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CBBRe Research Symposium 2017

The goal of this annual symposium is to bring researchers together from the fields of neural and behavioral sciences, providing a forum of collegial interaction and collaboration.

Presentations include talks from invited speakers and poster presentations from USD CBBRe students and faculty. Students who have recently completed the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research in Addiction (SPURA) at USD will also  present their work at the poster session.


2017 Symposium External Speakers




Pablo Castillo, MD, PhD

Harold and Muriel Block Chair Professor of Neuroscience
Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Talk Title: “Presynaptic Plasticity: Novel Functions and Mechanisms”





Dr. Pablo Castillo is the Harold and Muriel Block Professor of Neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He received his MD and PhD degrees from the Universidad de la República in Uruguay, and postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University. Dr. Castillo is a world expert in synaptic plasticity, a biological process critically involved in experience-dependent modifications of brain function. He has made significant contributions to our understanding of various forms of activity-dependent plasticity at both excitatory and inhibitory synapses under normal and pathological conditions. In his studies, he combines molecular, genetic, pharmacological and electrophysiological techniques in the mammalian brain. His work has been largely published in top tier journals, and he is the author of several widely cited review articles and book chapters.
View website: www.einstein.yu.edu/faculty/8363/pablo-castillo/



Randolph J. Nudo, Ph.D.

University Distinguished Professor & Vice Chair
Research Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Director, Landon Center on Aging University of Kansas Medical Center

Talk Title: “Closed-Loop Neuromodulation: An Emerging Modality for Therapy after Brain Injury”






Randolph J. Nudo, Ph.D. is University Distinguished Professor and Vice Chairman of Research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the Marion Merrell Dow Distinguished Professor in Aging at the Kansas University Medical Center. He is also the Director of the Landon Center on Aging and the Director of the Institute for Neurological Discoveries. He is a leading authority on neuroplasticity and recovery after brain injury, and is recognized internationally for his work on the effects of physiotherapy on functional plasticity after stroke. This work has been funded by NIH for over three decades. He currently holds other grants from the Department of Defense and private foundations for his research in traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Dr. Nudo is the Editor-in-Chief of Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair, the leading journal in the field of rehabilitation, and serves on the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH-NICHD. In addition to continuing fundamental research on post-stroke neuroplasticity, he and his colleagues are now developing microimplantable devices for repairing neural circuits after brain and spinal cord injury.
View website: www.kumc.edu/landon-center-on-aging/faculty/randolph-j-nudo-phd.html.



Amy C. Janes, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital

Talk Title: “Cue-Reactivity, Craving, and Multi-Modal Neuroimaging of Nicotine Dependence.”







Amy Janes, PhD, is a neuroscientist at McLean Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. While she began her research career studying addiction in preclinical models, her current NIH-funded studies use clinical neuroimaging to clarify how individual differences in brain function, chemistry, and structure influence tobacco use and relapse. She also uses these tools to study other addictive disorders and to clarify links between drug use and psychopathology, with the goal of using neuroscience to inform personalized treatment development. Dr. Janes directs the Functional Integration of Addiction Research Laboratory as well as the Clinical-Basic training track of the NIDA-funded T32 Post-Doctoral Training Program.
View website: www.janeslab.org/



Jeffrey G. Tasker, Ph.D.

Catherine and Hunter Pierson Chair in Neuroscience
Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology Tulane University School of Science and Engineering

Talk Title: “Glucocorticoid Desensitization of the Noradrenergic Excitation of the HPA Axis”






Jeffrey Tasker received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Colorado in 1981 and his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Bordeaux, France in 1986. He received postdoctoral training in the Physiology Dept at the Tulane University Health Science Center and in the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. He joined the faculty of Tulane University as an assistant professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology in 1991, and currently holds the rank of professor. He has benefitted from continuous research support from the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years and has published over 80 research papers, reviews and book chapters. He has held the Catherine and Hunter Pierson Chair in Neuroscience since 2005, he served as Director of the Tulane University Neuroscience Program from 2006 to 2014, and he is currently Director of the Division of Neurobiology of the Cell and Molecular Biology Department. He has served on several NIH and NSF grant review panels and on the editorial boards of the journals Endocrinology, Stress, and Steroids. The research in his laboratory uses electrophysiology, molecular biology, and genetic manipulations to study the electrical activity and molecular signaling of neuroendocrine cells of the hypothalamus and principal neurons and interneurons of the basolateral amygdala, with the goal of gaining insight into such central nervous system conditions as stress, depression, obesity, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
View website: www2.tulane.edu/som/departments/medicine/endocrinology/diabetes-research/jeffrey-tasker-phd.cfm




2017 Symposium Internal Speakers


Lee Baugh, Ph.D.

Basic Biomedical Sciences
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: “Tiring From Trying: A Potential Relationship between Errors in Motor Control and Post-Stroke Fatigue”





Dr. Baugh received his B.A. from the University of Waterloo in psychology, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in Brain and Behavior. He conducted postdoctoral work at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, at Queen’s University before joining the faculty at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota in 2011, where he is now an Associate Professor and Director of the Human Functional Imaging Core. Dr. Baugh’s primary research interests examine how skilled actions are learned and performed, and how these processes can be affected by neurological damage, such as that observed following stroke. To do this, Dr. Baugh utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach including functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, and the advanced analysis of kinematic data.



Brenna Bray

PhD Candidate
Basic Biomedical Sciences; Neuroscience Specialization
Sanford School of Medicine
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: “The Ventral Hippocampus: A Gatekeeper of Stress Effects on Motivation and Drug Withdrawal”


Brenna is a 5th year PhD Candidate in the University of South Dakota’s Biomedical Sciences program, specializing in Neuroscience. She is founder and chair of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research (CBBRe) Student Organization, and has served as the CBBRe Internal Advisory Committee Graduate Student Representative. Brenna has presented her research at multiple national and international venues, and has earned a variety of grants and fellowship awards, including: an FY2017 Graduate Research and Creative Scholarship Grant; a Student Fellowship Award from the 2017 International Meeting on Steroids and the Nervous System, and a Kent Young Investigator Travel Award. She has one publication, and 2 manuscripts currently in preparation. Her research combines neurochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral techniques to explore the effects of stress and corticosterone in the ventral hippocampus on reward function in a rat model of amphetamine withdrawal.



Kathleen Brown-Rice, Ph.D.

Counseling and Psychology in Education
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: “Psychological and Neural Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents Depend on Current Alcohol Use”




Dr. Rice received her PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Provider, Certified Addiction Counselor, Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor, Qualified Mental Health Provider, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and National Certified Counselor. She has worked as a professional counselor in various clinical mental health settings assisting clients with mental health and substance use issues. Dr. Rice’s research efforts are on developing and enhancing ethical and competent services to clients and focus on three main areas: a) professional counselor supervision and training, b) Native American mental health with an emphasis on the implications of historical trauma, and c) risky substance use. To further understand emotional regulation, resiliency, and intergenerational transmission of mental health and substance use disorders, she incorporates neural imaging and genotyping.



Gina Forster, Ph.D.

Basic Biomedical Sciences
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: “Psychological and Neural Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents Depend on Current Alcohol Use”





Dr. Gina Forster obtained her PhD from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia in psychology with an emphasis on neuroscience. She completed postdoctoral work in the US before taking a faculty position at the Sanford School of Medicine in 2005, were she is currently a Professor and the Co-Director for the Center of Brain and Behavior Research, the Summer Program in Undergraduate Research in Addiction, and the Center for Genetics and Behavioral Health. Dr. Forster’s research aims to understand the neurobiology underlying anxiety and substance abuse in both animal models and human subjects, utilizing in vivo neurochemical techniques, functional MRI, and a variety of behavioral assays. Dr. Forster’s research has been funded by the DoD and NIH, and has been recognized by a variety of awards including the Presidents Research Award for Established Investigators in 2016.



Brandon Gray

Ph.D. Candidate
Clinical Psychology
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: “Evidence of the Etiological Role of Peritraumatic Dissociation in Borderline Personality Disorder”



Brandon Gray is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of South Dakota specializing in Disaster Mental Health and working under the mentorship of Dr. Sara Lowmaster. He also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 2013 and his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology in 2016 at the University of South Dakota. Recently, he spent the summer interning in the evidence and research unit of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department. His research focuses primarily on the mechanisms or processes that lead individuals to differing trajectories following traumatic experiences (e.g., normative distress and recovery, acute or chronic mental health conditions, resilience) and how these models can inform large-scale community-based prevention and intervention efforts.



Thayne Munce, Ph.D.

Sanford Sport Science Institute;
Sanford Children’s Health Research Center

Talk Title: “Hard-Hitting Research: Brain Injury Risk in Youth Football”





Thayne A. Munce, PhD, is the Exercise Physiology Manager of the Sanford Sports Science Institute (Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, SD) and is an Assistant Scientist in the Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford Research. Dr. Munce also holds appointments as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and as a Research Scientist with the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital. He serves on the leadership board of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute (NYSHSI) and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM). Dr. Munce performs research encompassing several areas of athletic health and performance with the intent of translating evidence-based knowledge into practical applications on the playing field and in the clinic. Much of his current work focuses on studying 1) brain injury risk and concussion in sport and 2) thermoregulation during exercise and heat stress. In addition to his research, Dr. Munce has successfully helped many athletes optimize their performance and reduce their risk of injury through individualized athletic assessments and performance consultations.



Samuel Sathyanesan, Ph.D.

Basic Biomedical Sciences
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: “Re-Purposing and Re-Engineering: Psychiatric Applications of an Old Anemia Drug”






Samuel Sathyanesan obtained a PhD in molecular physiology from the Univ. of Notre Dame where he worked on cloning and purifying plant antifreeze proteins. He then switched fields to pursue a postdoc in molecular psychiatry at Yale. He subsequently joined the Yale faculty and established a neurovascular lab studying antidepressant mechanisms. He moved to USD in 2013 and is currently investigating the molecular and behavioral actions of erythropoietin. Dr. Sathyanesan's research has been recognized by a NARSAD young investigator's award, and his research is currently supported by NIH.

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