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Graduate Students


Richard M. Albertson

I graduated from Grove City College in 2010 with a B.S. in Molecular Biology. I then entered the M.D./Ph.D program at Penn State University in Hershey beginning in the summer of 2010. I have transferred to the UP Neuroscience Graduate Program to work in Dr. Melissa Rolls' lab. My research interest is on the mechanisms underlying dendrite injury in neurons, specifically dendrite regeneration after degeneration in a Drosophila model system.This line of work has broader clinical implications for understanding stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and autoimmune disorders of the nervous system.

Michael Caruso

As an undergraduate I studied psychology at the University of Hawaii. At UH I worked with Dr. Lorey Takahashi in his behavioral neuroscience laboratory. I was involved in studies investigating the effects of stress, in the form of cat odor, on fear memory consolidation in rats. As of July, 2012 I have been a member of Dr. Sonia Cavigelli's Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Laboratory as a first year graduate student. I am interested in studying the effects of stress on the brain and regulation of the HPA axis, and how chronic HPA activation affects health and behavior across the life span. After completing my graduate studies I hope to remain in academia as a professor and a researcher.
Jasmine Caulfield

Jasmine Caulfield (Joined 2015-2016)

I graduated in May 2015 from the University of Delaware with a B.S. Degree with Distinction in Neuroscience and a B.S. Degree in Cognitive Science. For two years at UD, I was involved in a research project under Dr. Jaclyn Schwarz that used a rodent model to explore sex differences in vulnerability to a neonatal immune challenge and potential implications for developmental delays in learning. I hope to continue to pursue my interests in neuroscience at Penn State by exploring systems in neuroimmunology and endocrinology, as well as events affecting these systems that may lead to development of various neuropsychiatric disorders.
Dominick Dimercurio

Dominick Dimercurio (Joined 2015-2016)

I graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where I performed interdisciplinary biomathematics research under the guidance of Dr. Michelle Starz-Gaiano (Department of Biological Sciences) and Dr. Brad Peercy (Department of Mathematics and Statistics). I hope to continue an interdisciplinary approach to research at Penn State by combining my focus in neuroscience with my related interests in computation and linguistics.

Shlomit Gur

I graduated from Bar-Ilan University (Israel in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and minor in Computer Science, and recently graduated from Erasmus University Medical Center (the Netherlands) with a Master of Science in Neuroscience. I am interested in applicable neuroscience combined with technology, in a field of neural prosthetics or brain computer-interface, but also in artificial intelligence and robotics. Other research interests include learning and memory, and behavioral/emotional effects of visual input.

Christina Hamilton

I graduated from Ursinus College in 2011 with a BS in Neuroscience and Psychology. I recently received a MS in Experimental Psychology from Saint Joseph's University. My research interests are in cognitive neuroscience, particularly in visual perception and cognition. I would like to study how humans and other animals represent information in the world, and how those representations are realized in a neural architecture.

Sarah Jefferson

I graduated from Penn State University in 2010 with a B.S. in Microbiology with honors in Kinesiology. I then worked for two years under Dr. Chang-Gyu Hahn at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researching biomarkers that could predict therapeutic efficacy in neuronal cell lines derived from patients with Major Depressive Disorder. As an MD/PhD student in Dr. Bernhard Luscher’s lab, I currently study the contribution of specific populations of GABAergic interneurons to anxiety and depression-related behaviors in mice with the hopes of identifying novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of mood disorders.

Jennifer Legault

I received my M.S. and B.S. in neuroscience at Tulane University. My primary research interest includes using multimodal neuroimaging (fMRI, sMRI, and DTI) to examine brain changes during second language acquisition and processing.

Ningxin Ma

I graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a bachelor degree in biology science. I'm now working on astrocyte reprogramming, trying to analyze the underlying mechanism with traditional biological methods and powerful bioinformatic tools. I will also try to apply this amazing conversion to neurodegenerative disease models to see if it can have any beneficial effects.

Colleen McSweeney

I graduated from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and minors in Biology and Chemistry. My research interests include disorders of the Basal Ganglia, specifically Tourette Syndrome. I hope to study the causes of neurological disorders such as Tourette Syndrome, and possible medicinal treatments.

Wren Patton

I graduated from Oregon State University with an HBS in Biology and Fisheries & Wildlife Science and an HBA in International Studies. My research interests are in cognitive ecology, particularly in the learning and decision-making processes in fish as well as understanding the cognitive basis of interspecies cooperation.

Aditya Pisupati

Brendan Puls

I completed my BS at University of Maryland and my MS at Penn State. I previously worked in microbial geochemistry and environmental science, but I am now focused on the cognitive neuroscience of language learning with special regard to second language. Through my research, I hope to combine computational neural models with fMRI studies to better understand the optimal conditions for adults to become proficient in a second language.
Insung Song

Insung Song (2015-2016)

Insung Song

Stephen (Michael) Strayer

I graduated from Miami University with a B.S. in zoology and a minor in neuroscience.  I am currently working with human subjects in a sleep lab, where I examine the effects of sleep loss on emotion, appetite, and inhibitory control.  Broadly speaking, my interest is in the field of cognitive neuroscience and how a better understanding of the brain might transform our understanding of the mind.

Indira Turney

I graduated in 2011 from the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix (B.A. Psychology) and did my pre-doc at the University of Pittsburgh (Cognitive Neuroscience). My goal is that my research will emphasize the association between cortical activity and human cognition and memory. In addition, I hope to examine the effects of lifestyle factors on neurocognitive function and factors that encourage healthy aging in neurological populations.

Glenn Watson

I recently graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science Degree with Distinction in Neuroscience and Psychology. My research interests include studying links between neurophysiology and behavior, as well as elucidating the neural circuitry responsible for such phenomena.

Jiu-Chao Yin

I graduated from the University of Science and Technology of China with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biosciences. My interests include the molecular mechanisms of brain development and neurodegenerative disorders, especially using stem cell therapy to treat neurological disorders.
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