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Brain Talk: A Lunchtime Series
March 15 @ 12:00 pm - March 17 @ 1:00 pm EDTFree
Join us March 15, 16 &17 from 12:00-1:00 PM for a lunchtime blend of science and storytelling. Over three days, we will welcome various brain scientists from across the state and beyond. Our hosts will chat with them about their work and career paths and take questions from the audience. Topics range from social living and stress eating, to reward & memory, and more! Hosted by Brain Week chairs Victoria Heimer-McGinn, PhD and Oluwarotimi Folorunso, PhD, and health advocate Pablo Rodríguez, MD. Featuring speakers from the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, Providence College, Bryant University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Boston College. The event will take place on Zoom Webinars.
To attend, please register by clicking below. Registration is required only once to attend any or all talks!
Brain Talk Hosts
Pablo Rodriguez, MD is Associate Professor Emeritus of OBGYN at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. He is the former Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of RI and is a former Chair of the Rhode Island Foundation, International Institute of RI and Rhode Island Project AIDS. He co-founded the RI Latino Political Action Committee and Latino Public Radio, where he hosted a daily radio show in Spanish, for which he was awarded the Metcalf Media Award. He currently hosts a webcast called Nuestra Salud, and a news analysis show, Cirugia Politica, both on RhodeInforma.com.
Host, Co-Chair of BWRI
Victoria Heimer-McGinn, PhD is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Roger Williams University. Dr. Heimer-McGinn teaches a variety of neuroscience courses at RWU and is passionate about spreading her love for the brain. She co-founded Brain Week RI in 2016 and received the Next Generation Award in 2019 from the Society of Neuroscience in recognition of her work in outreach and education. Dr. Heimer-McGinn is also a Fulbright Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar, and Associate of the Neuroscience Scholars Program. She earned a PhD in molecular neuroscience from University College Cork in Ireland and was a Postdoctoral Fellow (NRSA-F32) at Brown University and Providence College. Here, she trained in behavioral, cognitive, and systems neuroscience. In the past, she has researched spatial memory/context, attention, working memory, and transgenic technologies. Her current focus is on sex-specific cognitive deficits in a mouse model of bipolar disorder. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she is dedicated to increasing female and minority representation in STEAM fields.
Host, Co-Chair of BWRI
Oluwarotimi (Timi) Folorunso, PhD is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Translational Psychiatry Laboratory, which is led by Darrick T. Balu, PhD. His research focuses on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanism that underlie cognitive deficits in psychiatric and neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
He is interested in understanding how intrinsic and extrinsic factors alter cortical development, ultimately leading to cognitive deficits in adolescence and adulthood. He is a recipient of the Jeane B. Kempner Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award.
Angie Johnson, PhD
Angie Johnston is an assistant professor at Boston College where she directs the Canine Cognition Center and Social Learning Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale University and her B.S. in Child Development from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her research on canine cognition and child development has received numerous awards from sources such as the National Science Foundation, and her work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, and Scientific American. When she's not in the lab investigating how dogs and children learn about the world around them, you can find her at home getting new study ideas from her dogs, Vader, Finley, and Scout. You can find more information at her personal website here: sites.bc.edu/angiejohnston.
Victoria Templer, PhD
Victoria Templer is Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Providence College where she serves as the director of the Neuroscience program. She received her bachelor’s from Franklin & Marshall College and Ph.D. from Emory University. Templer is a behavioral neuroscientist with a specialty in comparative cognition. She develops animal models of memory, learning, and attention to answer both behavioral and neurobiological questions. Her overarching goal is to add to the fundamental knowledge necessary to treat and prevent disorders of memory and cognition. As such, her research seeks to characterize cognitive and neural substrates of complex cognition and memory systems implicated in human aging, disease, and mental illness. Using nonhuman primates and rodents as subjects, the questions she answers inform cognitive evolution in the primate and mammalian lineages. Specific topics she explores include the effect sociality has on the aging brain and memory, metacognition, and abstract relational processing.
Karla Kaun, PhD
Karla Kaun is a behavioral neurogeneticist by training and has been working on understanding the genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms of behavioral choice in invertebrate models for over 20 years. She received a BSc in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, a PhD in Zoology from the University of Toronto, and completed her post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco and HHMI Janelia Research Campus. She is interested in understanding how memories are formed and maintained, and how alcohol and other drugs of abuse influence these memories. Her research team develops new methods to study motivational response in Drosophila, maps circuits for these behaviors, and investigates the molecular mechanisms within these circuits that affect neuronal plasticity and function. This research integrates approaches from behavioral neuroscience, pharmacology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and bioinformatics. Karla is dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment for her mentees and department, and enthusiastically collaborates on a number of exciting projects. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Brown University.
New Tools for Studying the Brain
Ahmed Abdelfattah, PhD
Ahmed Abdelfattah is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Brown University and the Carney Institute for Brain Science, where he develops light-responsive, genetically encoded tools for reading and modulating brain activity. He applies these tools to generate a mechanistic description of how the brain carries out its functions through mapping functional connections and monitoring the activity of individual cells and neural circuits. He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of Alberta. He then completed his postdoctoral research at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus where he engineered new chemigenetic probes for imaging brain activity. Abdelfattah received multiple awards including the NIH New Innovator Award, the Searle Scholar Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, and currently holds the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Endowed Professorship in Brain Science.
Stress and Snacking
Rachel Ross, MD, PhD
Rachel Ross, MD, PhD is an assistant professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her lab in the neuroscience and psychiatry departments there uses cutting edge molecular, systems, and behavioral techniques in mouse models to study the neurocircuitry of metabolism, feeding behavior, reproduction, and the effect of stress on these functions. She is also a practicing psychiatrist who works with people with anxiety and eating disorders. Visit her lab at https://rosslab.einsteinmedneuroscience.org.