Student Spotlight

Students in the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience do extremely exciting things in and out of the classroom.  We are proud to support them in these endeavors as well as promote their accomplishments.

Neuroscience Undergraduates Volunteer at local outreach event, STEAM Night

On February 25th, Mind and Brain Society students volunteered at Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics Night at Lincoln Elementary School in Winchester. Our volunteers led an activity to teach kids about procedural memory and how we learn new motor skills. Read more about the Mind and Brain Society here and check out their very own outreach event, BRAIN Day!

Society for Neuroscience 2015

Congratulations to all of our students who attended SfN’s 45th annual meeting in Chicago! And congratulations to Srijesa Khasnabish and Nahdia Jones, undergraduates in the Laboratory of Cognitive Neurobiology who presented posters at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Poster Session.

Srijesa is a junior whose project explores the origin of temporal information in the CA2 and CA3 regions of the rat hippocampus.

Srijesa is a junior whose project explores the origin of temporal information in the CA2 and CA3 regions of the rat hippocampus.

Nahdia is a senior researching the connection between time cells and the retention of memory over time.

B.R.A.I.N. Day 2015:

On March 22nd, the Mind and Brain Society hosted the second annual B.R.A.I.N. Day. Congratulations to all of our dedicated Student Volunteers: (in no particular order) Elizabeth Tingley, Justin Tepe, Allie Silverman, Gianna Absi, Benjamin Lawson, Kameron Clayton, Samantha Calderazzo, Annalyse Kohley, Svetoslava Vodenicharska, Courtney Bayruns, Christa Barsch, Francesca Marino, Srijesa Khasnabish, Chantal Hammas, Fernanda Behzadi, Tamarah Brousseau, Danielle Taylor, Maria Dekhtyar, Moona Abdulkerim, Vi Tran, Adonai Sebastian, Erin Ferguson, Sydney Crotts, James Thaney, Chelsea Saunders, Stephanie Oritz, Anna Stopa, Camila De Freitas, Anush Swaminathan, Purva Atreay, India Smith, Anna Kasdan, Abra Roberts, Colleen King, Devika Bajaj, Krishna Singh, Delia Sanders, Marya Al-Samman, Caren Stuebe, Melissa Padilla, Sarah Rassat

Read all about B.R.A.I.N. Day here!

Brain Day 2015 Student Volunteers

B.R.A.I.N Day 2015 Student Volunteers. The 2nd annual B.R.A.I.N Day at Boston University was held in recognition of Brain Awareness Week on Sunday, March 22, 2015.


Junior Max Wallack Featured on Channel 5 News:

Check it out HERE!


Summer Researchers Present at 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium:

Our summer researchers presented their work at the UROP Symposium held on Friday, October 19th. Check out some pictures from the event.


Kellen Haley ’14:

Kellen recently found out that an abstract that she submitted for a project she worked on at MGH over the summer to the International Stroke Conference, was accepted!  She will be making a poster to display at the Conference and attend to answer questions from faculty-lead tour groups and anybody else who may walk by.

Read Kellen’s abstract here!


Summer 2012 Research Students:

Waxman HHMI summer lab 5

Waxman HHMI summer lab 3Waxman HHMI summer lab 2

Waxman HHMI summer lab 1







Hannah Waxman in the Traniello lab.





Alyssa Thomason


Alyssa Thomason in Irina Zhdanova’s lab.





Thomas RansegnolaThomas Ransegnola

Thomas Ransegnola working in the surgery room and on the microdrive in Mike Hasselmo’s lab.






Reena Clements:

A senior in the class of 2013, Reena is spending her summer at Berkeley doing research under Dr. Dan Feldman on a project titled “Inhibitory Plasticity and Neural Projections in Somatosensory Cortex in Rodents”.

Here’s what Reena had to say about her research:

Among our senses, one of the most important is the sense of touch to explore our surroundings. Somatosensory processing can be studied using the whisker system in rodents. A complex whisker system evolved as the primary sensor for rodents to detect their surroundings in a dark environment. To examine specific types of processing, sensory experience can be modified by depriving specific whiskers of sensory input. My projects focus on two aspects of the somatosensory processing system. In cortical layer 2/3 of primary somatosensory cortex (S1), there are local circuits consisting of both excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Electrophysiological experiments have shown that when whiskers are clipped to induce sensory deprivation, inhibition in L2/3 decreases. I studied the molecular mechanisms of this reduced inhibition and found no difference in activity levels of inhibitory cells between deprived and spared (non-clipped) columns. This suggests that the marker of neural activity we used may not be an accurate indicator of the true activity levels of the inhibitory cells. I next focus on the broader somatosensory system. Preliminary sensory processing occurs in S1. Integration with higher-level brain regions is necessary for complex sensory processing such as texture discrimination, or for combination with other sensory modalities. These higher brain regions have been identified in mice through examination of 2D histological slicing. Although a reliable method, it may lose accuracy due to distortions as a result of slicing. I take a new approach to identifying these regions in rats. I have made whole transparent rat brains and aimed to map connections from S1 in 3D with low-power epifluorescence microscopy. At low-power, only blood vessels and non-specific cell body labeling were visible. Preparing a transparent brain may disrupt the fluorescence labeling of axon fibers. These studies in S1 contribute to our understanding of sensory signals as they move from the environment to higher processing regions in the brain.


Reena _IMG_4762


Reena in lab2

Reena in lab1


Grigori Guitchounts:

A member of the Class of 2011, Greg was an integral part of our student journal, The Nerve, and also writes his own blog about reflections on the mind and brain.

Steve Ramirez:

Steve was an active member of our first graduating class (Class of 2010).  He is currently a graduate student at MIT and writes a neuroscience blog.

Max Wallack:

An incoming member of the class of 2016, Max recently traveled to Reno to present about philanthropy and his research.  Check out his presentation here!

Congratulations to Max and being awarded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.  He’s donating the funds to the Pharmacology and Experimental Thereapeutics Laboratory at Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center.  Read more here!


Know someone we should recognize in our student spotlight?  Nominate them here!

Join the Student Spotlight

While we try to be very involved in the successes of our students, it would be great to hear from you! Please pass along any information available about yourself or a classmate you wish to add to the student spotlight. We look forward to highlighting the great work and accomplishments of our students!
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