"Bioelectric Regulation of Neurogenesis"

Beverly Piggott, Ph.D. – University of Montana - Neuroscience

Faculty Host: Nikki Link, Ph.D. – Neurobiology

Student Host: Zia L'Ecuyer

Piggott Lab

Research Summary:
Our research explores the electrical dynamics that influence stem cell self-renewal and neural differentiation.

October 17

"Neural computations in a brain system that supports working memory"

Stefan Leutgeb, Ph.D. – University of California, San Diego – Neural Circuits & Behavior

Faculty Host: Jim Heys, Ph.D. – Neurobiology

Student Host: Erin Bigus

Leutgeb Lab

Research Summary:
"The main focus of my research program is to unravel neural circuit computations for learning and memory with the goal to restore these computations when disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases. The core neural circuits that we investigate are the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus as well as in more recent work a larger brain system that includes the prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia. In recent work, we have performed large-scale recordings from these systems in a spatial working memory task and have investigated how information is retained and reinstated. An understanding how their neural computations in these circuits support cognitive function will result in technological and biomedical advances that can be applied to treat the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases."

November 21

"Neurology of consciousness: overview and updates"

Melanie Boly, M.D., Ph.D. – University of Wisconsin, Madison – Neurology

Melanie Boly on Quantifying Consciousness

Faculty Host: Elliot Smith, Ph.D. -- Neurosurgery

Student Host: Veronica Zarr

Boly Lab


Research Summary:
Dr Boly is a neurologist and neuroscientist with a joint appointment in Neurology and Psychiatry. She has worked since more than twenty years in the field of altered states of consciousness such as vegetative state, sleep, anesthesia and seizures, under the mentorship of Prs. Steven Laureys, Pierre Maquet, Adrian Owen, Marcello Massimini, Karl Friston and Giulio Tononi. Her research aims at combining neuroimaging techniques such as PET, functional MRI, TMS-EEG, and high-density EEG to a theoretical framework, the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, hoping to uncover the neural mechanisms of the level and contents of consciousness in healthy subjects and neurological patients. Her work has led to date to >150 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and numerous invited talks at international conferences. She is board certified in neurology in both Europe and the US.

January 16 - CANCELLED

Erica Glasper

"Breaking Bonds: Neurobiological consequences of loss across the lifespan"

Erica Glasper, Ph.D. – Ohio State University – Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience / Stress & Neuroimmunology

Faculty Host: Moriel Zelikowsky, Ph.D. – Neurobiology

Student Host: Kevin Sattler

Glasper Profile


Research Summary:
Our brains are highly plastic and respond both structurally and functionally to a host of experiences – those beginning in the early days of life and stretching well into our older years. In this talk, I will discuss how the maintenance, or loss, of social bonds occurring throughout life (e.g., early-life adverse parental experiences, pair bonding) can modulate neural plasticity, hormones, and immune function. I will discuss data suggesting the loss of social bonds (e.g., mate bond separation, early-life parental loss) can have deleterious, sex-specific consequences on brain and behavior, highlighting the potential for central inflammation and peripheral stress hormones as potential mediators.


February 20 - CANCELLED

"Modulation of auditory nerve activity in response to changes in the sound environment"

Elisabeth Glowatzki, Ph.D.John's Hopkin's University - Neuroscience / Otolaryngology

Faculty Host: Micheal Deans, Ph.D. – Neurobiology

Student Host: Jennie Nelson

Glowatzki Lab


Research Summary:
Inner hair cells transmit the sound signal to auditory nerve fibers in the inner ear by ribbon synapses with highly specialized release mechanisms. Based on the sound environment, lateral efferent fibers originating in the brainstem modulate afferent transmission at the inner hair cell synapse, likely to adjust the gain at the synapse. Multiple transmitter systems are involved, including dopaminergic, cholinergic and peptidergic transmission. Our aim is to dissect this complex feedback loop, and its underlying mechanisms that modulates inner ear afferent transmission at the first synapse in the auditory pathway. We use physiological and imaging approaches, including dendritic patch clamp recordings, calcium imaging in the cochlea, noise exposure, hearing testing, and immunocytochemistry.

 March 19

"Old dog, new tricks: Revisiting activity-dependent synaptic refinement in visual circuits with advanced imaging and omics"

Colenso Speer, Ph.D. – University of Maryland – Biology

Faculty Host: Megan Williams, PhD -- Neurobiology

Student Host: Adam Weinbrom

Speer Lab


Research Summary:
We are interested to understand how neural activity in developing circuits influences local protein synthesis, protein and mRNA turnover, biomolecule trafficking, and structural plasticity within synapses. We study these processes using a classic model for activity-dependent brain development - the formation of connections from retinal ganglion cells to central targets in the brain. We use custom volumetric super-resolution imaging approaches based on STochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) and Expansion Microscopy (ExM) to image spatial relationships between synaptic proteins with nanoscale resolution. We study activity-dependent protein synthesis using translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) assays to isolate locally translated mRNAs in synapses. We are also pursuing protein proximity labeling approaches to characterize the maturation of synaptic proteomes. We combine these techniques with cell-type and pathway-specific transgenic labeling tools in the mouse in order to identify the molecular mechanisms that regulate activity-dependent synaptogenesis in visual circuits.

April 16 

"Astrocytes in developmental and pathological plasticity"

Sarah Ackerman, Ph.D. – Washington University -- Dept of Developmental Biology & Dept. of Pathology and Immunology

Faculty Host: Monica Vetter, Ph.D. – Neurobiology

Student Host: Alicia Walker

Ackerman Lab


Research Summary:
"The Ackerman lab studies how distinct glial types regulate developmental plasticity, and how this in turn shapes diverse motor behaviors in health and disease. We leverage the unique strengths of the Drosophila (rapid genetic screening, high-resolution circuit analysis) and zebrafish model systems (in vivo imaging, pharmacology, behavior screening) to identify evolutionarily conserved functions of glia and glial-signaling pathways that ensure proper timing of developmental remodeling. Using Drosophila, we recently showed, for the first time, that astrocytes shut down a critical period of motor circuit plasticity to stabilize motor-driven behaviors (Ackerman et al., 2021). This function of astrocytes is conserved in mammals (Ribot et al., 2021; Rouach group). Most recently, we are using single cell sequencing to profile glia-glia signaling networks (e.g. astrocyte-oligodendrocyte) during developmental critical periods of to understand 1) how do glia coordinate circuit plasticity across distinct circuits, 2) how do changes in developmental activity permanently reset circuit structure/function, and 3) how can we apply this knowledge to our understanding of both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.




Last Updated: 2/16/24